St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, September 22, 2018 – This year has been a tough one, most of all for schools and summer camps. Buildings were blown away or damaged. Staff have moved away. Young athletes left island with their parents. Virgin Islanders have been mentally, physically and financially drained. In spite of it all, the board and staff of Island Vibes Summer Camp felt it was absolutely necessary to hold the 2018 summer camp we planned, no matter the challenges.
This summer, we were able to host one of the top five (5) technical evaluators in the world, Dr. Gylton Da Matta to teach our campers volleyball and/or improve on the skills they already had. Recently, Island Vibes Summer Camp has partnered with YSA (Youth Sports Academy), a sports organization in Colorado founded by Dr. Da Matta, whose mission is to inspire people of all ages to participate in Olympic and International sports. Thanks to YSA we also welcomed Professor Sergio Veloso who runs one of the top coaching schools in Brazil and who helped coach multiple players on the winning 2016 Brazilian Olympic team. For our second volleyball session in August, we were joined by Brazilian Olympic medalist, Monica Rodrigues, who shared her experience in beach volleyball with our campers.
An unplanned success for our 2018 summer program was our Younger Vibes camp for 5-9 year olds. “We definitely didn’t have this demographic in our overall plan for the organization”, stated Vernon Araujo, Camp Director, “but I’m happy we did it because we see there is a huge need for open space where children can be active, learn new sports and have fun growing and being themselves.” Our Younger Vibes program could not have been possible without the bountiful knowledge, patience and grace of Verna Araujo (our Director’s mother). She has taught generations of children the beauty of being Caribbean through the arts of music and language. The Younger Vibes campers also were so thankful for Coach John who taught us all about fencing and the chivalry that comes with it. We are so grateful for our camp counselors Jamaal Carroll, Sidney Robinson, Sakile Braithwaite-Hall and all of our volunteers that lent an extra pair of eyes when we needed it. We also have to thank our amazing presenters; Dr. Stapleton, The VI Children’s Museum, Jody Olson formerly of Perfect Heart, Cliff Franklin, Sr. and Louis Taylor.
After recovering from two category five hurricanes, we were so grateful for support from our friends, donors and community partners such as 183 Media, Paradise Chiropractic, 104.3FM The Buzz, Fostar Managed Services, Inc., Alpine Securities and Merchant’s Commercial Bank. We have to thank Yacht Haven Grande especially and their gracious team for allowing us to utilize their property for beach volleyball training.
As we continue to wait out this hurricane season with out fingers crossed, we are starting to prepare for Summer 2019. We invite the community to join us in our mission to uplift athletic training in the Virgin Islands. Assist with fundraising, join our summer staff, invite athletes or just spread the word on social media. No matter how you choose to help, we will take it as a blessing and continue in our mission to bless others.
Look out for our Beer & Bacon Bacchanal Fundraiser in January 2019 and THANK YOU again!