We held another successful Los Pueblos Summer Camp in 2023!
Thank you to our instructors, Janet and Willow, for their hard work, creativity and dedication!
SEE THE GALLERY BELOW- hover over pictures for left and right arrows.
In June 2023 SCEC held two weeks of summer day camp for low-income families in the Cottage Grove area who are speakers of Spanish and Mam (primarily Guatemalan immigrants.) Funding was generously provided by the Yarg Family Foundation and the City of Cottage Grove, with logistical support from our partner, the Family Resource Center in Cottage Grove.
We were able to provide this free, unique opportunity for 22 children over two weeks. The program was very successful and helped us connect with this under-served local population. The instructors are excited to do this camp again next year, as are the campers.
The Family Resource Center connected us with our lead instructor Janet, who spoke with the families and provided registration support. They consulted with us in meetings beforehand to determine the best way to gain the confidence of the families and to connect with them. We provided breakfast and lunch
foods, some of which came from the Community Sharing Food Pantry. South Valley Athletics generously provided sports equipment. The location at the park was provided by the City of Cottage Grove. One of SCEC’s former board members donated 3 bags of groceries.
The children were picked up at their apartment building each day by South Lane Wheels bus service and returned there each day at 2pm. Some children who lived in a different part of town were picked up each day by our instructor at the library. This made it easy for the families who don’t have transportation to participate. Our instructors prepared nutritious food at home and brought it in each day, since there was no electricity at the park. A local supporter of SCEC who lives across the street generously allowed the kids to come to his large garden and sample all kinds of fruits and veggies growing there. Many of them had never eaten a snap pea fresh from the vine. By creating a web of partners and funders we were able to provide much needed engaging and educational summer camp for these Guatemalan children in our community.
CURRICULUM AND IMPACT
Our staff and Director created curriculum focused on the culture and history of the Pueblos and Latino countries. The children made traditional foods like salsa, guacamole, horchata and more. They learned about South American animals and made their own alebrijes on paper (a mix of several types on animals, brightly painted). They danced to traditional music, enjoyed puppet shows, splashed in the river, created and painted pottery, and much more. Special guest Will Flint taught the children how to weave a basket with young willow shoots and helped them plant willows by the river.
The joy on the faces of the children is one of the best measures of success. Through the camaraderie with others, and the games, crafts and cooking, the children got a boost of confidence and connection. They couldn’t wait to return each day. All the parents called our instructor after the first week, expressing how much their children loved the camp and asking if they could come back again for the next week. One 9-year-old boy had just arrived from Guatemala two weeks ago and said that he had never made crafts like this; he only had paper and pencil at his school. He also did not speak any English yet. The instructor reported that this camp was essential for him to feel at home in his new city and make new friends before school starts in Fall. Many of the children were tri-lingual, speaking Mam, Spanish, and English.
The instructors reported that many of the children have food insecurities at home, and were happy to take home leftovers each day, and fill up on nutritious foods while at camp. We are thrilled with the impact of this program and are very grateful to our funders and community partners for making this unique experience a reality for these very deserving children.
We are committed to continuing this program in the same location next year and beyond. We continue to work very closely with the Family Resource Center, Community Sharing, the City of Cottage Grove, South Valley Athletics and South Lane Wheels. It is the generosity of funders like you that make this work possible so we can bring an engaging and enriching experience to these children. We are committed to continuing a relationship with our local Guatemalan community and exploring other programs and events we can offer. This Fall will assess whether we can offer more weeks of this camp in 2024. Thank you for your support!