Peace Corps loves summer camps. I had the (mostly) pleasure of participating in two back-to-back summer camps a couple weeks ago. I originally volunteered for one, a TOBE (more on this later) camp, but after another camp was left shorthanded I decided to help with that one also.
At the camp, the kids were split into four teams. I led Team Seattle, obviously we ‘won.’ The 5 day camp was filled with sports, hanging out at the beach and teaching the kids about topics like leadership and teamwork. My team was awesome. My kids were creative and really fun to hang out with. Most of the kids had learned quite a bit of English and they were some of the most ambitious kids I’ve met.
As the sports camp was winding down, the TOBE camp was beginning. They overlapped by a day but conveniently for me were at the same location so I easily moved from one to the other. TOBE was an entirely different type of camp from the sports camp. TOBE stands for ‘Teaching Our Boys to Excel’ and goes along with GLOW camps (Girls Leading Our World.) These camps are funded by Peace Corps grants and entirely planned by current Peace Corps Volunteers, many PC posts around the world host these camps. The idea behind these camps is to teach boys in Kyrgyzstan about a variety of topics they wouldn’t otherwise be exposed too such as leadership, healthy relationships, HIV/AIDS and sex ed. All of the volunteers’ counterparts also came with us to this camp. The camp was conducted entirely in Kyrgyz so our counterparts were instrumental in making the camp a success.