This summer, 9 of Camp Sizanani's South African counselors are experiencing camp in a new way...working as counselors at US camps around the country! Here, we have profiled 3 of our visiting counselors: Kgotso, Bongani, and Elliot. Each has had an exceptional learning experience and is eager to take his new knowledge and skills back to Camp Sizanani.
Elliot Mtimkulu is in his second summer as a camp counselor at a US summer camp. Last year he attended Kenwood-Evergreen. This year he is at Greenwood Trails.
He has loved both camps and, like all the counselors, has switched camps to "broaden myself and provide me with a greater education about camps and children."
Last year he taught arts and crafts, his specialty at Camp Sizanani; this year, he is a cabin counselor and divides his time among the ropes course, crafts, and dancing. He is very popular among the staff and campers.
The photo is with his two co-counselors, both swim counselors, one from the UK, the other from the US.
Elliot especially likes the broad diversity and international flavor at camp. Elliot's first camp session at Camp Sizanani was in 2007.
This is Bongani Shabangu's first year at a US camp, although he was first a counselor at Camp Sizanani in 2006.
He is at Camp O-at-ka, a camp in southern Maine. He is a cabin counselor for the older boys and is involved in a variety of activities.
He says, "the people at camp are so welcoming. I felt at home right away. The campers and, especially, the counselors ask me how I am and what they can do for me. I love the food, the people, and am grateful to be here."
The campers swarmed to him as they returned from a day at the beach.
It is Kgotso Mathebula's first experience abroad and he is a counselor at Camp Kenwood-Evergreen, in New Hampshire.
He is a counselor of the oldest boys. His nickname at camp is "KG."
He has been learning rap with one of the American counselors and has developed a bit of an American accent!
Kgotso has found that it helped to be cautious at the beginning and observe the culture of camp and the participants.
He loves camp and has found the campers to be particularly supportive when he is alone. They come over to ask if everything is all right. The boys in his cabin "wish you were here before."
The counselors, too, have been nice and inclusive, both at camp and on days off, when he is always asked to accompany them.
Kgotso sees his view of the world having expanded enormously. At the same time, he, like the others, is writing down all the new games and ideas he is getting from camp so he can bring them back to Camp Sizanani.