2015-04-20

By Mary DuBard, AmeriCorps Member, Comcast NBC Universal Sponsored Team,
Serving at Bakersville Elementary School

Camp City Year was an amazing experience for everyone involved, but the event couldn’t happen without a lot of work. I was lucky enough to be on the leadership team for Camp, specifically serving alongside three fellow AmeriCorps members on the Operations team. We were in charge of all of the supplies for camp, from paperclips used to create salt rock formations to soda cans that transformed into mallets for croquet. In addition, we also had to provide 4 days of snacks for 150 students. 

Camp City Year is run on a tiny budget and a lot of community support, so most of our work was asking local businesses and restaurants for in-kind donations. All of them were so generous! We received several gift cards from grocery stores and wholesale stores like Hannaford, Market Basket, Costco, BJs, and Target. We also received snacks for every day, such as the traditional African dishes moimoi (bean cake) and puffpuffs (fried dough) donated from the Peace Restaurant, or South American dishes like refried beans and rice provided by El Rincon. Because the camp theme was City Air: Embrace your Adventure, every day of camp was continent-themed. We did our best to also have the food themed to the location students were “visiting” that day. At the Peace Restaurant, the owner Deinma Marshall told us that, “we are here to help each other.” This was such an amazing thing to hear from a local restaurant owner, especially one who donated two different snacks for 150 campers.

Of course, all of our work came together the week of camp. The week was exhausting and exhilarating all at once! From helping make salt dough minutes before the class started to handing out snacks, there was never a dull moment. However, seeing reactions to the snacks was one of my favorite moments. When the kids received their snacks, their faces ranged from surprised to excited, but every single one of them tried the food. They were able to experience foods from four different continents throughout the course of the week. In fact, one of the students told me he wanted to create an ice cream that was puff-puff flavored! Puff-puffs are similar to doughnuts, a traditional African snack, which the students tried during the week. Seeing students go out of their comfort zones and try the new food made all of the long hours and phone calls worth it. Thank you to all of the donors who made this week possible!

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