One of the weeks children and staff at Wells of Hope always look forward to most in the year is the week of camp, Camp David Uganda (CDU). It’s a totally packed with various activities and is extremely engaging! Since 2017, Camp David of the Ozarks, now Camp David International (CDI) in partnership with Wells of Hope Ministries conducts an annual camp for children with parents in prison. The aim of the camp is to help children become change agents and responsible leaders. Through the camp, the children are able to cope with parental incarceration.
This year, the camp was held from October 11th to 15th with the theme, Stand Fast. This year’s camp focused on helping children to stand fast in faith, hope and love.
Different from the previous years, 83 (54 girls and 29 boys) children participated in the camp; 59 were campers (37 girls, 22 boys); 10 (7 girls, 3 boys) were counselors; 14 (10 girls, 4boys) were support staff. Some of the children could not make it due to the current situation of COVID-19.
The children who participated in the camp were children who have no homes to go back to; children who are at risk in their communities; and children who were rescued from their communities after recording cases of issues like child labor.
After days of a lot if preparation with support from friends at Camp David International Center, based in the US, the Wells of Hope team headed to Wells of Hope Junior School in a extreme anticipation and joy! It was a week filled with immense excitement, joy and happiness! “My prayer has been answered! I had lost hope of us having camp this year because of COVID-19,” a child was heard saying.
This time around, the children we had 7 groups of campers who included: Crystals, 4-9years; Rubies, 10-12years; Diamonds, 13-14years; Pearls, 14-17years; Lions, 5-12years; Tigers, 13-14years; and Panthers, 15-17years. The daily activities comprised: What About It class which was facilitated by Richard Egesa from Purpose Uganda; Dance class which was facilitated by Brenda Divine from Watoto Church Downtown; Creation class which facilitated by Rose; Crafts class which facilitated by Esther Birungi, a former intern at Wells of Hope and a Student at Kyambogo University in Kampala; Slingshots which were led by Pius, a teacher at Wells of Hope Junior School and Joseph Ngabirano, a student in tertiary; Team Building & Field Games which were led by Gersem, a teacher at Wells of Hope Junior School and Enock Ssegawa, a student in tertiary.
In the What About It class, the children were helped to cope with parental imprisonment; some of the topics shared about included: forgiveness and how to overcome self pity. They were encouraged to always be more hopeful in a brighter future and to always be optimistic.
In the creation class, Rose shared with the children about morality, the end times and child rights.
She cautioned the children not to be swayed by world standards of living, but rather to embrace godly values in their lives for example; being decent, respect their elders and always be obedient. She also urged them to maintain good friends who will help them to grow in life.
One of the most entertaining classes during the week is the Dance class. During the class, the children are able to explore their talent in dance. Brenda taught the groups choreography which they jointly presented on Thursday.
In the crafts class, the children were very excited to make bracelets, design crosses, make paintings, make paper designs and masks.
To crown off the week, a campfire was made for all the groups! The children were extremely happy to roast meat; make S’mores and to receive award certificates from their counselors!
The top highlights of the week included:
- 7 children (campers) and a teacher (counselor) were baptized!
- The children’s birthday party was one of a kind that left precious memories in the hearts of many! The children were extremely happy to celebrate their birthdays with their friends! Dressed in party wear, the campers made their way from their dormitories to the party venue as they were happily cheered on by the children and staff who were among the Support staff. As the children cut their cakes and received their birthday gifts, their thrill was over the moon; they leaped with joy!
- The children’s Talent Show was another event that left everyone at the Junior School mesmerized! The children displayed a lot of creativity in their presentations which included: songs, skits, mimes and dances!
- The Shaving cream battle got all the children and staff very thrilled!
- During rotations, the campers expressed enormous excited as they cheered on one another in their groups; and sang songs.
We thank Camp David International and everyone they worked with to hold this year’s camp! We are extremely grateful for their continued love, care and support towards the children with parents in prison!