AL-BUSTAN CAMP 2012 delved into the travels of the 14th century traveler Ibn Battuta and his home country of Morocco. Arabic teacher Brahim Al-Guabli and Teaching Assistant Dania Bawadekji helped campers incorporate the Arabic language into their art-making during Teaching Artist Tremain Smith’s visual art class. This 11th summer of camp was a big hit, with 54 campers and a team of 8 teachers and 4 counselors.
We are most grateful for everyone who participated and attended the end-of-camp performance, and the special guests who came and shared something of their own culture, profession, and business with us: Argana Restaurant, Abdallah Tabet, Moussa Taifi, Khalil and Yasmina Bdeir
Teachers Brahim Al-Guabli and Tremain Smith worked to challenge the more advanced Arabic students to integrate visual and written art as a way to practice their language skills. The campers produced some wonderfully creative work which can be viewed below in scans of their illustrated Arabic stories.
Teens Making Videos
For the teen campers, half their day was spent in video-making with media educator Suzy Salamy who describes the process here:
This year’s teen video is called “Travelling the World by Standing Still.” The title embodies how we spent most of the three weeks of camp. We were fortunate this year to have students from around the globe: Sudan, Bangladesh, Haiti, Sierra Leone, Egypt, China, Guyana, and of course Philadelphia! Most of the youth are either recent immigrants or children of immigrants.
During our first week together, we concentrated on analyzing media and understanding the messages that we take in each day from movies, television, radio, magazines, and newspapers. Listening to each others’ stories helped foster cultural respect and understanding. We also learned that even with different histories, we all have shared experiences. During our second week, we worked hard on developing technical video shooting and editing skills. In our third week, we drew on our experiences together to create this film.
The video is shot in the style of a video diary. The youth came up with a list of questions they had for each other about traveling, identity, culture, and community. Then, each youth shared his or her true thoughts and feelings about each question while in a room by him- or herself with the camera. The result is an honest and sometimes painful, sometimes humorous exploration of what it is like to navigate our large, complex, diverse world.