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3/10/2012 - Malta - PE: summer volunteer experiences
Photograph available in Image Bank

(ANS – Senglea) – The Salesian Pastoral Youth Service of Malta has always engaged in offering to the young people voluntary activities and animation, to provide a comfortable environment for small children and opportunities to grow up and take responsibility for children. Roberta Mifsud, a young entertainer, gives an account of  the experience last summer at the “YES” camp (Youths Engage in Senglea).

A dear friend of mine who is a member of SPYS (Salesian Pastoral Youth Service) months ago told me about the YES Senglea Summer Camp (YES= Youth Engage in Senglea) that the organisation was planning for July. I had been on the lookout for opportunities where I could be more involved in the community, so this project sounded like a meaningful idea. In fact, this is how I became involved in SPYS.

The summer camp which was being held for the third year consecutively was a two-week daily program open to the youths from Senglea, a city in the east of Malta, situated in our Grand Harbour area. This year with the help and support of the Salesian community in Senglea, the summer school welcomed twenty five youths aged between ten and sixteen years and approximately twenty volunteers that acted as animators.

We volunteers started meeting and planning out the day to day activities early on in the year. As the date of commencement of the summer camp approached, I started to feel apprehensive of how I would relate with the kids as this was going to be my first experience in this type of project. Soon enough it was the first day of the camp and twenty five kids were filling the hall. As we interacted, my apprehensiveness faded and excitement took over. In the days that followed we worked small crafts with them, we played games with them and organised excursions for them during the mornings. In the afternoon we met again for mass at St. Philip's Church after which we used to go swimming or be transported to the Salesian Oratory in Sliema. The time flew by very quickly and preparations were soon underway for the talent show held on the final day of the camp.

This talent show holds a special place in many of the volunteer's hearts as the kids themselves are responsible for all the acts in the show. Observing the youths as they made the transition from individual to team players was very fulfilling to me.

I had decided to participate in this project because I wanted to do some volunteering and spend my summer in a fruitful way but I enjoyed myself so much that the whole experience did not feel like volunteering. I was receiving so much more than the little I was offering. It was very satisfying to be able to build a rapport with the kids. Seeing all of us mingle together made the memory of the first day, where all of us stood apart in corners, just a memory of the past.

Published on 03/10/2012

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