When school is out in Buenos Aires, many families long to escape the city’s heat and chaos for a few weeks and visit one of the nearby beaches to sit back and relax for a while. School holidays in Argentina last from mid-December through the end of February. For kids this may be the best time of the year, but for their parents school vacations pose a potential headache. Many families heavily depend on the work and income of both parents and will neither have the time nor the financial resources to go on holiday and keep their children busy. When school is out in neighborhoods like Barracas, many kids lack organized childcare and are often left on their own. The most attractive but also most dangerous place for them to be spending their free-time is on the street without any proper supervision and guidance. The summer camp Colonia de Barracas, located in the south east of Buenos Aires, is one of the institutions in town that try their best to keep local children of the street during the summer holidays and offer organized child care to the best extent possible. Being situated just a 20 minutes bus ride from the city centre and close to the Subte station Constitution, the Colonia de Barracas offers a roof, food, a wide playground and lots of care for 40-50 children from the surrounding neighborhoods. The summer camp is managed by 7 to 10 energetic and dedicated teachers and students that use their vacation break to support the neighbourhoods in need.
Colonia de Barracas provides a variety of activities for children aged 12-18. A space for playing soccer, volleyball and table tennis, or simply hanging out, this summer camp is the perfect place for local kids during the summer months. The supervisors, or ‘profes’ (short for 'professor') as they are called by the kids, dedicate themselves to making sure everyone is active and engaged, for example during a game of basketball or volleyball on the outdoor concrete courts. Special activities and trips are often organized for the children that give them the chance to do things they might not otherwise be able to. They are encouraged to test their strength when conquering a climbing wall or zip lining over a small river. A short visit to a local swimming pool may be a welcome cool-down for supervisors, volunteers and kids after a hot day filled with activities.
At Colonia de Barracas, volunteers are always in high demand and greatly welcomed. Managing a group of up to 50 children, there is always a game to engage in or a curious child to talk to. With a proactive and open mindset and the drive to engage with children from different backgrounds, this summer camp will be a fulfilling experience for any volunteer. Anyone visiting Colonia de Barracas can expect a very warm welcome by the team and the children, and the chance to get stuck in to everything great that the camp offers. Colonia de Barracas is a place where everyone has the ability to make a difference – for yourself and many others. So, come and make a difference!