Campers began their day with an exercise called "Roses and Thorns." The campers were asked what their "roses" (positive aspects of the week), "thorns" (negative aspects of the week), and "buds" (things they look forward to) are. Many campers named meeting new people and making new friends as their "roses," and said that waking up early and the Georgia heat were their "thorns." As for their "bud," it seems that almost every camper is looking forward to chelo kabob tonight!
After "Roses and Thorns," the campers utilized their new "active listening" skills during a presentation by Hossein Samei, a Persian Language professor at Emory University. We all learned something new today, as Professor Samei taught us some of the latest Farsi vernacular, such as "end-eshe" (extremely cool), panasonic" (pretty girl), "cactus" (police) and then discussed how many English words come from the Farsi language: khaki, from "khaaki"; paradise, from "ferdows"; cumberbund from "kamarband." This lesson in linguistics gave us all a new sense of pride and appreciation for the Persian language.
After lunch, the campers had a short free time period which they used to play soccer, frisbee, and socialize. Then, they all came together for a presentation by Mahdis Keshavarz, founder and Principal of The Make Agency. Mahdis conducted an exercise with them aimed at emphasizing their cultural identity in the larger American society, asking all the campers to stand up while she asked them a series of questions ranging from "are you hairier than all of your friends?" to "do you ever wish you were blond and blue eyed?" Campers were instructed to take a step forward whenever their answer was yes; if their answer was no, then they did not move. The exercise physically showed the campers how similar they are; in the end, they were all standing in almost the same formation as they began, meaning they took their steps together.
After the presentation by Ms. Keshavarz, the campers broke up into their club groups again, except today the campers could choose which club they attended. The clubs included music and movement, poetry and literature, public health/law, theater/improv, photography and film-making.
Once the clubs were over, the Team Challenge began. It is Camp Ayandeh tradition to host a sort of battle between counselor groups in the form of an obstacle course. This year was no exception, as Camp Ayandeh staff put together an obstacle course involving "mummifying" (wrapping one team member in toilet paper) and bobbing for apples. Rivalries ran deep and competition was high. The end goal of it all, though, was to have fun, and that goal was certainly achieved. All the campers were rewarded with a very yummy chelo kabob dinner spread upon their arrival to the dorms!
When all the chelo kabob was gone, IAAB held a special ceremony for our 16 graduating seniors: our own version of a graduation. Counselors took turns introducing each graduating senior, who then came up to accept their card and many hugs amidst a rambunctious crowd chanting their name and clapping. There were many laughs and some tears, but we made it through the ceremony and ended on a happy note - which was a wonderful segway into what seems to be our nightly ritual - bezan-o-beraghs!!
Read more on Camp Ayandeh's blog.
About Camp Ayandeh: IAAB's third annual Iranian-American Camp for rising high school sophomores to graduating high school seniors, is being held June 22-28, 2008 at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Far from being simply a camp of leisure and recreation, Camp Ayandeh creates a positive, inclusive environment in which each camper has the opportunity to grow and develop. The camp curriculum is composed of challenging and interactive programs in community building, with a focus on exploring Iranian cultural heritage and Iranian-American identity.
Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB) is a volunteer organization with a young dedicated staff spread across the United States, Europe and Iran. Established in 2003 by students at Wellesley College and Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, Iranian Alliances Across Borders is a 501c3 non-profit, non-political, and non-religious organization that addresses issues of the Iranian diaspora by facilitating community building, developing ways to better understand what it means to be part of a diaspora community, and helping members of the Iranian diaspora community enhance connections with their new communities as well as maintain connections with their root community.
... Payvand News - 06/27/08 ... --