U.S. EMBASSY – YMCA CONCLUDE 3RD ANNUAL BRIGHT STARS CAMP

By Sailu Bah

On Saturday, 30 August, 2014 the third annual U.S. Embassy-YMCAU.S. Embassy-YMCA “Bright Stars Summer Camp” concluded at the YMCA in Kanifing.

The two-week camp, hosted by the U.S. Embassy in collaboration with YMCA, aimed to provide young teenagers with an “American-style” camp experience where they explored new interests and developed themselves as responsible citizens and leaders.

The closing ceremony which highlighted poems, songs, and performances by the campers, was addressed by the U.S. Charge d’Affaires, Richard T. Yoneoka, the Executive Director of the YMCA, John Charles Njie, and Camp Director, Priscilla Dunn.

This year’s theme “Unlocking Your Talents” featured two tracks, Performing Arts & Science and Fine Arts & Sports.

The 29 campers came from 17 schools from the Greater Banjul Area and 20 other volunteers from the U.S. Embassy, American Corner, the Embassy’s Competitive College Club, the YMCA, the University of The Gambia, and camp alumnus who worked tirelessly to make the camp the most successful one ever.  The camp featured daily programs focusing on topics ranging from team building, public speaking, music, creative writing, personal development, stress management, science, film, photography, as well as tours of the national assembly and the national museum, a career day, and many more.

While speaking to the campers at the closing ceremony, Charge d’Affaires Yoneoka, challenged the campers to remember the lessons they have learned from the camp and to bring those new skills to their homes and schools.

Charge d’Affaires Yoneoka stressed that this is one of his favorite programs of the year and highlighted the importance of youth as they represent not only the future of The Gambia, Africa, and the world, but also the present.