Life Skills Camp – Day One
Over the last twelve years, LWB has been honored to invest ourselves into teens who grew up in orphanage care but were never matched with permanent families. These young adults will usually end up on their own sometime between the ages of 18 and 24, and we want to do whatever we can to help them prepare for that day. This week we are excited to be holding our first ever Life Skills Camp, with the theme “The World is Better With Me In It.”
Fifty-two campers from Anhui, Jiangxi, Fujian, Guizhou, Gansu, and Hunan provinces are now in Beijing attending class sessions on etiquette and social skills, alcohol and drug use, self-esteem, sex education, money management, online safety, self-defense, and more. All reports so far are that they are having the time of their lives, and it never would have happened without your incredible help!
Some of the kids had very long travel times to Beijing, and of course learning how to navigate Chinese train stations and airports is an important life skill in itself. The kids from Jiangxi were so excited that they couldn’t sleep at all on the train, but at least they had some good snacks along the way!
As each group of teens arrived from the different orphanages, I would get a text to let me know they were there. It was a great feeling to know everyone had arrived safely!
Each teen was given a new backpack filled with supplies such as a water bottle, camp shirts, sunscreen, and a small amount of spending money to buy themselves additional snacks or a special souvenir of the week at one of our field trip locations (yes, budgeting for the week is one of the lessons!)
Each teen also had to sign a Code of Conduct to be kind and responsible, and of course absolutely no bullying allowed.
On Sunday, some of the kids were nervous to learn that they would not be spending all their time with their hometown friends. We explained that while they could room at night with their friends, during the day they needed to learn how to meet new people and how to stretch their comfort zone a bit. We had a fun activity where each teen was given an animal puzzle piece at registration, and then they had to find the rest of their animal to discover who their small group would be for the week.
Each small group then had a meeting with their assigned mentor, to get to know each other better. We have some incredible mentors in Beijing this week who are pouring their hearts into making sure each child attending feels special and valued.
During the welcoming dinner on Sunday, each teen had to stand up and introduce themselves. Of course for some kids, talking into a microphone for the first time was an overwhelming experience, while others were born naturals at public speaking.
And of course there was lots of great food to welcome everyone to camp!
Stay tuned to our blog to learn more about this very special week. All of our activities both inside and outside the classroom will be reinforcing just how beautiful and important each and every person at the camp truly is. Here’s to a life-changing week for everyone there!
~Amy Eldridge, Chief Executive Officer
- Donate now to help us make this Life Skills Camp a reality for more older orphaned teens next summer!