Beginning October 2023, the Darling Outreach Foundation embarked on a transformative journey with the young minds of Darling, South Africa. The theme for this program was “Teambuilding & Leadership,” and the participating learners, ranging from grades 4 to 10, came from underprivileged communities. These children, often exposed to gang violence and drug abuse, were in need of a positive and enlightening experience.
The Darling Outreach Foundation decided to entrust Nature Connect with the responsibility of hosting this life-changing camp. Located in Bokbaai, a hidden gem along the South African coast, the camp promised to be an eye-opening adventure. And, according to the campers themselves, it was nothing short of “baie lekker” – very enjoyable!
One of the most profound impacts of the camp was introducing the learners to Bokbaai, a place many of them had never heard of before. Denico Warnick, one of the enthusiastic campers, exclaimed, “We always go to Silwerstroom strand; I never knew this place exists. Bokbaai is baie mooi.”
Siyabonga Mkwambi, another camper, wished for more time in this paradise, saying, “I wish we could stay longer, a day or two extra.”
Camp life was a revelation for many reasons. The learners were enchanted by the food, served right next to the ocean. Tamika Azure expressed her delight, “The food was amazing; it was beautiful to sit and eat so close to the ocean.”
The camp was filled with exciting activities and experiences that left an indelible mark on the participants. Some of the highlights included:
1. Exploring the Rocky Shore: The campers went on a captivating walk to the rocky shore, where they discovered starfish and black mussels.
2. Encounter with Ostriches: The learners were delighted to see ostriches during their walks, providing a unique wildlife encounter.
3. Fun Outdoor Activities: Various outdoor games and activities fostered teamwork and camaraderie among the campers.
4. Potjiekos Competition: For many campers, this was their first attempt at making food. The Potjiekos competition not only tested their culinary skills but also their ability to work together.
5. Fireside Stories: Sitting by the fireside, campers shared stories, bonding over tales and experiences, and making memories that will last a lifetime.
Educators who worked closely with the Darling Outreach Foundation campers were equally moved by the experience. Jayme noted, “It was very nice working with the learners from Darling Outreach Foundation; they always listened and participated in every activity we did with them, even the 10-year-old learners.”
Xoliswa, while acknowledging the language barrier, found the experience enjoyable, saying, “It was difficult because of the language barrier, but it was lots of fun.”
Anwar, another leader, shared his thoughts, “It was awesome working with these learners, just to see their grateful faces and looking at them, it looks like you’re making an impact in their lives with whatever you’re teaching them at that moment.”
The camp’s organisers also received heartfelt feedback from the leaders. Louise Barends praised Nature Connect, saying, “Once again, a huge thank you for the camp. The Sustainable Schools team was so much involved and engaged with the learners that we did not even need to step in.”
Angelique Rosant, reflecting on the impact of the camp on the children, expressed gratitude, “Thanks so much; the kids’ parents reported they fell asleep talking about their camp. ‘We loved it, and the kids loved it even more! The program will definitely be one they remember and the fun they had.'”
The Darling Outreach Foundation camp at Bokbaai was not just an event; it was a transformative experience. It showcased the power of nature, unity, and the human spirit. The lessons learned here will undoubtedly shape the future leaders of Darling, inspiring positive change in the community and in their lives.