The 4H/CHL Kagman Summer Camp camp—which concluded last week—was the first camp of its kind held in the Kagman area, according to DYS administrator Vivian Sablan.
She said through NMC’s leadership, the camp’s first year “turned out really good,” as 30 children signed up, with an average of 20 showing up each day for three weeks.
The camp led kids through physical activities such as hula hoop and obstacle courses, as well as arts and crafts, with mwarmwars, beads, masks and posters made by the children, according to Tanya Belyeu-Camacho, a program coordinator at NMC.
She said PSS’ Food and Services provide the children with breakfast and lunch everyday.
Polly Omechelang, NMC’s 4H extension agent who helped lead the camp, said their motto is to “make the best better.”
She said that the camp was a pilot program and said she would like to see more camps and more youth as they try to help youth grow to become better citizens.
She pointed to the “awesome” youth leaders who helped run the camp.
Robert Suzuki Jr., NMC student president of the 4H club, said he loves working with children and has been participating in programs and activities like these since before his freshman year in high school.
“In my first year, I wasn’t really into the idea of working with kids, but then as I started working with them it really motivated me to major in [rehabilitation and human services],” he said.
Suzuki is currently an NMC student in his second year. Another leader, 4H club’s treasurer, Jenella Nelmida, a high school senior at MHS, said she enjoys teaching the children “skills and the values of life.”
“We learn from the kids as much as they learn from us,” she said.
The two leaders said part of their work includes team-building, one-on-one conversations with the kids, and being patient and sensitive to their needs.
“I think we bring [the children] out of their shells, or we help them guide them towards a better path,” she said.
“We have one-on-conversations with the kids. They tell us their problems, if they’re being bullied at school. We try to help them figure out a way to [solve their problems],” Suzuki added.
Omechelang described the youth leaders as “really good with kids,” as the children are more comfortable with them than older adults.
“They are awesome. They blend well with the kids and the kids relate to them,” she said.
Suzuki said he wants to “help the kids grow into our future leaders,” but added that the camp gives opportunities not only for kids but for older youth as well who want to volunteer.
“We actually want to open up an opportunity for high school students. They need community service hours, we want to help them also,” he said.