This is a guest post by Ricky Planas, a CHACA 2017 Counselor.
I had the recent opportunity to be a counselor at Camp CHACA, an experience that reshaped my attitude, opinions, and my Peace Corps service. I was one of the two counselors leading the black team or the “Caballeros de Negro” as they called themselves and had the privilege of imparting a lesson or “charla” dealing with paternity and responsibility. This was one of the most rewarding experiences during my service so far.
I have never participated in any type of summer camp style event, so this was a first. Every aspect of the camp was a learning experience. My black team had 5 boys from the older category, we shared the same bunk, and I was with them for most of the camp. While I do teach to many tenth and eleventh grade students, I have never had one on one time like this. It was a challenge dealing with 5 teenage boys but well worth it in the end.
The most memorable night was probably the last night. After 4 days of trying to keep them in line, getting them up for breakfast, making sure they got from point a to point b, seeing to it that they behave, and that they participate during the charlas, I relaxed a little. It was after 10, which was lights out, but instead we played a common Nicaraguan card game together. They asked me questions about my life, what the states are like, and what I like to do. After we all went to bed, we told scary stories and they shared different scary legends and lore about Nicaragua.
As I mentioned before, CHACA had a big role in reshaping many things in my life. My attitude towards the male youth in this country, which from my experiences in the classroom have been rough, turned to a more positive outlook. I was re-energized to go back to class and interact with students from my town. I also became more positive in what I have accomplished during my service and how much I have grown as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
Peace Corps Nicaragua EEP 67
Camp CHACA 2017 Counselor