Azerbaijani Boys Leadership Experience (A.B.L.E) Camp

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Project was named::Azerbaijani Boys Leadership Experience (A.B.L.E) Camp{{#if:Azerbaijan|
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Info about the Project was named::Azerbaijani Boys Leadership Experience (A.B.L.E) Camp {{#if:Azerbaijan||}} {{#if:|[[category:{{{country2}}}_projects]]|}} {{#if:2009||}} {{#if:2009||}} {{#if:|[[category:{{{site}}}]]|}} {{#if:|[[category:{{{site2}}}]]|}} {{#if:|[[category:{{{site3}}}]]|}} {{#if:|[[category:{{{site4}}}]]|}} {{#if:|[[category:{{{affiliateorganization}}}]]|}} {{#if:PCPP||}} {{#if:|[[category:{{{projectsector}}}]]|}} {{#if:|[[category:{{{projectsector2}}}]]|}} {{#if:Massachusetts||}} {{#if:Massachusetts||}} {{#if:|[[category:{{{uscity}}}]]|}} {{#if:||}} {{#if:||}} {{#if:Elkin||}}

Summer 2009 will mark the fourth annual Azerbaijani Boys’ Leadership Experience (A.B.L.E.) Camp. This camp is a unique way to show promising Azerbaijani boys, ages 14-17, how to recognize their abilities and roles in community development. It takes place over six days in August and consists of forty-eight campers from across Azerbaijan, sixteen Peace Corps Azerbaijan volunteers, seven Azerbaijani camp alumni who will serve as junior counselors, and eight Azerbaijani counselors. The high counselor to camper ratio ensures a fun and safe environment while we encourage the campers to also direct themselves by assigning small group leaders.

The primary objective of the camp is to show the campers how they can make a positive difference in the communities from which they come. We guide them in a process of defining community, identifying needs and assets, and leading initiatives that benefit their communities such as park cleanup campaigns or new, educational opportunities for students. We also emphasize teamwork, motivation, and respect for others. The campers learn lessons in a variety of ways, and our interactive way of teaching ensures that the young men will retain what they have learned. The boys also review these lessons in small groups so the counselors can observe if they understand the concepts. What we teach in our lessons is also reinforced in activities such as: morning exercise, American football, and the “I can” campfire.

The experience, of course, does not stop when the camp ends. Upon the conclusion of camp, the boys are inspired to go out and use their abilities for the greater good of their communities. Counselors and volunteers guide the campers in their own development projects long after the camp is over. Those of us who are fortunate enough to take part in this project, Americans and Azerbaijanis alike, are proud to carry on the tradition started by Peace Corps volunteers and their counterparts before us. The smiles and newfound confidence in the campers are well worth all the efforts that go into making A.B.L.E. Camp possible.

These efforts, on behalf of the Peace Corps volunteers and Azerbaijani counselors, are entirely voluntary. Contributions to A.B.L.E. Camp are greatly appreciated and go towards paying for the campsite, rooms, meals, transportation, and other costs.