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Children enjoy fun, learning at Camp Latino...¡Ole!

Published: 
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Teamwork gets the job done. PHOTOS: JUAN GARCIA

According to Spain’s Cervantes Institute, an organisation created by the Spanish government to spread the language and culture, Spanish is the world’s second most used language for international communication and is the third most common language used on the Internet. 

To equip the young people of T&T with the communication skills that would enable them to interact across borders, the blink- bmobile Foundation partnered with the Foreign Language Development Association (FLADA) to host Camp Latino...¡Olé!

The blink | bmobile Foundation assisted in making it possible for 70 participants to be able to benefit from Camp Latino...¡Ole!́’s simulated full Latin American experience, a release said. 

“This programme focuses on the development of the youth, and projects like this are at the heart of the foundation’s core, so supporting this initiative was a natural fit for the foundation,” said Graeme Suite, blink-bmobile’s acting head, Public Relations and External Affairs. 

Suite added, “Camp Latino aims to enrich the nation’s youth by educating them using fun interactive tools. Preparing our young people today by teaching them the skills they need to succeed, strengthens their foundation which is key to them and the nation having a solid future.”

Camp Latino...¡Olé! provided an interactive cultural experience where children ranging from three to 15 were given a holistic exposure to Latin culture. From July 28 to August 15, attendees gathered daily at the Eshe’s Learning Centre, Woodbrook, where they communicated in Spanish with their peers and their instructors, many of whom speak Spanish as their native language. 

Each morning began with a greeting in Espanol as well as a video which set the tone for that day’s themes such as Amor/Love, Respeto/Respect, Honestidad/Honesty, Amistad/Friendship and Libertad/Freedom. Afterwards the children were instructed as to what activities they would face for the day and then put into groups.

Participants were challenged to complete activities which varied in difficulty and scope as they were all exposed to different facets of Spanish culture. They engaged in art and craft, sports, Latin dancing, theatre and Latin food preparation. 

Children were also taught presentation skills as they had to display in Spanish how they dealt with the challenges to their peers. The older campers were given the added bonus of a workshop on achieving their goals and dreams. 

Reinforcing ethics and values in children also played a major part of the camp experience.

FLADA, founded in 2012, also hosted other Spanish programmes with the aim of equipping students to effectively communicate in Spanish. Nekeisha Marshall, executive director of FLADA, stated, “Our goal is to create bilingual professionals who can apply their local skills to international markets.”

Marshall said FLADA wanted to help young minds excel at their own skills and expand their opportunities through second language education.

The camp has had a positive effect on the students who participated. Remarking on her experience, Zaire Abraham, a student from St Francois Girls’ College, said, “Before attending Camp Latino...¡Olé! I wasn’t very interested in Spanish but my experience there has increased my desire to learn it. Taking part in the activities also helped me understand the culture and will also help us remember what we learnt. It’s a fun way to learn.”