We are almost at the halfway point in our Summer Camp here at The Mariposa DR Foundation and there have been some incredible experiences all around in each of our programs, both during and outside of camp, that have truly shown the power of working together with young women to fight the cycles of poverty and social inequalities.
Our first week was full of introductions and getting-to-know-each-other activities. We begin each day with a morning circle and announcements, followed by a group activity. Yoga has been a pretty popular one over the past two weeks, with some of the girls volunteering to lead the yoga poses!
The Sports Group has taken full advantage of the combined energy of 15 dynamic young Mariposas by providing them with a wide variety of games, physical activities and sports to teach them important skills in teamwork, persistence and fun! Thanks to our sports group volunteers Colleen Kavanagh, Lee Evans, Julia Swijters, our intern Fernanda Garcia and our partners at Extreme Hotel, Kaiceitos Circus and Chichigua Restaurant, the girls spend two days a week at Kite Beach learning how to use the trapeze, balancing techniques and swim lessons! They return exhausted but with stories and excitement to share with everyone.
The Eco Education Group has stayed busy by discussing the natural resources found in and around Cabarete. By engaging the girls in interactive learning environments, the volunteers Ria Shroff, Alexandra Milian and intern Yonairiz Zayas Garcia have been able to introduce them to concepts and ideas about environmental protection and conservation in innovative ways. This week, the girls in the Eco Education group wrote their own songs and poems about the environment and took part in an exciting scavenger hunt in and around Puerto Cabarete, the location of our summer camp, to understand garbage disposal and contamination, and to appreciate the local beauty around us. We also had a guest lecture by Arisela Santana, Family Lawyer and Social Worker with CEPROSH (Puerto Plata) who talked about community values and the importance of teamwork and youth leadership. The girls enjoyed her visit and learnt a lot in that one hour!
Thanks to Wilson Zapete, a longtime Cabarete resident and tour guide, the girls also enjoyed a wonderful ride down the Yasica River to La Boca, learnt more about marine ecology and met some interesting friends along the way!
Kelly and Anna Banker have been working extremely hard with our 15-16 year olds in the Theatre group to produce a piece of theatre that comes from deep within and touches upon many of the local issues and social situations that exist here in Cabarete. Some of the topics are very delicate, but the volunteers have worked extremely hard at creating a safe space and a comfortable environment within which to explore these issues and are definitely seeing the fruits of their labor! For more information on the activities of the Grupo de Teatro, check out: http://www.emotionalcreaturesdr.blogspot.com/
And last but not the least, our resident bachata and merengue experts have been experiencing the joys and frustrations of learning new styles of dance, such as bellydancing, samba, cumbia and salsa thanks to Aurora Garcia and Nelly Trejo! Aurora has patiently introduced the history and culture of belly dancing and has been instrumental in bringing a new appreciation for their bodies and for the culture of this dance. Nelly has worked hard at introducing the right breathing techniques through daily yoga and several partner dances besides the local favourites of bachata and merengue. It’s truly a beautiful sight to walk by their classroom and see the girls swishing their colourful scarves around in step to the beat!
Joy Warrick and Tehka Bowen have been supervising the academic side of camp by having literature and math classes every day for the different groups and tailoring the activities to their literacy levels. The girls have enjoyed reading different stories and articles related to sports, dance, theatre and environmental themes and are very concentrated during their math sessions! Joy and Tehka are supported by Paulina (the director of Puerto Cabarete) and Gracy, a teacher during the year.
We have a little over two weeks left, and we’re excited to see the development of our previous Mariposas! Thank you to all our volunteers, sponsors, donors and community partners. Thanks also to our group of dedicated mothers who are here early in the morning and always around to lend a hand, clean up a mess and make coffee for those of us who need a pick-me-up during the day!
We’d love to meet anyone who would like to visit our camp during the week, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org for details and information!