Families from the Latin American Heritage Camp gave very generously to students in Guatemala this year. For one, seven new families signed on to sponsor students, bringing the total Common Hope sponsors at camp to 31. Then, families donated and packed thousands of school supplies for Common Hope students, as part of an activity where campers give back to their birth countries.
During the Family Fun Night at camp, children and their parents came together to pack 95 school supply kits for individual students. Each camper made a kit for a child and wrote a personalized note in English and Spanish to tuck in the kit. Families who sponsor made a personalized kit and note for their sponsored student. Besides the school supply kits, families collected 7,500 additional school supply items, including pencils, pens, markers, glue sticks, scissors, and crayons. It was a great show of support for the children and families that have so many ties between them.
The Latin American Heritage Camp in Colorado brings together adoptive families from across the United States to connect with the culture and traditions of their birth countries. Campers participate in activities like learning Spanish, attending Mayan cultural exhibits, and building alfombras, or traditional street carpets, out of colorful sawdust. Many families at the camp have ties to Guatemala, and the group has become a strong source of support for Common Hope as a result.
Marnie and Gabby Yanacheak were one of the families who participated. They were at the camp and then traveled to Guatemala afterward, packing as many of the school supplies as they could in their suitcases. The Yanacheaks learned about Common Hope in 2012, when Common Hope displayed photos of unsponsored students at the camp. They didn’t sponsor right away—Marnie says that Common Hope didn’t feel “real” to them yet. But last year, Marnie and Gabby visited Common Hope in Guatemala with a Vision Team of other Heritage Camp families. They were ready to sponsor a little boy named Elias then. Now, they sponsor a second student, an older girl named Mariana, who wants to be a teacher like Marnie.
At camp this year, Marnie and Gabby had the chance to share with other campers about last year’s Guatemala trip. Their firsthand experience surely contributed to the number of new sponsors who signed up at camp this year. “We are so appreciative that Gabby can have this experience with Common Hope,” says Marnie. “Common Hope is very family friendly, and that has made the trip down a safe, rewarding, and positive experience for us. And Guatemala is a beautiful place.”
Marnie and Gabby are just one example of the many camp families building ties of support, heritage, and hope with Guatemala. Many thanks to the families of the Latin American Heritage Camp for your support.