Bridges to Roots Camp

We are approaching the 12th year of our “Bridges to Roots” project (Saleem Al-Sayegh’s Summer Camp). After completing a wide ranging study/ brain-storming (presented recently to PII Board of Directors), it was agreed to enact new methods and steps to enhance the progressive evolution of the camp project in the years to come.

Brief Background

PII has undertaken since 2006 to launch and organize an annual summer camp in Palestine as part of its strategy to maintain lasting links between the young generations, sons and daughters of Arab Palestinians living in their respective countries of expatriation and the Diaspora/ Exile, with their homeland Palestine. The aim is to deepen their belonging to their homeland, entrench awareness of its cultural heritage and preserve the historical memory of one common identity in their hearts and minds. Young males and females from those countries were given the opportunity to join the summer camp, held in the city of Nazareth.

The summer camps, will be held on 16 July 2016, offer an educational program and recreational activities in a tranquil and safe atmosphere under the careful guidance of well-selected experts, caretakers, teachers of history and other professionals.

Connecting Palestinians

Indeed, Saleem Al-Sayegh’s Camp is one expression of the view of our Institute to translate its strategy that can be summed up in the establishment of a very wide bridge with a two-way street:

  •  One connecting Palestinian communities in the Diaspora and their countries of expatriation with the Palestinian cause and homeland.
  •  And a second connecting the various components of the Palestinian people.

Connecting Palestinians was made possible by bringing together (to the Camp) participants from the following areas:

1) Palestinian towns beyond the Armistice Line.
2) The West Bank, including Jerusalem.
3) Gaza Strip
4) The Diaspora, especially from Europe, North and South America and Australia and
​5) Palestinians who live in the Arab world with foreign citizenship.

Camp Themes

The summer camps aim and seek to create fellowship among young Palestinians from inside and outside Palestine as well as interaction bonding them, under a program entitled ‘Know Thy Homeland’ that encompasses various historical and cultural aspects in addition to enhancing national aspirations and attachment to the homeland.

Camp Administration

Specific plans and programs were prepared to ensure success of the camps project. The annual camp is usually run by an organizing body made up of the following:

1. Senior staff from the Institute.
2. Specialized committees from across Palestine.
3. The Camp director with one or more deputies.
4. Guides.
5. Volunteers.

Future Plans

In order to attract top experts and open horizons of cooperation with other organizations, specific programs, subject to modifications, have been finalized to ensure further success of the Camp activities in the future. The programs encompass various elements including and dealing with the following:

A– Activities, Communication and Safety Issues

  •  Organizing field trips, artistic and cultural activities to enhance the conscious Palestinian identity within the minds of the participants.
  •  Providing care and attention to ensure constant communications between parents and their children participating in the Camp’s program. Use of cellular phones has been allowed for this purpose while visiting hours have been set for families
  •  Special steps have been taken to protect the safety of all participants during the Camp’s activities and the field trips as one of the main values upon which the Camp project stands.

B-Delivering Information on the Camp’s Activities
Meanwhile, a strategy was developed to conduct smooth communication with other bodies, committees and organizations internally and internationally to make them fully aware of the programs of the Camp and the PII readiness to receive names of new participants.
The program assigned to host various delegations includes:

  •  Welcoming the participants and arranging a spacious and clean hall to be used as a dormitory within the ‘Tawfic Zeyad Village for Learning’ (in Nazareth). Mattresses and additional sleeping bags and all essentials will be provided.
  •  Modern vehicles are made available for transportation purposes.
  •  Effective implementation of the Camp’s program by the assigned body.

C– Participants’ Age
The PII Board of Directors set the Camp’s participants’ age between 15-30 years, as follows:

  •  Young participants from the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip who do not need entry permits to enter ‘Israel’ should be in the 15-16 age group.
  •  Participants from abroad who hold foreign citizenship and from Jerusalem and the cities and towns of 1948 should be in the 17-30 age group.

Each age group will have a special program that suits its needs, but they would all join together in most of the times and occasions in activities
serving the fundamental targeted aim of the Camp: “Know Thy Homeland”.

* A Limited number of scholarships (camperships) will be available for special cases which will be carefully considered by PII.

Comments on the Financial Situation

It is extremely vital to point out that PII is financially struggling to maintain the qualitative continuity (let alone development) of the Camp due to the lack of a sufficient sponsorship. We have received some pledges, but we need more to provide the Camp with ‘guaranteed security’ in order to achieve its goals.

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