For the first time in the Fern Forest Camp’s five year history, the majority of volunteers were youth. Ten of the 19 volunteers were youth workers, two of whom had been attending the camp since its inception in 2014, and had reached the maximum camping age of 18. The two, Alex Wint and Samaie Hannan, wanted to give back to their community and the camp by serving as camp counsellors.
Alex, who was a first time volunteer, said it was a great privilege to serve. According to him, as a youngster he returned every year as a camper be- cause ‘it’s a great experience. It’s educa- tional, inspiring and fun.’ For two consecutive years he was awarded the prize of top camper of the year. Samaie, the other for- mer camper, was serving as volunteer for the second year. Now a nursing student, she returned to the camp as part of the medical team and took on several leadership roles for this year’s event, including MC for the Award Ceremony on the final camp day.
Other youth volunteers who had a track record for service came from the parishes St Ann , Kingston and Mandeville and the missions group Youth with a Mission (YWAM) . One who had Jamaican roots , Vanderis Christie had retuned to the island specifically to work at the camp as his way to give back to the birth- place of his parents.
The JFFF is thankful to other youth volunteers Lys-Julienne Clarke, Tabitha Norton and Shonice Morris, who were first time volunteers, while returning volunteers were Oshane Campbell, Arthur Robinson, Natalya Wynter and Joie-Anne Christie-Veitch . Thanks also to older volunteers, Colleen Grant of Ocho Rios Church on the Rock, Simone Lawerence-Norton and Keris Christie an American with Jamaican parents, who were volunteering for the first time; as well as returning volunteers Leighton and Donnette Wynter, Ingrid Smith, Kirkland Anderson and Courtney and Nicola Christie-Veitch (camp organizers).
The JFFF through its annual Fern Forest camps and other initiatives seeks to mentor youth in communities in and around Fern Gully and beyond to become exemplary leaders with a passion for service.