Bridges Camp – October 2016
The 10th Bridges Camp in October 2016 was a new experience for the team and an important step for the organisation: for the first time, no supervisor of the original team that founded the initiative participated. Morongoa Masemola has contributed significantly to the development of the project throughout the last years and became the leader in August 2016.
“When we talk about prejudices and racism, we often assume that younger generations will sort it out. But how are they supposed to do that if they are not even able to get in contact with each other? Together with a group of friends, I founded the initiative “Bridges Camp” in 2013 to change that.” Juliane Hoss, founder of „Bridges Camp“
The past months, Morongoa put all her energy and time into the sucessful implementation of the camp. She admitted that she did not sleep well some days before the camp but mastered all challenges impressively.
This camp was also the first camp that was organised and implemented by a planning team, consisting of teenage „Supervisor in Training”. We have repeatedly realised how much the teenagers enjoy every opportunity to take responsibility and contribute positively to the camp. We are always trying to find new ways how we can include them to prepare them to become adult supervisors one day.
Consequently, we decided that the teenagers should be part of the planning process of the camp. We selected 10 “Supervisor in Training” that became part of the planning team. At the planning weekend, they spend several hours preparing for the camp. They also improved the actual program, came up with new rules for the adult supervisors and found creative ways how they can ensure that each and every child will feel welcomed at the camp.
“Okay, the camp taught me way more than I expected. It was more fun with all the new responsibility. I loved it all! We as the team bonded a lot – if it there was a problem we would think of a solutions. Looking after all the children made me feel more older”
Kwaiki, Supervisor in Training und Mitglied des Planungsteams
In this process, it was important to note down all important rules and procedures. At a preparation weekend, the teenagers planned the upcoming camp. They had to discuss basic and supposedly simply questions. Decisions, such as „What do we do if a child breaks the rules?”, “How to react in an emergency?”, “Should kids be beaten?” It was interesting to see, how the teenagers discussed for a long time but arrived at the same conclusions as the adults, however, they gained a better understanding of the whole process and a bigger sense of ownership.
As a team, we have gathered all information in a folder and gave it to Kerschia, who calls herself junior manager. We have distributed all duties to the teenagers in the new planning team. Nikisha is the new journalist for the facebook page and was responsible to contact the parents of all children at the camp while “jumping in” if any help was needed.
“My position at the camp is great I enjoy putting smiles on the participants faces. Sometimes it’s challenging getting a teenager to open up, well it was at the beginning but now it comes natural. I enjoy being at Bridges camp (B.C) because I’m a part of something amazing and it’s wonderful having other teenager’s looking up to me as a leader a friend a sister and roll model. I also send WhatsApp text to parents and getting their feedback and blessings are magnificently well appreciated.”
Nikisha, Supervisorin in Training und Mitglied des Planungsteams
More than a year ago, we met Vincent, who was a volunteer with the organisation SAGE and spent one year in Pretoria. He has been part of “Bridges Camp” the whole year and contributed so much. We are happy that his successors, Ole and Benedikt, joined our project as well and helped at the camp in October as supervisors.
„You can actually observe, how the teenagers overcome their prejudices. The camp was a nice experience. It is exciting and interesting to see, how the kids from different social backgrounds, that don’t have any contact in their everyday lives even though they live close by, meet each other and get along very well – much better than they would have predicted actually.”
Ole, volunteer from Germany
We are proud that we managed to implement yet another camp. Having the first camp without any supervisor from the initial team was a huge step for our organisation and a positive sign that we can create a sustainable impact. We want to thank all our funders for their generous contribution.
The whole team was sad to say goodbye to Juliane when she left in August but we are proud to see that the teenagers can run the project by now.
From the 19th to the 21st of August, we organised a training or all adult supervisors. This was an important step to prepare the supervisors better for their duties. Many adults assume that it is easy to work with teenagers and they don’t need any specific skills or knowledge. However, we have repeatedly observed that it is quite a challenge, to manage a group of 50 teenagers, be a good role model, be approachable for all teenagers and help with small duties on the side, all at the same time. The training was a great opportunity for everyone, adults as well as some of the teenagers, to grow together as a team and prepare the upcoming camp.