It’s hard to believe an entire year has passed since the first Youth Camp in Brazil, but now, one year later and with an exciting new venue, we were about to embark on another four days of life in the “zone.” Due to its position only a couple degrees north of the equator, the climate in Boa Vista is hot and humid, with very little fluctuation in temperature. During our stay, we averaged about 95 degrees Fahrenheit every day.
Myself, Jorge and Kathy de Campos along with five United Youth Corps volunteers arrived at Eco Park about 1:30 p.m. on December 26, 2016 and we had planned to have about two hours to go over the schedule of activities, tour the facilities and prepare for the campers to arrive, but no sooner had we dropped off our luggage and the charter bus arrived with everyone from the village, including our sixth United Youth Corps volunteer who arrived a couple days earlier!
So the first order of business was to get everyone settled into their sleeping quarters. This proved much quicker for the guys, since we all slept in one big room with plenty of space to hang our hammocks. This was my second year of sleeping in hammocks and I must say I have finally mastered the art!
The ladies took a little more time, since their facility had five separate sleeping rooms, so they had to divide up the girls amongst the staff and with only one person to translate the local Portuguese language, things took a little time.
For the next four days, we would leave our sleeping quarters at 7:30 am and walk about half a mile to the main Eco Park facility where we would spend the entire day enjoying all the activities and then walk back in the evening, enjoying the black night sky and the vast array of stars!
Twenty five children and teens (12 male, 13 female) attended this second-ever youth camp in Brazil. This was a concerted effort by United Youth Corps and Good Works along with a generous private donation, to enable the young people and adult staff accompanying them to travel two hours by charted bus from their homes in the village of Maloca de Moscou and neighboring Guyana, to the lovely setting of Eco Park, just west of Boa Vista.
For the next four days everyone enjoyed Christian Living classes, arts and crafts, swimming, water slides, canoeing, kayaking, water volleyball, sand volleyball, soccer, capture the flag and GaGa ball.
Camp was over in the blink of an eye. The campers and staff returned to the village on Friday afternoon and those of us traveling into Brazil to run the camp joined them in the village for the Sabbath, before we began our journeys home beginning at midnight Saturday evening.
Through all of the above fun and adventure, what I took home with me, is to appreciate the simple things. For example, one of the activities they desired to play was Futbol (soccer to those of us in the United States). When asked why (since they play it all the time) the response was, “Yes, but here we have grass to play on!”
Sometimes the greatest joys in life are the simple things... like... grass.