MD Ignite Summer Orientation Camp Highlights

By: YLan Nguyen, MD Programs Manager

Photos courtesy of AALEAD Staff

To kick off AALEAD Ignite Summer Program, Maryland Summer Youth Program Coordinators (SYPCs) embarked on a long-distance three-day camping trip at Denton Wesleyan Camp in Denton, MD. SYPCs play a key role in the AALEAD Summer Program by being the leaders for program participants as well as supporting AALEAD staff with program logistics and facilitation.

This year’s SYPC Orientation Camp Goals included:

1) Build positive, supportive relationships with each other through participation in team-building activities, meal prep and cooking, and free-time play.

SYPCs participated in a team-building activity called “Acid River” that builds teamwork, effective communication, and decision-making strategies.

2) Understand effective facilitation through facilitation practice in small groups and receiving feedback from fellow SYPCs.

A few SYPCs share their workshop idea around Global Warming to potentially facilitate during Ignite Summer Programs.

3. Explore identity through art and story-telling.

Youth visualize and paint their “Creative Spirit” which represents their passions and creativity.

4. Experience and understand self-care and mental health activities.

Throughout camp, SYPCs sign up for cooking and cleaning roles for multiple meals – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This process builds teamwork while learning basic cooking skills that they can then apply to their personal lives.

5. Last but not least, have fun!

Before returning home, youth reflect on their experiences building & creating with each other.

The Summer Youth Program Coordinator Orientation Camp has become a long-standing tradition in AALEAD Maryland Programs. The trip allows space for youth to bond with one another by building meaningful relationships and working together towards shared goals. It is also a time for youth to bond with AALEAD staff who directly support SYPCs throughout the summer.

The week after SYPC Orientation Camp, SYPCs meet at the summer program site, Parkland Magnet Middle School to prepare for their roles. At the end of the week, SYPCs go on another field trip that focuses on building supportive relationships with each other.

SYPCs take a trip to Sugarloaf Mountains for a group hike before jumping into summer programs with program participants.

Stay tuned this month for more exciting blog posts about AALEAD’s 2019 summer programs!

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