As we wrap up the second week of the HATSA Kids Camp, the progress is undeniable. The kids are not only ahead of schedule in their hut building tasks but are also more deeply engaged in every activity, including the language immersion aspects.

A Focus on Skills and Preparation

“We’ve made significant progress this week,” says the Sarah, the camp coordinator. “We are ahead of schedule in terms of the hut’s construction, especially with the roof. The kids have managed to put up several panels of thatch woven from coconut leaves.” As we approach the third week, the focus will shift to slinging, an activity that blends skill, focus, and traditional Chamorro knowledge.

From Indifference to Enthusiasm

The initial lukewarm interest from some of the kids has dramatically transformed. According to the coordinator, “The children are much more engaged and excited to participate. They’re not just building; they’re connecting with their heritage, and you can see it in their eyes.” The moment the frame of the hut was constructed, providing them an opportunity to climb and play, marked a significant highlight of the week.

Language as a Bridge to Understanding

Master builder Guelo continues to instruct the kids in Chamorro, and it’s incredible to see the young participants catch on. “It’s so enriching to see the children understand the instructions in Chamorro. It proves that language can be a powerful medium to connect with one’s culture,” says the coordinator.

Parental Approval and Enthusiasm

The feedback from parents has been overwhelmingly positive. “Parents love that this kind of program isn’t available elsewhere. And hearing their kids wake up excited for camp — that’s what also gets them up for school,” notes the coordinator. This enthusiasm at home underscores the camp’s effectiveness and its importance to the community.

What’s Next?

Week three promises even more excitement. “The children received their slings and will be learning how to sling next week. We will also continue the construction and aim to finish up the hut,” says the coordinator. As the camp evolves, one thing is clear: HATSA Kids Camp is building more than just huts; it’s building a future where the Chamorro culture and traditions continue to thrive.

In just two weeks, HATSA Kids Camp has shown that when children are given the right tools and guidance, they don’t just construct structures; they build connections to a heritage that will last a lifetime.