September 7, 2015 – by Marjan Companjen &samhoud foundation
Twelve young people spend fifty consecutive hours of their summer holiday with three facilitators at &samhoud’s offices. From time to time they are joined by twelve mentors. They are young people who already need to make important decisions about their future.
Melissa (17) is one of them and she is about to start her final year at highschool. She signed up for the summer camp to get to know herself better and to consider her next steps after highschool. Just like most of the other participants, she doesn’t know anyone else at the camp. She does not mind that, because she is curious about how other people view her.
Even though participants come from different background and study at different levels, they discover that they have a lot in common. As with most young people in the Netherlands, they have no lack of choice. But how do you know whether a choice is right and suits you?
That is why the summer campers start creating their own Personal Vision: it’s one A4 that describes their qualities, values and goals. It makes clear who they are and who they want to become. There are workshops, exercises, games, films are watched, and discussions take place with mentors, also during a boat ride through Utrecht’s canals. Of course copious amounts of soft drinks and M&Ms are being consumed. A boxing clinic takes place half way through the camp resulting in many new insights about themselves and how they relate with others. “You may not believe it, but at the end of the workshop about half the group was in tears”, Melissa says. Later, during the camp’s closing moments, many participants share that the boxing clinic was a highlight for them.
But insight on its own is not enough. Taking action is also important and together with their mentors the young people consider their first steps. For some that will be starting a dialogue with their parents, others know which open day they will visit first and at which university or college.
Since participation is free of charge, each of the youngsters will do a ‘pay it forward’ activity based on the excellent film with the same name. Melissa, for example, will help out at a food bank in her neighbourhood. It’s great to see how each participant will give back to each of their environments because of the camp.
After 50 hours new friendships have been forged, new insights have been gained and the future is faced with lots of energy. The third &samhoud #brighterfuture summer camp is a success!
PS: If you are interesting in joining the next summer camp, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll keep you posted about dates.