*For more information about our 2009 Fundraising Drive, please visit our Donations page.*
The following post is courtesy of Johnny Payne, a Gaborone Teen Club Volunteer:
Gaborone Teen Club: “Part of my Family”
As the teens gathered during the chilly morning of Saturday, 27th June, some played football to help warm up while others chatted with friends in small circles as the sun climbed overhead. When all had arrived and signed in, the Teen Leaders gathered them in a large circle to welcome them and introduce themselves for the benefit of new members. One could not help but notice how proud the Teen Leaders, along with the other members, were of the closeness of their group; one boy said (in Setswana) in response to how he feels about the club: “I am so close to the other teens here, they are masika a me (part of my family)”.
As it was my first time to volunteer at the Gaborone Teen Club, I decided to join the group of teens and adult volunteers who went for some sports and recreation at the secondary school playing grounds not far from Baylor Clinic. We each found something fun to do while meeting new friends and getting some good exercise; there was football, tennis, basketball, volleyball, and badminton, among other activities. Some of the teens were a bit shy, but after awhile they find themselves getting comfortable and tried their best, as they realized the other teens didn’t laugh at them but instead appreciated their effort and participation. We shared laughs and cooled down with some water before we rejoined the rest of the club for lunch.
Both in America and Botswana, it is rare to find mixed-age group in which the younger members are the ones leading the show. At Teen Club, however, the teens are either in leadership positions or learning how to lead. Many of the sessions and games are organized and facilitated by the teens, leaving many of us adult volunteers to feel like we are just along for the ride! But in fact, both the young and old ones really enjoy how Teen Club provides so many chances for teamwork that allow us to learn from each other, leaving no one who doesn’t have an important role to play. It is this inclusion that draws each person in, such that there are many people in the club today who can join the boy who said “they are part of my family”.
For all of you who are regular visitors to the Botswana Teen Club website, let me say I hope that you continue to check the site and stay involved with the program as it continues to grow and improve in all areas. Even those not currently living in Gaborone can join our efforts to establish satellites in other regions of Botswana, raise funds and awareness for the program or exchange ideas. Teen Club ya chesa!