Waseem grew up in Iraq, but had to flee to Amman. He now volunteers with Summer Camp.

Sunday morning marked the first day of CRP’s annual Summer Camp. Campers began the day with a trip to the soccer field, where they got to play and meet their new campmates. Then Summer Camp returned back to the Community Center for an afternoon art project.

CRP’s Summer Camp, open to children ages 5 to 14, meets every weekday throughout the summer. It educates children, both refugees and Jordanians, on teamwork and cooperation, all in a fun, open setting. Summer Camp also provides a valuable opportunity for Syrian, Iraqi, and Jordanian children to make friends outside their own communities. More than anything, though, Summer Camp gives children the chance to have fun and make new friends.

CRP’s Summer Camp couldn’t run without support from our volunteers, who help with camp activities and serve as role models for campers. Some of our volunteers come to CRP from abroad, mostly from the United States and Europe. Others are Jordanians, and some are refugees themselves.

Summer Camp volunteers go through training in preparation for the first day of camp.

“I just saw a lot of passion from the kids and from the adults,” says Waseem, a volunteer, “that was probably the best part.” Waseem, himself a refugee from Iraq, volunteers with many of our programs, including English Class, After-School Club, Zumba, and Summer Camp. This summer, he’s also taken on the role of Volunteer Coordinator, helping to organize the 50+ volunteers at CRP.

But even with his commitments at CRP, Waseem still finds time to volunteer. He recalls his time with CRP’s After-School Program this past spring. “I enjoyed the hands-on experience with the refugees, and I enjoyed actually meeting people and seeing their interests.”

Waseem also considers Summer Camp an opportunity to serve as a role model. He appreciates “the love I got from” participants in CRP’s programs. “Kids would give me a group hug,” he remembers, “and my English students wrote me this amazing message.”

Unlike Waseem, who lives in Amman, Jake came to CRP from the United States. Jake, a college student, had the summer off between college semesters, and he chose to volunteer with CRP. Most of his work involves Summer Camp. Just yesterday, he helped bring campers to the soccer field, and today he’s working with them on another art project.

Jake chose to live in Amman and volunteer with refugees for a number of reasons. Above all, he wants to help those impacted by conflict and displacement. But he also hopes to overcome what he calls a “lack of understanding between the Middle East and the American public.” He anticipates that his time at CRP will let him “exchange personal experiences” with members of the refugee community and build connections across cultures.

So far, Jake says he has “loved volunteering at CRP.” With Summer Camp just beginning, he looks forward to more rewarding experiences and more chances to help Amman’s refugee community.

Waseem and Jake come to CRP from different backgrounds, but both of them chose to volunteer their time with our Summer Camp. They, like all of our Summer Camp volunteers, ensure that refugee children enjoy a safe, educational, and fun summer.

Programs like Summer Camp mean a lot to their participants, but they can’t run without support. Please, help keep our programs strong and support CRP here.