The Division of Youth Services concluded the first session of its Summer Youth Empowerment Camp last Friday, July 23, at the Kagman Community Center with outdoor fun and games for its 50 participants and 30 volunteers.
The camp’s first session was a two-week summer camp for participants from the ages of 5-12. From July 12 to 23, camp participants took part in many activities that DYS hoped would get the children active and leave them with valuable life skills.
According to federal program coordinator for DYS Jennifer Tanaka, camp participants were treated to various sports and recreational activities; “hula fitness”; presentations from the Joeten-Kiyu Public Library and the CNMI Public School System; an art project using recycled materials hosted by the CNMI Arts Council; field trips to places like the NMI Museum, Suicide Cliff, Kalabera Cave, Last Command Post, and Banzai Cliff; and many more.
Tanaka said that DYS holds summer camps annually, and the focus this year was on getting the camp participants outdoors and active as a break from the increase in online classes, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tanaka also said the summer camps are meaningful opportunities for partnering agencies to come out and teach the camp participants valuable life skills such as team-building, how to healthily deal with stress, and how to handle bullying.
DYS’ second session of its summer camp will be for the 13-17 age group, and will run from July 26 to Aug. 6.
The partnering agencies that helped make both summer camp sessions possible are the Interact and Rotaract Clubs of Saipan, the Joeten-Kiyu Public Library, PSS, CNMI Arts Council, NMI Museum, Northern Marianas Protection and Advocacy Systems, Inc., Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance, Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.’s Systems of Care, and Historic Preservation Office.
For the second session, the Northern Marianas Technical Institute will be included as a partner, as the 13-17-year-old camp participants will tour the NMTI facility and learn more about the possibility of pursuing a trade in the future.