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30,000 of Our Closest Friends

 AIDS Walk NYC 2013

AIDS Walk NYC 2013

By Guest Blogger Brian C.

Those scheduled to attend might have looked out their windows to see the pouring rain under dark clouds in a Sunday morning sky and thought, "I already made my donation...I think I'll stay in." I know the thought crossed my mind. A 10-kilometer walk in the best of circumstances is daunting. And AIDS Walk NYC 2013 was a charity event so concentrated on single-day performance that the city's awful forecast loomed as a serious threat to its success. For many scheduled to attend, curling up on a dry sofa with a good book probably seemed like a welcome alternative to braving the nasty. 

But so, Global Camps Africa (GCA), along with its donors, sponsors, families and over 30,000 of our closest friends proudly gathered in New York City under Central Park's dripping spring canopy. GCA was one of hundreds of teams there, where each had arrived to represent its piece of a vital international HIV/AIDS relief effort.

Global Camps Africa was, in many ways, leading Sunday's charge. Its team started preparing for the event over a month ago with a few specific goals: Let's register 50 team members, and let's raise $10,000. They did that, and more.

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I was there to witness this. My wife, Emily, and I drove to the city, and we brought our 3-year-old son. He jumped into my backpack, ready to go for a ride. But it was all a first for me. I had never before taken the AIDS Walk – not in NYC, not in SF, or any of the other prominent cities where the event is held. It was completely new, and seeing such a mass of humanity join together in purpose was flatly overwhelming. See, I may not have the opportunity to directly impact the children that GCA aims to empower. I may not find myself in the position to become a vocelli, or visit Camp Sizanani in South Africa. It just may not be in the cards. But an event like this gives us a rare opportunity to tap into a palpable sense of community – it feels like the highest potential of a life.  I'd recommend it and anything like it. I would recommend that you squeeze your loved one, make your donation, and go for your walk. Brave whatever weather comes your way. I, for one, will do this again.

Volunteer Opportunities

For information or to volunteer, contact Patty Foran

patricia.foran@globalcampsafrica.org, 703-437-0808

Lake Anne Market (Saturdays between September 15 and November 3)

Each Saturday through October, Global Camps Africa has a table at the Lake Anne Farmer's Market in Reston, VA.  In addition to spreading the word about the work Global Camps Africa is doing with children in South Africa, we also sell beaded jewelry made by South African women.  All proceeds benefit the kids of Camp Sizanani.  We are seeking volunteers to set up the table at the market, distribute information about GCA, and sell the jewelry.  Global Camps Africa staff will provide training to all market volunteers so that you can be comfortable discussing our programs and inviting visitors to the table.  Various shifts are available (beginning as early as 7:15 AM and concluding at 1:15 PM).  We encourage groups or pairs to volunteer together or in shifts.  If you would like to learn more about how to volunteer at the Lake Anne Market, please contact Patty Foran at the email address or phone number above.

Mosaic Harmony Concert (September 15)

Global Camps Africa is thrilled to partner with Mosaic Harmony, an interfaith multi-cultural choir, to present an evening of music to support Global Camps Africa.  Five of our South African camp counselors will be on hand to meet guests at a reception following the concert.  We are seeking volunteers to help set up and take down the reception, serve as ushers, and hand out information to guests at the event.  Volunteers at the event will receive free tickets to the concert!  The event will be held at St. Anne's Episcopal Church in Reston, VA.  If you are available on September 15 at 6:30 to help set up the reception site, at 7:00 to take tickets and serve as an usher, or at 8:30 to serve refreshments and help clean up after the reception, please contact Patty Foran at the email address or phone number above.

Other Events

Assist Global Camps Africa at events throughout the year with various tasks such as set-up and clean-up, serving refreshments, distributing materials, check-in/registration and other administrative tasks.  Volunteers should be at least 16 years of age, have good communication skills and be comfortable meeting the public.  Some jobs will require good organizational skills.  Event support experience would be helpful but is not required.  Time commitment is 5-6 hours per event.

IT Technical Support

GCA occasionally needs an IT professional to provide technical support to staff and Board on an on-call basis.  Tasks may include updating and maintaining software, troubleshooting computer problems, website maintenance, and advising staff on IT related questions.  Some work may be done remotely from the volunteer’s home computer but other jobs will require your presence in the office.  Volunteer should have experience managing IT infrastructure (network, computers, printers), good communication skills, and ability to work in Wordpress.  A personal interview and references will be required.  Minimum age is 18.