|Kickapoo Boys & Girls Club in
Volunteers have converged from
around the world on the Kickapoo reservation in Kansas for a
special summer program. The Kickapoo Boys & Girls Club is
hosting members of the Volunteers for Peace organization from
eight countries: Germany, South Korea, Belgium, Spain, Northern
Ireland, Japan, Romania and England for two weeks as part of
the Club's summer program.
The program will benefit the Club members, volunteers and
the community. Executive Director, Kristine Darnell's hope
is to expand everyone's horizons by exposing them to new cultures,
traditions and ways of life.
"This program is focused on cultural diversity and global
education. It will show the kids life off the rez and give
them an opportunity to appreciate other cultures," she
explained. "In addition, participants in the Volunteers
for Peace workcamp will learn a lot about the Kickapoo tribe
and our culture."
Volunteers will support the staff in executing the Club's
summer program for 150 youth. Each volunteer will also have
a learning session with the kids to teach them about their
country, culture and language.
"I have asked that each volunteer present a lesson and
bring photos or items to show the kids to help them learn
about their country. Volunteers are also responsible for making
a meal from their homeland for the kids to try."
Kristine was especially excited when she reviewed the bios
of this select group of volunteers. Not only do they have
the knowledge to demonstrate their culture - such as a South
Korean volunteer who can make fans and play the traditional
flute - they also have specific nonprofit experience working
in areas such as creating programs, child development and
The Club has also organized learning experiences for the
volunteers. Among these are a welcoming community potlatch,
a tour of the community with Club members, participation at
a pow wow and a dinner with the tribal elders. Parents of
Club members will make them dinners of traditional food such
as corn soup and fry bread. There are also field trip plans
to take volunteers off the reservation to visit other communities
including a Mexican fiesta in Topeka and a Korean museum in
Kristine worked with Volunteers for Peace previously and
chuckles at the cultural learning curves.
"Some volunteers were terrified of the lightning and
thunderstorms that roll across these lands. And it was very
funny to watch their (the volunteers) facial expressions when
they tried new foods!"
She looks forward to listening to members of the Kickapoo
Boys & Girls Club share their stories of this international
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