Twelve children who arrived in Idaho as refugees will will join 12 who were born in the United States to celebrate the end of a unique two-week camp Friday with drumming and a cultural event.
The Boise Parks and Recreation International Summer Program offers a pair of two-week sessions for these multicultural campers. The program helps them get to know each other, learn about different cultures, themselves and the community in and around Boise. Countries of origin include Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burma, Burundi, Eretria, Rwanda, Congo, and the United States.
Activities include dancing, cooking food from around the world, visiting the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial, touring the State Capitol and, of course, floating the Boise River.
“Through the program, youth are empowered to become active members of the community,” according to a Parks and Recreation news release. “For example, each group participated in a mock City Council meeting and played roles as the mayor, city council members and citizens, and then made a budget decision.”
The program has received international recognition as a “best practice” for immigrant integration from Cities of Migration and was featured on a webinar with city representatives from all over the globe. Here’s a profile of the program.
In addition to reaching youth, the program incorporates leadership from the refugee community:
- Co-instructor Kibrom Milash is a teacher from Eritrea who arrived in Boise this spring through the refugee resettlement program
- Bassam Philip Bansit, an artist from Iraq, spent a morning with each camp teaching pottery
- Bhima Devi Bhandari from Bhutan led the children in a story-quilt activity with Artisans for Hope.
- Lead instructor Anna Tovar grew up in Idaho, graduated from BSU and has experience teaching English and working with youth.
Here’s the information on Friday’s activities:
When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday
Where: Pioneer Neighborhood Community Center, 500 Ash St. (off River Street)
What: Noon drumming with Global Lounge at 11 a.m.; Cultural celebration with friends and family at 3 p.m.