During the vacations, the SOS Children’s Village Flores took part in a project developed by SOS Indonesia, termed Youth Super Camp. SOS Flores and SOS Bali joined in organizing a six-day camp. The participants were senior high school students from the two SOS Villages, their Youth Houses and Family Strengthening Programme (FSP). The concept was based on our aim to eventually lead the youth to personal and economic independence. Preparations had started in the beginning of the year with coordination meetings and training sessions for the educators from Bali and Flores, who acted as facilitators.
Since the Camp was held in Bali, for the 30 youth from Flores the adventure began right with the trip. From Maumere, they had to ride a bus to Ende first and from there take a boat to Benoa, Bali. As they were sailing past other islands, their initial enthusiasm at the beautiful sights was considerably dampened by seasickness ... (And there was more adventure waiting on the return trip. The passage from Benoa they had booked was cancelled. Therefore, the four educators who accompanied them had to find an alternative passage from Surabaya – which was not easy during the vacations – but finally they succeeded. This means that from Bali, our Florenese had to travel west to Java first, before embarking on their two-day journey home to the east! The good thing was that the boat from Surabaya went all the way to the harbour of Maumere.)
Yet, the troubles were worthwhile! The warm welcome SOS Bali gave to them, along with a warm meal and a nice bed, quickly restored the spirits of our exhausted travellers. Early next morning, the Youth Super Camp for the region Bali – Flores was officially opened, still at the SOS Village. Then the young people were divided up into mixed groups of nine boys and girls from both Villages. At this point, some of them got anxious, because they were to spend five days together with total strangers whose culture was so different from their own. A boy from Flores described his worries later on: being ‘a little darker than the rest’, he might not be accepted by his group. However, when nobody seemed to care about skin colour, his confidence soon returned. He found his Balinese peers kind and eager to interact with anybody. The youth from Bali, on the other hand, was surprised how outgoing and communicative their new friends from Flores were.
In order to become independent, mature and happy adults, our teens were challenged to leave the comfort-zone of the SOS Village and become aware of the challenges and hardships of life. They were to understand that succeeding, even fulfilling one’s daily needs, demanded much effort, courage and simply hard work. Girls and boys made plans for their future and explored their unique potential; they will use their creativity to develop this potential. Therefore, they tried to advance their personal and social soft skills, like concentration, logical analysis, effective communication, and leadership, and built up peer care among them. They supported each other by sharing their problems and working out solutions in group-discussions. From the camping site, there were demanding cross-country hikes through rice-fields, orchards, woods, and riverbeds; outbound activities like high-rope games. The challenges of nature were simulations of life’s challenges. Furthermore, they learnt much from team- and confidence-building games. After each game, there were reflections on its targets and how far these had been achieved. They were guided to change their mindset by breaking mental blocks, eliminating crippling attitudes, and develop a struggle-mindset. Although these are serious matters, the Youth Super Camp was fun, for healthy young people need challenges. And clearly, the discovery of much individual potential of any kind during the camp is valuable information for the Village educators whose daily task it is to help develop these potentials and motivate their charges to achieve their goals.
Dear Friends, thank you for supporting our children, so they can grow up expanding their potential.
SOS Children's Village Flores