SPAIN: Salesian Summer Camps and Tours Benefit 18,000 Youth in Madrid and Surrounding Communities
(MissionNewswire) Close to 18,000 young children and older youth will benefit from this year’s Salesian summer camps. These events are organized by 2,500 leaders and 350 Salesian missionaries in Madrid and the surrounding areas. Salesian missionaries, through youth centers in Spain and around the globe, offer educational and recreational activities that keep youth engaged and focused on learning. The camps are also open to and focused on youth most in need. Many attend schools and programs run by Salesian missionaries year-round.
While other educational institutions close for the summer, the Salesian centers organize activities for youth who might not have another chance at a fun and active summer holiday. These activities would not be possible without the many leaders engaged in setting up and facilitating the activities. For many leaders, this is real chance to gain some hands-on volunteer experience.
The summer training camps bring together youth from many different faiths, and it is an opportunity for them to learn from one another. Traditionally the summer camps are held in places around the country with a special natural environment. In some cases, Salesian missionaries opt for outdoor camping and sometimes the youth are accommodated in country houses. Leisure and games are combined with times of prayer and reflection, always in a friendly atmosphere. In more urban areas, activities are held on the Salesian grounds and are aimed at the general public, especially for young families who cannot travel away from their homes. Traditional recreation activities, sports and education programs are typically offered.
“All youth deserve a chance to have an enjoyable summer vacation, and Salesian programs provide a time when youth can relax with their peers and engage in safe activities,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “The programs provide much more than just recreational activities. There is an educational component to each program. Even the sports programs teach teamwork, skill building and problem solving. These programs also provide a chance for our youth leaders to practice their skills outside of the classroom.”
Salesian programs have provided information on all the summer activities they are facilitating in Spain on social media. Participants will be using the hashtag #VeranoSalesiano (Salesian summer) to share the unforgettable experience they will have during the holidays.
Hard hit by the current economic troubles in Europe, Spain now has the greatest inequality of the 27 countries of the European Union. According to the World Bank, close to 25 percent of Spanish workers are unemployed and a growing number of them can’t afford to buy enough food to live. One in five citizens is living below the poverty line and poor youth with few employable skills struggle the most to find and retain stable employment.
Salesian missionaries have been working for many years to provide educational and workforce development opportunities for poor youth and women in Spain through residential and technical and vocational training programs.
“Salesian programs have always grown and adapted their programs to best fit the needs of the communities in which they serve whether through education, technical training or social development programs that help youth gain the confidence, strength and perseverance to set goals in life and achieve them,” adds Fr. Hyde.
World Bank – Spain