As an international volunteer, the experience was challenging. Each day we would begin at 7am and finish at 10pm (or later depending on the activity). This made for a tiring ten days, but the enthusiasm of the children is what kept the volunteers going.
Themes of unity, national independence and pride in Palestinian heritage were part of the camp and were encouraged in the students. They were split into four teams of different colours: Blue, red, orange and green. They subsequently engaged in most of the activities according to their separate teams. On the first day, each team was asked to devise a unity chant for the rest of the camp. These chants were then performed to the rest of the students, who chose a chant for all of them to perform when instructed to for the remaining nine days.
There were approximately five teachers and three volunteers (Elena, Alessandro and Niccolo). We each had to wear white shirts with the camp logo emblazoned on them. It was largely the job of the volunteers to engage with the students and encourage them to speak English during their break times (breakfast, Lunch and two intermediate breaks). Some students were more confident in English than others, but overall their level of English language understanding was very good. These were among some of the most intelligent Palestinian teenagers (mostly from Hebron and Jerusalem); apparently they go to some of the finest schools in their regions.
The students were encouraged to think of the difference between being a boss and a leader in a position of command. The students largely came to some very lucrative conclusions and had some productive thoughts about leadership and teamwork. Following this activity, the other volunteers and I conducted a role-playing game in which we took turns in being three difficult people to work with, and the students acted voluntarily as our leader.
Towards the end of the camp, the Palestinian Minister for Education came to visit, and the students performed their chant for him.