Camp Fire Central Oregon is partnering with Workshops with Purpose to pilot a new program for Central Oregon teens and adults focused on increasing global awareness, building tolerance and creating a community of empathetic leaders. The new BRIDGES program gives adults and teens opportunities for personal growth and cultural exploration by combining travel, service and storytelling.
The eight month program includes an international travel adventure and pre and post-trip workshops where adults and teens work together as equal participants . “We’ve designed a collaborative program that empowers teens to explore in a learning environment that also strengthens their relationships with adults ,” says Beth Babicz, Teen Program Manager of Camp Fire Central Oregon. The interactive curriculum incorporates photography, videography, and creative writing and for sharing stories and affecting change.
The program’s inaugural BRIDGES: Thailand trip will take 12 teens and 10 adults on a 10-day adventure to Thailand this November . Participants will attend workshops before and after their travel to cultivate creative sparks, learn about Thai culture, and delve into issues such as human trafficking and environmental conservation.
To ensure the program is accessible to anyone interested participating, the two organizations have designed BRIDGES with a critical fundraising effort to cover virtually all program costs.
According to Babicz, “Inclusivity is a top priority for all Camp Fire programs. We never want cost to be a barrier for participation. Of course, the added benefit of fundraising is that it helps the teens develop a strong work ethic, gain leadership confidence and try out their entrepreneurial skills.”
The group will be hosting car washes, making and selling jewelry at local festivals and events, selling Bellatazza Coffee, and soliciting individual and corporate partnership and support to build program funding. The goal is to establish BRIDGES as an annual program with a variety of international destinations that inform and raise awareness of shared global issues across cultures.
The partnership between the two organizations was inspired by a Workshops with Purposeprogram in Thailand last year, led by Co-founder Kevin Kubota. Though originally designed for adults, the program had several teen participants unexpectedly join the group. “The dynamic that evolved between those teens and adults was transformative”, says Kubota. “As someone who has led international travel workshops for years, I am excited about getting young people involved in compassionate travel. It is a powerful way to change the world for the better.”
BRIDGES: Thailand will culminate in a January event in conjunction with National Human
Trafficking Awareness Day on January 11 th . The public will be invited to the multimedia
showcase to hear reflections from participants on their transformative journey.
To learn more about BRIDGES: Thailand and how you can susupport this program as a
community partner or donor, visit: campfireco.org/bridges.
Camp Fire Central Oregon
Founded in 1910, Camp Fire is a national organization that actively engages youth and teens in building essential skills for life. Camp Fire Central Oregon has been a co-ed youth development organization since 1975, providing out-of-school time, teen service and leadership, camp and environmental programs. Young people want to shape the world. Camp Fire provides the opportunity to find their spark, lift their voice, and discover who they are.
Workshops with Purpose
Workshops With Purpose was created by photographers Kevin Kubota and Benjamin Edwards to help photographers and filmmakers tell humanitarian stories for the betterment of our world. WWP guides image makers through a process during international travel experiences where they learn logistics and photographic skills while simultaneously using them to provide valuable imaging resources to local service organizations. WWP is part photographic workshop, part group service project, and all life-changing.