Rumman, Warda, Laimun, Zubaida…
These are just a few of the words our campers learned this summer at Al-Bustan Camp 2016. From June 27 to July 1 at the Cobbs Creek Community Environmental Education Center, our amazing youth learned from the teachers, counselors, and one another. Campers left at the end of the week with bottles of rosewater they distilled, an expanded Arabic vocabulary, and, more importantly, a set of new friends from a range of cultural backgrounds.
Each day was packed with learning, cross-cultural engagement, exploring the environment in and around the CCCEEC, and having fun. In the art class, Lisa Volta led campers in crafting their own paint and paintbrushes out of flowers and branches, and decorated faience amulets with patterns from the plants throughout Cobbs Creek. In the science class, also taught by Lisa, campers distilled rosewater, infused oil with calendula, and learned how to use a variety of plants to help their personal health—they now know multiple ways to treat a wound or calm an upset stomach. In Arabic class, Brahim El Guabli taught the Arabic alphabet, numbers, and some everyday expressions, while more experienced Arabic language learners also studied advanced vocabulary and grammatical concepts. Master Percussionist Hafez Kotain explained the essential percussion sounds (dum, tak, tika) and arranged a percussion piece for the percussion class, while in the singing class he taught them Fil-Bustan , a song about the many things we find in the orchard/garden.
This fast-paced week of learning and fun would not have been possible without our amazing teachers and dedicated staff and counselors (the latter group is composed mostly of former campers!) – Shukran!
We are grateful for University of Pennsylvania’s Middle East Center and The Philadelphia Cultural Fund’s support of this program.
Take a look at these photos and the Flickr album to see the wonderful activities from camp.