Refugee Day Camp Brings North Texas Community Closer Together
Refugees from all over the world are coming to the United States for safety and security. According to statistics from 2016, Texas is the second-most refugee populated state in the nation. For these refugees, the United States represents a safe escape from harmful conditions in their home countries. While a stable environment is beneficial to these individuals, the intimidation of entering a new country, usually with no relatives or friends in the area, can be very stressful. With this in mind, Osky Blue chose to get involved with the local refugee population and found a fun and unique way to give back as the first sponsor of a summer day camp program.
At the beginning of the summer, we sponsored two weeks of a summer-long day camp for refugees in the North Texas area. This camp was organized by volunteers working with the Refugee Services of Texas. It is open to refugee children, teens, and mothers from a variety of countries including Rwanda, Kenya, Afghanistan, and Iran. While many of the children and teens were enrolled in local schools this past academic year, summer break left them confined to their homes with little to no extracurricular or social involvement in the community.
This day camp gives the children and their families an opportunity to have fun together without worrying about any of the costs or details usually involved in traditional summer camp programs. Hosted at a local church in Richardson, Texas, the camp provides a place where these refugees can come together with local residents to enjoy games like dodgeball, basketball, and tag. They also get to eat sweet American treats and make tons of new friends.
Though the primary focus of the camp is to provide refugee families with a safe place to have fun and interact with others in the community, it also provides educational benefits for campers and volunteers alike. Mothers and older teens are encouraged to participate in English-speaking practice activities while their children play. Refugee children have the opportunity to practice their English skills in a real-world setting, while also sharing their culture with the American children and adult volunteers in attendance.
“It was a great opportunity and very fun to see the similar interests we have with the other kids and how we could all come together and bond through sports and games. It didn’t matter that we didn’t all speak the same language or dress the same, we all still had fun.”
–Eric Hawkins, Senior, Lone Star High School in Frisco
Osky Blue values the North Texas community and we love giving back to those around us. Volunteering and sponsorship opportunities at the day camp are still available throughout the rest of summer. The majority of those involved in hosting and volunteering work with Refugee Services of Texas and all participants are required to pass a background check before beginning any service work at the camp. For more information about getting involved in projects such as this, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.