The Girls go camping!


The Girl Guides Camp at Ladies College Colombo; The Sri Lanka Girl Guides Association organised a six day Camp for the Differently Abled Girl Guides from 11th August to 17th August at Ladies College Colombo.


Dayamina, Meth Mihira and Supem Uyana sent in ten guides each from their guide companies to take part in the camp. Ms Marlene Dissanayake, the Director Differently Abled Guides, Sri Lanka and Ms Nirmali Fernando, the camp Chief had done a superb job in organising the camp and they camped in along with these special young guides right through the six days of the camp. Each group was of course accompanied by their guiders, teachers and there was a group of very dedicated and caring guides who had come from all over the island to camp in along with the differently abled guides.


The girls were highly excited and awaited the camp with great expectations. They showed great ability in preparing and packing their clothes and other items required for the camp. Some even phoned each other to make sure that they had not forgotten small items like a hat or an apron that were required according to the list sent in by the guider. The build up for the camp was "normal" like for any other guide : all the basic human emotions of a teen ager leaving home to share camp with known friends and new friends they were going to meet.

As parents we accompanied the Sisters and staff to make sure that all their stuff was carried to the camp site and the girls were settled in. The initial anxiety we had was soon allayed when we saw the many helpers, young volunteers and senior guide staff from Head Quarters and the Colombo branch waiting to welcome the guides and register them into the camp. Everything seemed well organised and the girls felt at home and so we left them in the good care of the senior staff and their own guiders.


There was an open day for visitors on 14th August and seeing the guides completely engrossed in group activities made us feel like 'outsiders". They were completely on their own and led by young volunteers from different guide companies they honed their dancing, drawing, drama and handicraft skills. We did not wait to see the final "products" but left the camp while the guides were busy with their activities. They did not even notice us leaving the camp!


The next event we were invited to as parents was the camp fire. Each of the guide groups was presenting an item during the camp. They were all dressed up for these items when we arrived at the camp site at about 5.15pm. The girls were excited but one could also see anxiety building up too, as the crowds started gathering in. But as soon as the campfire was lit and the songs began there was sheer joy and lots and lots of laughter in the air. As each group took their turn in between camp songs to present their items we could hear comments and exclamations of surprise as these 'differently abled' guides showed off their own performing skills. For us, as parents of so called differently abled or a special needs child each step taken in a dance, each song sung out, each drama ennacted by these young folks is an acheivement no less or no greater than any other child! They are young women and here at this moment and time young Sri Lankan guides - helping each other and everyone around them and spreading joy and a message of simple basic humanity!


At the back of the Special T- shirts was this - the spirit of the Differently Abled Guide Camp " Ability + disability Make us = " International Camp 2011 - Sri Lanka. A very special "Thank you" to all the teachers who accompanied the guides from Dayamina, Meth Mihira and Supem Uyana and made it possible for them to take part in the camp.

A parent of Dayamina



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