Camp Akili bound - Anticipating a Liberating Experience

>> Monday, August 23, 2010

After a fantastic (terrific/great) summer teaching at Oakland Freedom School, I'm super juiced that Camp Akili 2010 is here. And I am honored to be a part of it.

"Camp Akili offers interactive exercises that teach participants about the root causes of social inequality, cultivating their abilities to identify and solve problems in their communities. It is an annual, five-day residential camp that takes place out of the city. At camp, teens are assigned to “nations” that facilitate peer learning, youth leadership opportunities, and conflict resolution. The teens form strong bonds with each other and their counselors as they experience psychological, emotional, and spiritual healing on such topics as racism, sexism, internalized oppression, and economic disenfranchisement."
Camp Akili is a one week camp that trains Black youth 14-18 to identify and challenge systems of violence, racism, and sexism. It is a radical experiential healing camp that truly transforms young people's lives.

It is also transformative for adults.

In 2007, I volunteered as a Camp Counselor. Not only did experience train me to be a better youth development professional, but provided some healing for a number of issues I was dealing with in my personal life.

It also led to me being fired by the Alameda Boys and Girls Club for "job abandonment," for the three days I was attending camp. Even though I'd received permission from the site director to attend.

After being in an intense environment where young people were loved, staff supported one another and went through painstaking, sleep depriving debriefs -- in order work harmoniously together -- it was ultimately the best thing for my health. Although I'm always sad to hear the young men and women I worked with tell me they no longer go to a Center in their own housing complex and community -- and disgusted by some of the fraudulent things I've seen -- I know that there are organizations and people that really care about our youth.

Besides, if I'd never been fired, I would've never got the Peralta EasyPass program with AC Transit started. I would've never helped organized the 10th Annual Black Caucus Leadership Conference (ABCLC). I would've never been able to organize on behalf of the California Community Colleges UMOJA movement.

Most importantly, I would've never become a journalist. I would've never became Editor-in-Chief of the Laney Tower newspaper, expanded the Harambee Newspaper beyond a newsletter and blog, restarted the Laney Black Student Union (Laney BSU) and launched it's newsletter, The Defender or The Black Hour Radio Show.

Programs like Camp Akili help students recognize their innate African greatness and utilize that strength and talent to uplift ourselves, our families and our communities.

I'll write more about Camp Akili when I return August 27. Until then, this 2006 Camp Akili clip should let you know how I feel.



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Insight into my daily regimen. Obviously of a different specimen. Me, myself & I. So fly. Welcome to the Daily Regiment.

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