To kick start the year the young people in Guatemala who are part of the Nicodemus Youth Leadership Program (YLP) put on a camp for the older teenagers of the partner projects Nicodemus supports in Guatemala:
My Special Treasure – Children’s home for severely abused and vulnerable girls
Time of Rescue – Street living youth and children rescue
Education Centre – School for children from impoverished backgrounds
The camp was a wonderful opportunity to take the young people away for a weekend to meet new friends and to integrate with the younger youth of Nicodemus’ partner projects. Age 16 to 18 is often an age when young people living in harsh conditions drop away from their families and education and can end up in petty crime, leading on to violence, drugs and gangs. The camp brought together older young adults and teenagers to form friendships, trust and for the young adults to present living examples of how one can overcome life challenges and follow the path of hope to a better future.
The weekend was filled with board games, street football, worshipping in community, warming together around a bonfire and playing wild night time games providing ample joyful moments for teamwork, names becoming known and the startup of friendships being made.
On the Sunday morning, we attended a church in a small village just outside the colonial town of Antigua. The girls from My Special Treasure led the Sunday school for 40 children with a lot of singing and dancing. Joselin, who lost her mother following a long battle with cancer earlier on in the week, demonstrated incredible courage to deliver a wonderful message on Proverbs 6:20, and then she went on to lead a couple of dance choreographies!
My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Proverbs 6:20
What a weekend and what a start to the year! The camp enabled an opportune space for mingling between teenagers and youth. Between those who daily live with and come face to face with the harshest challenges and between those who with support have learnt how to best cope and move forward chasing hopes and dreams.
We are seeing more younger people slowly learning to overcome obstacle after obstacle and learning to make key, positive decisions when it matters most. Such interaction during weekends like this provide those key commodities of aspiration and hope for those who need it the most.
This was a great weekend but not just a one off. Throughout 2018 the young people who are part of Nicodemus YLP will continue to work together, encouraging one another and looking outwards as to how they can transform the lives of those in the communities which surround them.
Relationships and connections were built on the camp and Nicodemus will facilitate more opportunities throughout the year for youth helping youth and seeing aspiration and hope rise. The young people in our YLP have incredible stories to tell and wide experiences to share. Their lives are walking testimonies of overcoming horrendous life experiences and we simply believe they have the potential and, qualified by life experience, to help change someone else’s life to.