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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.

GCA Works with International Association of Applied Psychology and the United Nations

Over the last several months, Global Camps Africa's President and Founder, Phil Lilienthal, has worked closely with representatives of the International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP) to the United Nations.  Our shared goal is to partner with South Africa's Department of Social Development to create an effective camp program aimed at the youth of the country that can be implemented and maintained by the government ministry there.   A snapshot of this effort was captured in a recent article in the July/October 2012 edition of the IAAP bulletin (pages 71-74). Link:  http://www.iaapsy.org/uploads/file/newsletters/July2012.pdf

UNO Chicago Grill Hosts Dough-Raiser for Global Camps Africa

UNO Chicago Grill in Reston, VA,  is having a Dough-Raiser to benefit Global Camps Africa on Thursday, September 20th.  Up to 20% of your check will be donated to support GCA's programs when you dine at UNO in Reston for lunch or dinner (please bring this voucher with you).  The offer is even good for take-out orders!

Global Camps Africa staff will be on-hand to chat, and we'll also invite volunteers to join our trivia team between 7:30 and 9:30 PM.  We look forward to seeing you all there!

To receive a copy of the voucher by e-mail, please send a note to emily@globalcampsafrica.org.

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Mosaic Harmony and South African Counselors Make Beautiful Music Together

Last night at St. Anne's Episcopal Church in Reston, Virginia, 5 of Global Camps Africa's counselors from Camp Sizanani joined us for an unforgettable evening of music and support for HIV-affected children.  Mosaic Harmony, an inter-faith choir, gave an inspiring performance to benefit Global Camps Africa.  Before intermission, our 5 counselors took the stage and shared their own music with the rapt crowd.  After the show, many members of the audience stayed to meet all of the performers and to talk with the counselors about their experiences at Camp Sizanani. Global Camps Africa's life-changing programs to provide life skills and HIV-prevention education to children in South Africa is only possible because of generous, caring people who connect with our vision and provide the funds to make it happen.  Last night's concert was a beautiful example of just these kinds of connections being made.  We're grateful for our supportive friends and community of donors who joined us for the event, and for our talented and dedicated counselors who inspire us all.