With the generous financial support from the German and Austrian Lieutenancies, Kirche in Not and Cambridge Nazareth Trust, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem was able to conduct summer camps in 27 different parishes in 2015, and to allow the continuity of the LPJ biblical mission in serving its congregation. 3,700 children and youth from the different parish areas participate in the yearly summer camps that are led by pastors and Church leaders.
The one-month summer camps provide the children and youth with the opportunity to experience and discover new or emerging interests and to focus on special skills and interests that may be set aside or even neglected during the academic year. Summer programs allow them to get engaged in various intra-curricular activities like drama, arts, religion, music, voluntary work and social services. Summer camps were held during summer vacations in the months of June, July and August, lasting usually for one month. Participants, leaders, volunteers, families, parents and the LPJ were all satisfied with the summer camps conducted in the parishes in 2015. Here are some of the positive feedback from some of our parishes in Palestine, Jordan and Israel:
Gaza, Palestine: a year after the Israeli war on Gaza, the situation there continues to deteriorate as a result of a combination of political and economic factors. Christians in Gaza consider the Church the only safe haven where they can express themselves and feel safe. As a small Christian minority in Gaza (70 individuals), the summer camp in 2015, helped to strengthen the connections between them to become one loving family. It was a big chance for the children and the youth to have fun and participate in the activities after all the sufferings they went through last year.
Rafidia- Nablus, Palestine: educational and recreational activities were the main accomplishments of the program since it helped in shaping the participants’ personalities and strengthen them. Moreover, the camp was open to non-Christian kids and youth to participate in it. This helped in creating a comfortable environment to share new ideas and thoughts and to meet new people from different backgrounds. Positive feedback from the children, the parents and the volunteers were given on the summer program and all hoped to participate in it again next year, 2016.
Marj Al-Hamam, Jordan: the summer camp there helped in creating a new skilled generation that can serve themselves in their future life and transfer leadership skills to younger generations. They enjoyed a team spirit to serve the society and to ensure civilian principles. Parents, counselors, volunteers and participants are all looking forward to another summer camp phase next year.