News

February 7th Marks National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

African Americans account for 14% of the US population, but fully 44% of new cases of HIV infection, making the African American community the most at-risk population in the country. The rate of new HIV infection among black women in America is more than 15 times higher than among white women. As a result, children of African American women are more likely to become HIV positive through mother-to-child transmission of the virus. In fact, in 2005, 66% of the people living with HIV who had contracted it from their mothers were African American. The global health community has made great strides toward protecting children from HIV infection around the world, and we must continue our work here at home. Today is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a day set aside to advocate for HIV/AIDS education, testing, involvement, and treatment for African Americans in the United States. Information regarding the impact of HIV/AIDS on African Americans can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/aa/PDF/aa.pdf.

Global Camps Africa joins its HIV-prevention and education colleagues around the United States to encourage all individuals, especially those at high risk, to get tested for HIV and know their status. To find your local testing facility visit www.hivtest.org.

All statistics courtesy of the CDC

Global Camps Africa to host World AIDS Day event in Reston

Global Campfire event to support World AIDS Day RESTON VA-  In honor of World AIDS Day on December 1, a local non-profit organization, Global Camps Africa (GCA), will host an event in Reston, Virginia.

Through high-impact camp experiences and follow-up programs, GCA provides HIV education and life skills to HIV-affected children in South Africa. Using the power of camp as its vehicle, GCA delivers these services to the under-served and at-risk population of orphans and vulnerable children from some of the neighborhoods hardest hit by the HIV epidemic in South Africa.

In keeping with the camp tradition, the World AIDS Day event, called Global Campfire 2011, will feature music, singing, and poetry readings.  The campfire will take place at Lake Fairfax Park, Campsite G1, from 6:00 until 8:00 PM and will be open to the public.  Global Camps Africa will also be streaming the Global Campfire event live on its web site so that people all over the world can participate virtually.

“We invite everyone to join us at Global Campfire to remember the 30 million people who have died of AIDS-related illness since 1981, and to bring attention to the continuing need for prevention, care, and treatment for HIV-affected youth around the world,” said Emily Crowder, Global Camps Africa’s Executive Director.

The theme for World AIDS Day 2011 is “Getting to Zero,” which refers to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) strategy to reduce the number of new HIV infections to zero by 2015.  Global Camps Africa’s efforts to reach HIV-affected youth in South Africa with messages about prevention and empowerment are one important component of that strategy.

Phil Lilienthal, Founder and President of GCA, described the goal of the Global Campfire event, saying,“We want our campfire to bring the community who attend closer together to feel the strength of what a group can bring to a problem: even one as immense as HIV/AIDS.”

For further information, please contact Jessica Johnson (jessica.johnson@globalcampsafrica.org).

Securing the Future Today: Report Highlights Link Between Youth and HIV Prevention

New York, NY- On July 25th through 26th, the UN hosted a conference focused on the important role youth plays in managing global issues. At this conference, The Global Inter-Agency Task Team on HIV and Young People released a report entitled "Securing the Future Today," which details the importance of preventing and treating HIV amongst young people. Please see the full article below:

http://www.unaids.org

ACA Spring Leadership Conference Speech by CEO Phil Lilienthal

At the ACA Spring Leadership Conference in April 2011, keynote speaker and CEO/President of Global Camps Africa, Phil Lilienthal, recounted his experiences with camps both at home and abroad. Mr. Lilienthal explained the origins of his work with camps in Maine, Ethiopia, and, eventually, South Africa. After starting out at Camp Winnebago in the northeastern United States, Lilienthal got the chance to start a residential camp while he was serving in Ethiopia for the Peace Corps. At the request of the Ethiopian government, he created a two-week residential camp that broke down ethnic and tribal prejudices amongst campers. After leaving Ethiopia, Lilienthal knew that he would one day return to Africa to create more camps like Camp Langano.

This vision finally became a reality after his kids were grown and Lilienthal decided to partner with an organization called HIV South Africa (HIVSA) to create a camp which would offer life skills and HIV/AIDS education. There were many struggles in the creation of what would become Camp Sizanani. Thabo Mbeki, leader of South Africa for eight years, had caused much confusion about the spread and treatment of HIV/AIDS. Sometimes problematic cultural attributes, known collectively as “This is Africa,” included tardiness, unregistered campers coming in the place of others, and other challenges.

Despite the many obstacles that he faced, Mr. Lilienthal managed to create a traditional summer camp with a non-traditional twist: battling the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among children from dire social and economic situations. These kids come for 8 days of swimming, sports, arts and crafts, adventure, and theater, as well as nutrition and life skills. They learn skills such as teamwork, communication, persistence and self-expression. They have enthusiastic and supportive counselors, or “vocheli,” who have been trained (either directly or indirectly) by Michael Brandwein, a leader in the field.

Mr. Lilienthal has found that the children who come to camp are “the most cheerful, upbeat, positive role models you can imagine.” They are motivated and determined to improve themselves and find a better path- they just need someone to point them in the right direction. One 14-year old explained what he gained from camp: “choice.” He now realized he had choices in all aspects of his life.

Lilienthal closed the address with a call to action. He articulated Global Camps Africa’s mission to change the lives of Africa’s vulnerable children and youth by providing HIV/AIDS prevention education and training through a high-impact residential camp experience and continuing education, equipping young people with the life skills that will support them in becoming safe and productive adults who have hope for the future. You can help us reach this goal by supporting Global Camps Africa’s vision of empowering Africa’s youth for an AIDS-free tomorrow. Volunteer as a counselor for two weeks. Have your camps support a camper. Talk to your friends and join them in sponsoring a child. Just $500 is enough to send a child to camp and to Kids Clubs for one year. No matter how you demonstrate your support, you have the power to change a child’s life.

To see the speech in its entirety, please click here.

Emily Crowder Announced New Executive Director

On June 1st, 2011, Ms. Emily Crowder was announced Executive Director of Reston-based nonprofit Global Camps Africa. Emily Crowder will join Mr. Phil Lilienthal, who will continue as President/CEO. Ms. Crowder has been working with GCA since 2010. In her new role as Executive Director, she will be responsible for organizational and Board development, operational management, and the strategic coordination of fundraising and communications activities.

Prior to joining GCA, Emily Crowder served as the Executive Team Lead at the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, where she facilitated the organization’s global strategic planning efforts, co-produced a documentary film about the Foundation’s work, and managed the Executive Office of the President and CEO. She received her graduate degree in global health policy in 2011.

Global Camps Africa changes the lives of South Africa’s vulnerable children and youth by providing HIV/AIDS prevention education and training through high-impact residential camp and day camp experiences and continuing education. Thousands of vulnerable South African children participate in camp and Kids Clubs activities each year through generous contributions from donors from around the globe. Learn more about Global Camps Africa at www.GlobalCampsAfrica.org