SUMMER CAMP 2022, “COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP
10-15 Volunteers Needed to Lead Summer Camp 2023, “Community Leadership” in La Piedra, Dominican Republic
Guanin Community Center, La Piedra (east of Santo Domingo), Dominican Republic
August 1-August 26, 2023 (4 weeks, 28 days)
July 22, 2022
VIRTUAL PRE-DEPARTURE ORIENTATION:
At 7:00 PM on the 23 of July, 2023, Eastern Daylight Time (New York Time).
Fee PER PERSON: $ 2,660
Tax write off.
Fundación Guanin, Inc., aka, the Guanin Community Center in La Piedra, DR, has been helping resource-poor Dominican and Haitian people, especially the children, for more than 20 years. We work with multiple universities, high schools, and educational agencies across the U.S.A., Dominican Republic, Canada, Germany, and Switzerland.
For four very active weeks, you volunteers will be running a summer camp and teaching children ages 5-12, children of one of the Dominican Republic’s (DR’s) most underprivileged communities. You’ll also meet and make friends among young La Piedra residents your own age, young men and women who have formed a youth group to help motivate younger children to improve themselves and their lives. Note that there will be two pre-departure orientations on Google Meet (You will join local families for a traditional meal of sancocho stew—prepared with fresh meats and indigenous root vegetables, and will also learn to love a wide variety of other delicious local foods. You’ll have your own classes, too, learning “Survival Spanish.” Weekend trips take you to places like a nearby Caribbean beach, a waterfall, where you can cool off with your new friends, or to a performance space set in the ruins of an ancient Franciscan Monastery, where you can dance to live, traditional music. It’s even more joyful when you travel with your young students, for example to the Santo Domingo zoo or other places the children have never been before. To top off all the hard but extremely valuable work you will be doing, you’ll enjoy a full week at the end of your stay by visiting some of the most important historical and beautiful places on the bountiful tropical island of Hispaniola…. This is only a glimpse of what your summer volunteer work in the Dominican Republic has in store for you.
The Dominican Republic is located on an island called Hispaniola, an island that is shared with the Republic of Haiti—one island, two countries, each with its own rich cultural heritage. Note that the DR is the Caribbean’s most popular tourist destination, but it has far more to offer than just its beaches. While the DR is a developing nation, with over a third of its total population living in poverty, even its most disadvantaged communities typify the cherished values of family, solidarity, and cooperation. Whether you’re taking children on their first trip to a zoo or exchanging future plans with local Dominican peers, the DR presents you with countless opportunities to serve as well as countless lessons to learn.
In the DR, you and your peers will help run a summer camp for the children of La Piedra, one of the most impoverished communities in the entire country. Having been resettled in a mostly barren, undesirable region after floods took many of their homes and family members in the Capital, the people of La Piedra are isolated, with little access to public services or resources of any kind. That includes schooling for the children. The Summer Camp and Community Leadership Program that you will help run, then, can provide these children—and you—with invaluable opportunities: new ideas, inspiration, and hope. Through the exchange, you’ll both open windows into another world that neither of you knew existed.
You’ll help teach these children English, play sports of all kinds, and create art and music projects together. These interactions introduce the children to new paths for development, help both you and them develop inter-personal skills, and provide you with the knowledge that continued efforts like these will make a real difference in the community. Each day after camp, you’ll meet with a group of peers from La Piedra who are members of a local youth group. The group aims to prepare and motivate young Dominican children and teens to pursue professional careers and improve their lives. Together you’ll share experiences and future plans, and work together on a variety of projects.
The best way to learn about Dominican Culture is to immerse yourself in it and experience its many variations by visiting different parts of the country. Your Weekend Tours will take you to the South, North, East, and West of the Dominican two-thirds of the island, and provide a wide variety of exciting adventures, too.
1. First weekend, Southeastern Coast and Santo Domingo, the Capital. Historic-Educational City Tour of the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo. You will see the 16th-century buildings and parks, and learn about the founding of Santo Domingo and the modern city. Santo Domingo’s Jardín Botánico Tour. Voted one of the top ten city botanical gardens in the world, Santo Domingo’s Jardín Botánico Nacional is a colorful jewel set in the midst of the crowded capital city. There are plants and trees from every part of the island, including palms, aquatic plants, and hundreds of different bromeliads. We’ll also have an Eco-Adventure, a full-day trip to visit the East National Park (Parque del Este) and Isla Saona. We’ll sail to historic Isla Saona, a small 110 km2 island off the southeastern tip of Hispaniola. It’s a government-protected nature reserve and is world renowned for its white sand and crystal clear turquoise-water beaches.
The goal of the Summer Camp and ongoing Community Leadership Program is to train the next generation of innovators, leaders, change makers, and social entrepreneurs—the young people who will help solve the greatest challenges of the 21st century. In the Dominican Republic you’ll explore concepts and develop skills that will help you to think independently, effectively manage situations, and more easily navigate interpersonal experiences throughout your life—preparing you for college and beyond, you will be encourage Journaling your experiences while on the program to analyze how you hand become a better community leader.
While you’re teaching English to the children of the Summer Camp, we offer you Survival Spanish language classes that help you to build a functional vocabulary with phrases you can use with your students and new friends. These classes also help you to get around during your stay, and to interact better with the staff and your peers in La Piedra. From excursions to teaching and running other service projects, you’ll take part in activities that tie into, and allow you to apply, your Spanish language learning.
There’s no better way to immerse yourself in the community where you are teaching than by living there. You will be provided with a comfortable room in La Piedra, three meals a day, and the locals (both adults and children) will introduce you to local customs while offering support and guidance in what will surely be an unfamiliar environment. Your everyday experiences become a lesson in Dominican culture!
Besides your daily cultural activities in La Piedra, weekend trips may include visiting the beautiful Isla Saona by catamaran, where you’ll enjoy a barbeque lunch on the crystal-white sand of one of the country’s most stunning beaches. You’ll also be able to explore the natural wonder of Cueva Ni Rahu in La Piedra, a massive 23-room cave filled with Indigenous Taino pictographs, petroglyphs, stalagmites, stalactites, columns, and flow formations. You’ll tour the Capital’s Colonial Zone with a great guide, experiencing its awesome ancient buildings from the 1500s and up, including the Cathedral, and dozens of other beautiful churches and parks. Maybe you’ll spend a day in the world–renowned village of Altos de Chavón, or tour the ruins of former sugar cane plantations…. These excursions take you off the beaten tourist path and put you in touch with the country’s people and its greatest natural treasures.
2. Second weekend, Southwestern Coast of Dominican Republic along the Haitian border. Eco-Adventure and Cultural Trip. We’ll tour Lago Enriquillo, a vast salt lake, an ecological treasure and home to vast flocks of pink flamingos, ibises, egrets, herons, spoonbills, as well as crocodiles and several kinds of iguanas, including the Ricord Iguana, which is endemic to the lake and categorized as critically endangered. The lake covers an area of 145 m2 (375 km2). We’ll also visit Jimani, the border city between the Dominican Republic and Republic of Haiti, and its binational market. Then we’ll spend the second night in Barahona, a popular beach destination, also noted for its coffee and sugar production, and the semi-precious stone called larimar.
3. Third Weekend, North Central Dominican Republic, Eco-Tourism Adventure, White-River Rafting. Mountain adventures await us in Jarabacoa, which has been nicknamed The City of Everlasting Spring, with its tropical rain forest climate and high elevation in the island’s Central Mountain Range. We’ll go canoeing, white-water rafting, horseback riding, and hiking to one of the area’s most beautiful waterfalls. You might even get a distant glimpse of Pico Duarte, the highest mountain in the Caribbean. We’ll also visit a cacao factory, the Museo de las Hermanas Mirabal (beloved heroines of the Trujillo Era), rice fields, and see other fantastic sights in this bountiful mountain region.
4. Fourth and Last Weekend, Northeastern Coast, Eco-Tourism Adventure Trip to the luscious Samaná Peninsula, with more coconut palms than you ever imagined existed in the world, and Las Terrenas, an artsy beach town on the Atlantic Coast. The region boasts the Salto el Limon, one of the largest waterfalls in the country. We’ll speed down a forested mountain on a Zipline Adventure, which has recently become a very popular diversion. And we’ll sail on the Bay of Samaná out to the Los Haitises National Park, with its many caves and intriguing indigenous pictographs and petroglyphs, as well as the world famous Bird Islands, where exotic birds fill the skies and rocky crags of the smaller islands.
Volunteer Requirements and Other Important Information
Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age by August 1, 2023
It is not necessary to speak Spanish, but if you have not had any previous Spanish classes or learned Spanish within your family, it’s a good idea to Google “Learning Spanish with YouTube” and go over (and over, and over) the free lessons; and you will also receive “Survival Spanish” classes on site
It’s important to know that there must be NO ALCOHOL NOR DRUGS ALLOWED, at any time while you are in the DR with Guanin, regardless of your age
Also, while you are in the DR, the Dominican government requires you to wear a mask and practice social distancing of six feet
You will be provided with 24 hours/7 days a week security
Once you have applied to be a volunteer for Guanin’s 2023 Summer Camp, “Community Leadership Program,” and have been accepted, you will be sent a list of what you should pack and bring with you to the camp, legal forms to sign and return to Guanin, and the links to the two Google Meet pre-departure orientations that will take place on, August 1 to August 26, 2023. There will also be intensive on-site orientations
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