Life Skills Camp: Final Days
On Saturday morning, our Life Skills Camp for older orphaned teens ended, and what a wonderful week it was!
Here are a few highlights and final thoughts on this experience that touched not only the teens attending but the hearts of the mentors, adults, and all of us as well.
On Wednesday, our campers got up very early to beat the heat at Beijing’s Tian’anmen Square. It was extremely crowded with tourists, and all the teens said they had never seen so many people in one place before. They walked around the Square and then went to the Forbidden City.
After this outing, it was back to class. The topics for the day were drug and alcohol abuse, smoking and sex education.
Cindy, our China Director, stated she was very surprised that the teens did not laugh or talk when the topic was sex. They were very serious and interested. The chaperones all told her they thought this was a great lesson for the teens. They need this kind of education so badly.
The last lesson of the day was a course on money management. The leader made it simple and interesting and some teens went to talk to him after the class with questions about saving money in the bank even though interest is so low at this time. He helped them to make a plan for future savings.
Most of the teens attending our Life Skills Camp live at orphanages that are inland, and they have never been to the beach. On Thursday, they went to the coastal town of Beidaihe via a boat. Some campers were tentative at first, but once they got used to the water they waded in in their clothes and splashed around with abandon!
When the teens arrived back in Beijing, they took a self-defense class. Coach Chen was very helpful and lots of fun!
One of the key lessons of the class was to be conscientious about self-defense and understand it is not about fighting but how to leave a dangerous place or situation quickly and safely.
Four teens shared the role of emcee for the talent show, and even though they were a little shy, they tried very hard to make the party a fun one.
The talent show had nineteen awesome acts, and the adults were amazed with each one!
Everyone’s favorite performance was a dance performed by the teens from Lanzhou. The teens danced so well, and everyone gave them a huge round of applause!
After the talent show, each teen was presented with a Certificate of Graduation by LWB China Directors, Cindy (left) and Yvonne (right).
Then the teens watched a slideshow of some of the photos from the week. This is such an emotional time as everyone can see how they have changed and the friendships they have made. The highlight of the evening was when the teens signed their names on the white T-shirts. They walked around to have their new friends, the mentors, the orphanage chaperones, and Cindy and Yvonne sign their shirts. They told us they would keep this T-shirt forever!
On Saturday, everyone said their emotional goodbyes and started their journey back to their home orphanages. We cannot express how grateful we are to everyone who made this incredible experience possible for these older orphaned teens.
We truly hope that they know in their hearts how special they are!