Camp! It just might be the most exciting week of the year for our kids at the City of Youth in Campinas. All 90 of them are bused to a beautiful ranch with a swimming pool and soccer field and plenty of space for games and crafts. For some, it will be the first time in their lives that they’ve been out of the city, and for all of them it’s a unique time of bonding—with each other, with the staff and with the American teams who are coming to help.
On arrival, they divide themselves into teams. The older kids are the team leaders, and they rotate choosing their team members—very strategically because points will be accumulated for each team throughout the week and, while there are many prizes, the ultimate prize for the winning team is candy at camp, followed by an outing for ice cream when they get back to Campinas. So they have been thinking about who they want on their team, and they will start by selecting the Brazilian kids they know. Then they will choose from the Americans they have been carefully “sizing up.” Every American will be praying that he or she won’t be the last one chosen! In the end, you have a rainbow of excited teams in brightly colored t-shirts, ready and raring to go!
Pastor Derli will have decided on a theme for the week, one which will point them to God. Many of our kids have had problematic relationships with their fathers, ranging from challenging to abusive to non-existent, so allowing God the Father into their lives can be difficult. For many, this week will be their first real encounter with God.
The days are long. Wake-up is at 7:30 for breakfast and daily devotions, followed by games and crafts. Then lunch and an afternoon of more activities. Each evening after dinner, the kids gather for chapel, which includes worship music and a message. Then more activities until they are exhausted and fall into bed, “hopefully” by midnight!
Two teams are coming from the U.S. to assist with leadership: 12 people from Menlo Park Presbyterian Church and 15 from Princeton Alliance Church. The PAC team is being led by Deanna Munoz and Dayane DeHart, who is joined by her husband Alex. Camp holds a very special place in the hearts of Dayane and Alex. They met 8 years ago when Alex was leading the PAC team and, as Dayane says, he pursued Dayane (who was on the Hope Unlimited staff) relentlessly all week! They are excited to be going back with their two children, Tyler (3) and Isaac (10 months).
Laura Becker-Lewke and Monyque Silva Teixeira are leading the Menlo Park team. Laura is the Executive Director – US Operations for Hope Unlimited for Children, and this is her 11th trip to Brazil. This is the third summer that Menlo Park is sending a team to Brazil, and Laura is very excited about the opportunity. Monyque is Brazilian and has lived in the US for a few years, both working and studying. She has been on the last two trips with Menlo Church and is delighted to be co-leading with Laura this year.
For a complete list of all of our church partners, click here.