A number of summer camps throughout the country have been keeping school children busy during their vacations. However an organization called Belize Camping Experience gets busy throughout the year to raise funds for the camps they facilitate.  The non-profit, non-governmental, Christian organization based in Belize City.  Since it opened in 2006 it has been focusing on providing follow ups and camps especially to children in the City whom they believe can help influence the rest of the country.  Director of BCE Alexander Perez told Love News what these camps are all about

ALEXANDER PEREZ, Director of BCE

“The works that we do at BCE is the main one like I said the follow up but the camp plays a big role into it.  Right now as I speak there are camps happening.  Our goal is to reach one thousand kids and the camp is very very simple for us.  We have chapels where we sing a lot of silly songs with the kids and then we go into devotional we teach them scriptures and then we go right into games and then we go quality time with our councilors.  We recruit councilors from all over the country but before they come and work with us for the summer they have to be trained by BCE so that they know the expectations that we have from them.  So at the end of our lunch we give them food and we give them a good snack and a lot of games.  If you have games and you get those kids tired then at the end of the day you can get five minutes from them, their expansion span is very small.  We do the camps for three days from 8:30 to 3:30 just like a regular day of school.”

NATALIE NOVELO, Reporter

“So how do you select the children that you have attending these camps?”

ALEXANDER PEREZ, Director of BCE

“The selection happens with our follow ups so we work – right now we are working currently with four schools.  We go into the school and we say okay we want to work along with you guys.  We want to do a camp for you guys a the end of the school year but you guys can allow us to do follow us just like the gang leaders who are hanging out every day in the streets, we want to be that role model for our kids.  We go in there every week, twice a month.  It all depends on the school how much time they can let us in to the school but we usually go on chapels, we usually go on class time.  We have two clowns, peanut butter and jelly, where we get them in to the schools and get the kids fire up to know that BCE care for them but then we have other volunteers that come and help us do these follow up programs.”

NATALIE NOVELO, Reporter

“Would you say that you are focus when you into the schools, is it more on children that live in problems areas or children that might be more affected by others in the society?”

ALEXANDER PEREZ, Director of BCE

“We focus a lot on the south side that is where our focus is.  The school that needs help we can partner with them but of course we cannot do every one so as BCE is growing we – as we are growing we need more finances so we can partner with these schools but our strategic is very simple.  We believe that it is about building relationship with that kid that breaks it down there.  If we can build a relationship with them then they have a choice to either become like us or become like the guys who are giving trouble out there.  There are a lot of kids that will be here this summer and those kids can eat a lot, they need snacks and that is where the building for kids project came in last year.  Many of the people in Belize bought tickets from us, every ticket that they bought sponsored a child to follow programs and camps and that money from building for kids is what we are using right now for summer camp and that’s why we have the availability for that because we work a year in advance.”       

The camps are held from week to week at different schools and according to Perez the camps are very successful.  This year however, BCE is embarking on its biggest fundraiser yet, and it is called Harvest for Kids which Perez says is an opportunity give to the entire country of Belize

ALEXANDER PEREZ, Director of BCE

“What Harvest for Kids is all about is challenging the farmer first. We went to the farmer and we ask the farmer to give us his land, his machinery and his expertise. And we are going to partner with them with the community to raise for fertilizer for seeds and chemicals. So what the farmer has to do is donate to us his land and so seven months ago we started this project and we were very successful to get our first 20 acres in Orange Walk which is right behind Laminai  Maya Ruin and so what the farmer really like is that he knows that he is not going to do all the work but we are giving the opportunity to the Creole the Spanish to the people who are selling garnaches to donate they can donate a sack of seeds fertilizer chemical  and then the farmer comes and he put that’s all together and then he plants that and that corn now belongs to Harvest for Kids Belize to do the camps and follow up programs. One of the most interesting thing is that we have 20 acres growing in Orange Walk and we also have 20 acres growing in Banana Bank which is in the Cayo area. So in total we have 40 acres growing for Harvest for Kids right now as am speaking.”

NATALIE NOVELO, Reporter

“So at this time you still are in need of donation for what area specifically?

ALEXANDER PEREZ, Director of BCE

“Yes we have needs, like I said we have to find funding for the seed and the fertilizer and for each sack of seed cost us $120. Each acre takes 1 half sack and so what we need to do is to raise over 40 half sack seeds and so we want to ask the people that they can make a contribution.  $120 for seed, fertilizer is $380 and so we need 40 sack of fertilizer of rare fertilizer and different kind of fertilizer that the plant takes.”

NATALIE NOVELO, Reporter

“The day of the harvest what is expected?”

ALEXANDER PEREZ, Director of BCE

“The day of the harvest is going to be exciting.  We want people to come.  Right now we don’t have the definite date for October but the day of the harvest people are going to see something that they have never seen in Belize.  What we are doing in Orange Walk and Bananas Bank, we want 15 to 10 combines on the filed on the day of the harvest.  That means that if we put 15 combines in the 20 acres field we will be harvesting that field in probably 12 minutes.  One corn is coming out of one side and the trash is coming out of one side.  You are going to see machines working simultaneously when we say one, two, three those farmers will just harvest and a t the same time we can teach our kids that these camps are not done by pulling money off a money tree but people have worked hard, people have worked hard to donate a sack of seed and fertilizers so that they can understand that if they don’t work they will not harvest.”

Perez explained that the farmers planted ahead of time in order to have the crops ready to harvest but BCE still needs the money to reimburse the expenses for seed and fertilizer.  If people help in donating those, Perez says they might be looking at twenty seven thousand dollars in profit to be used for camps and follow ups next year.  If you wish to donate you can call 621-5541.

LOVEFM