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CATEGORIES - Youth Development



CAMP Can Make a Difference: Overseas Refugee Assistance Programs for Africa

At the International Camping Congress in Turkey last October, both Tom Holland (USA) and John Jorgenson (ICF President) spoke about the role and responsibility of all camps to develop programs with an eye to creating both global citizens within and a better world beyond. Whether it is through our campers, our staff or our pocketbooks, we can influence the world in significant ways. Two ICF members have just such a project in mind and we are presenting it here for your consideration.

The US Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration has provided a grant opportunity for the funding of NGO programs benefiting refugees in South Sudan. Two longstanding and well-respected members of the International Camping Fellowship: Jenny Bowker and Phil Lilienthal have expressed their hope to enlist the help of other ICF members in developing a grant proposal for this and/or future situations in which children and youth are impacted by the ravages of conflict, poverty and famine.

As a former president of ICF with a special interest and outreach into Africa, Jenny Bowker has travelled to the continent many times to seek out various programs, identify many needs and make contact with many influential persons in the fields of relief and youth work. Phil Lilienthal is President and Founder of Global Camps Africa with over a decade of history developing enriched, camp-like programming in South Africa through a program called Camp Sizanani. As in all quality camp experiences, the intention of the program is to use the medium of camp to achieve broader goals for both personal and community development as well as sustainable solutions for the region and its people.

Phil and the GCA team recognize an opportunity, but need 'sandals' on the ground in South Sudan and to help transform the lives of refugee children there. GCA has experience in both launching and sustaining programs in adverse conditions and we have immense faith in Phil’s abilities to guide the willing hands of experienced camp volunteers. The scope of the project is within our skill set and our hearts are willing.

This is where ICF, ICF members, and the world of outdoor experience come into play. Phil wants to be able to step forward with a grant submission. One of the things that is required is a sense of the depth of leadership available to the program and the proposal.

There are so many questions yet to answer related to setting, timing, duration, program, team size that are yet to be answered that we will NOT ask: “Are you willing to go to South Sudan?

We can ask this question right now: “Are you interested in learning more about the possibility of your, your camp’s, or your camp staff’s participation in this type of international camp project?

With Phil's head, Jenny's heart and ICF hands at work, we truly can make a difference. If your answer to that question is "Yes", contact us at
Camping Fellowship
Feb, 26, 2015