¨Summer Camp¨ probably sounds a little bit strange for those of you who are experiencing cold fronts and Nor´easters but here at Safe Passage our activities are in full swing! As Guatemalan schools finish up in mid to late October, our courageous volunteers and staff take on the planning and running of our vacation activities every year! This years uplifiting theme is: Be a Hero!

For Summer Camp Kickoff 2012, our older students, supported by our classroom teachers, prepared and performed skits, dances, and songs based on their perception of what it means to be a hero. One group combined forces to save a baby within a burning building while another identified their mothers as heroes. For me, all of the students who performed were heroes for getting up in front of their peers and sharing their performances with us! The younger students, during their kickoff event, clapped and cheered as they enjoyed superhero videos and participated in a heroic trivia event. All of these activities set the stage for the 5 weeks of self discovery on what it means to be a hero in their community, their city and their country.

This year´s activities are being led by the English Team, the Creative Expression crew, the ever energetic Sports guys, and myself with the support of the Human Resources squad.

In English, our students are writing, acting out, filming, and editing their own videos about what being a hero means to them. One group, when asked, ¨What would you change in your community?¨ responded that they would change the high levels of delinquency. Their video shows a student who gets mixed up in the wrong crowd at school but thanks to some auspicious events, discovers the right path and avoids a life of crime.

With Creative Expression, the older students write and illustrate Zines, self-produced magazines. One student from 3ero Basico (9th grade) wrote about how, while many people just ¨hear,¨ she has the super ability to ¨listen¨ and really understand and identify with others. What a wonderful  attribute to have! For the younger students, the week of activities ends with a ¨Super Hero dance party¨ where students romp around in capes and masks they made themselves!

During Sports week, the students compete in various activities for points and at the end, celebrate with a soapy and slippery splash day! Each Friday the students return soaked but with huge smiles!

Finally, I have been leading Professional Development seminars with our older students. By the end of  Summer Camp activities, every participant will know where to find available jobs and how to apply, have an electronic copy of their completed resume, and know the do´s and dont´s of successful job interviews. One 3ero Basico student, after participating in the Interview Skills practice session with Wendy, our Human Resources Assistant, told her that in his last interview he remembered everything from that session and received a job offer shortly thereafter! We hope that all of our students feel this prepared and confident as they take their next steps after graduation!

Many of our students are already heroes, having achieved a higher level of education than many in their family or because they avoided negative influences and overcame great adversities. Others are heroes because they take the time to listen rather than just hearing. We hope that this year´s Summer Camp activities have inspired our students to reach even further and achieve even greater accomplishments!

-Megan McAdams,

Volunteer Coordinator