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Another successful year at Art Camp!  92 children from La Limonada attended this year’s Art Camp at the beach in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala.

La Limonada, home to these children, is one of the largest slums in Central America.  It is also home to gang violence, drugs, extreme poverty and lack of opportunity.  This weeklong Art Camp led the kids on a journey to realize their value in Christ and find healing for their hearts through art.  The camp’s stark contrast to life in La Limonada allows the children a unique opportunity to be free, think creative and heal.
Athentikos joined Lemonade International and Vidas Plenas for this year’s camp. In all, there almost 50 adults that served together as leaders, counselors, teachers, psychologists, game & music leaders and more!  ValorArte, the name of this year’s camp, is a play on words in Spanish. “Valor” means “To Value”… and “Arte” means “Art”… but the word “Valorarte” means “Value Yourself”.  The focus of this year’s Art Camp was to understand our individual value to ourselves, our community and to God.
Athentikos oversaw and staffed the Art Classes & Art Show. Several new teachers joined the Athentikos team this year.  Two friends from the Voz de Las Calles Event and Becoming Fools joined us for Valor Arte.  Alfonso Ralda and Tamagochy, both professional entertainers in Guatemala, shared their knowledge and love with the children.  Other new members Marcela, Tina and Sara added to the mix of creative energy of ValorArte with their talents.  Amelia, Ericha and Darlene were back to teach and continue relationships with our dear friends. Here’s a photo of our teacher team:

The addition of Guatemala teachers to Art Camp was a hit!! Both Tamagochy and Alfonso developed great relationships with the children, and were begged to do several impromptu performances/lessons throughout the day and an encore performance at night.  And as always the kids enjoyed the creative outlet given to them in each class and activity.

At ValorArte we swam, danced, yelled, eat, sang, played, painted, drew, created, acted and ran for 6 days and 5 nights at El Faro, a beautiful missionary resort in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala.  Each student participated in 2 art classes throughout the week; building upon skills they learned from day-to-day.  Classes at ValorArte were music, mime, drawing/painting, collage, recycled materials creation and drama. In addition, the kids participated in open LEGO building and games each afternoon and evening group activities.

This year, the Art Camp team concentrated on the involvement of psychologists into the schedule of the camp.  Throughout the day, each child wrote in a journal to reflect and respond on their feeling and thoughts while at camp and while healing and processing their experiences.  Throughout the week, the psychologists, teachers and others who work year-round with the kids in La Limonada continually expressed their joy in watching the kids play and learn in a healthy environment surrounded by people who loved them.  They were overjoyed watching the kids as they began to understand their value in God.

After a week of learning and creating, we returned to Guatemala City.  The Art Camp team set up an Art Show in the city for the kids to present their masterpieces of art and theater to their family and friends.

Thank you to all of the teachers, psychologists, counselors, volunteers, sponsors, supporters and kids for a GREAT Art Camp 2012! And a HUGE THANK YOU to LEGO for providing a grant and the individual partners that made this opportunity possible so the children could attend the camp for FREE! We pray that funds will be raised to allow us to give kids from La Limonada this amazing opportunity again next year.

PS. I (Amelia) just finished inserting photos into Ericha’s awesome write-up and I feel the need to add a note… It’s super tough to share just a handful of photos to convey all that happened during this amazing week. Please know that these words and images are only a small highlight of the overall experience and impact!! (Plus I only have half the photos from the week) So, we hope to share more in the next several weeks!

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