Director Kabelo Malefane comes to the US

On the 25th of January 2015 I undertook a journey to the USA to attend the annual American Camp Association conference. My day began as soon as I landed on the 26th as I had to get ready for a train ride from Washington to NYC on the 26th where we had a few meetings lined up for me and Phil. It was a cold week in the city but together with Phil we managed to attend all scheduled appointments first beginning at Allen-Stevenson and having a talk with some 8 graders about Camp Sizanani and South Africa in general. Our 2nd stop was a dinner event at Mr Katz home and was attended by around 8 adults and the interaction we had was great after our talk.

I left for New Orleans on the 31st of January and arriving in New Orleans at the La Quinta Hotel I was welcomed with warm hands by Linda Pulliam who works for the ICF (international Camping Fellowship), we had people who work in different camps around the world Europe, Asia, Africa, South and  North America.  Linda arranged a great pre camp tour that started on the 2nd of Feb with a trip to a girls scout camp in New Orleans where I was thrilled to meet Jim Cain and once again thrilled me with the great get to know you activities he did. We then visited a number of different after school care programs around the city and the I learned that most NGO’s were doing great in helping the youth get through their everyday struggles and  passion is one thing that pushes the staff and volunteers that work in these organisations.

When the camp conference began I was overwhelmed with the number of great speakers lined up but I finally made up my mind that I would attend sessions that were basically speaking about a challenge we recently met at camp. I sat in during LGBT (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual and Transgender) these sessions were informative as I learned a whole lot of new terms. I quickly made friends with everyone I met and when I met Sako from Japan I felt so motivated to see a 78 year who has been working in camps for the past 60 years, I loved her passion and dedication.

I ran 2 sessions 1 with Gwynn Powel and 1 with Phil I also got an opportunity to introduce a few ice breakers from South Africa during an International song and games session. I am excited about our next camp as I cannot wait to share what I have learned with the vochellis

All in all it was a great conference and once more happy about the new people I met in my life through the power of camp indeed Camp Moves Me. 


Report from the field

We’re so excited that our next camp starts in just a few short weeks. As an organization that understands the importance of empowering girls to protect themselves against HIV/AIDS, this session of Camp Sizanani will be delivering that message in an unmistakable way: an all-women’s leadership team. Vochellis Connie, Thembi and Lindiwe will be Camp Sizanani’s first all-women’s leadership team and will be a wonderful example for the boys and girls at camp.

The group of leaders draws inspiration from many powerful South African female leaders like Miriam Mabeka

Born in Johannesburg, she was a singer and human rights campaigner. She toured Africa with the Manhattan Brothers and became known for her all-women group, the Skylarks. Due to her criticism of apartheid, Mabeka was stripped of her South African passport while traveling abroad and she was the first black musician to leave South Africa as a result of apartheid and later testified at the United Nations (UN) about apartheid. She is known for her popular songs  "The Click Song" and "Malaika," and for introducing to the West a number of Xhosa, Zulu and Swahili songs.

Makeba continued her commitment to South Africa through her Zenzile Miriam Makeba Foundation, including the Miriam Makeba Rehabilitation Centre for abused girls. She supported campaigns against drug abuse and for HIV/AIDS awareness, and appeared as President Mbeki’s Goodwill Ambassador to the UN.

Makeba died in 2008, at the age 76, but left a strong imprint on the history of South Africa.

Updating Saturday Youth Clubs

After camp ends we invite our campers to join us at our 5 youth clubs in the neighborhoods of Soweto, South Africa, that meet every two weeks. It is a straightforward follow-up program, but profoundly complicated by life's demands on the children we serve. Many campers cannot just leave home on a Saturday to further their own well-being. At the very least, they have to care for younger siblings.

If we want to keep engaging our campers after camp is over, we must accommodate their younger brothers and sisters who are not yet old enough to attend camp. Instead of just babysitting the younger children, we decided to take the opportunity to develop a new life-skills program designed just for children between the ages of 5 and 11.

After three months of implementing the new curriculum that was funded by a LinkedIn Innovation grant at two of our club sites, we collected data from the children who are participating and are evaluating the program’s impact.  Based on the results, we plan to scale up the Asikhulisane model and implement it in all 5 youth clubs.  Now pre-camp age children get basic health information and valuable life skills instruction as part of the Camp Sizanani program.