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SPAIN: Salesian Summer Programs Provide Educational, Recreational Activities for Close to 18,000 Youth

(MissionNewswire) Salesian programs across Spain provided summer camps and tours for close to 18,000 youth during the school break in Spain. The summer activities were organized by 2,500 youth leaders and 350 Salesian staff. When school breaks for the summer in Spain thousands of youth enjoy a well-deserved break. While many educational institutions close for the summer, Salesian youth centers offer educational and recreational activities for children and older youth.

For many, Salesian programs offer the only chance youth have for activities over the summer. These initiatives would not be possible without the hundreds of youth leaders involved. The summer programs offer both youth a chance to enjoy safe, recreational activities but it also allows for older youth volunteer leaders to have hands-on training for the summer preparing activities, organizing the programs, and overseeing the youth participating.

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 change 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 though provide much more than just recreational activities. There is an educational component to each program. Even the sports programs teach team work, 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.

Spain, which has been hit hard by the current economic troubles in Europe, 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 are living below the poverty line. Poor youth with too few employable skills struggle the most to find and retain stable employment.

Salesian missionaries in Spain have been working for many years to provide educational and workforce development opportunities for poor youth and women 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.



ANS – Spain – More than 18,000 young people participate in Salesian Summer activities

World Bank – Spain