Friday, November 14, 2008

¡Si se puede! ¡Brigada Verde!

Last weekend I brought two members of my youth group (now officially called JARUF-Jovenes Avanzando Rapido Un Futuro-'Youth Rapidly Improving Their Future') to a Brigada Verde camp.  Brigada Verde is 'Green Brigade' and it is an environmental youth group first started in this country by Peace Corps Volunteers about six years ago.  The goals are obvious: environmental awareness, conservation, and improvement.  The camp was three days long, organized by other volunteer buddies of mine, and I learned a lot!  We had activities on water contamination, different biological ecosystems, waste management, and the flora of the Dominican Republic.  

Of course this was not all that we did at a camp full of 40 high school age youth!  We had somewhere around 7,000 icebreakers, although I wasn't counting.  Ha, we had plenty of social time, because that social time is really where the kids get motivation to keep going.  They talk with others youth from around the country who have similar groups and have completed successful projects, and get excited to keep going.  

It was a great camp and I know now that my kids are going to get started with their first real projects!  We have talked about holding a dance-a-thon in the colmado to raise funds for public trash cans(there is no trash service at all in my village) and have also talked about a small reforestation project above the aqueduct spring to protect the water reserves.  

As with every day, the final day of the camp included a shouting session by our fearless leader volunteer Ryan.  It went like this:
-All the kids banging on plastic tables as hard as they could to the rhythm of "We will rock you"
-Ryan sreaming "Si se puede!" and the kids responding as loud as they could (translation: Yes you can!)
-Ryan screaming "Protege el Medio Ambiente" and the kids responding (translation: Protect the Environment!)
-Ryan screaming "Brigada Verde" and the kids yelling it back!

It was an amazing sight.  I learned alot about the environment and a lot more about how to really connect with youth and get them motivated.  I am not saying that I have been changed and will be that shouting volunteer any time soon, but I am saying that I was inspired.  I can only imagine how my kids felt!

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