How Sports and Art Reaches Youth

Part of what Tomorrow’s Youth Organization has to offer for the youth of Nablus is a summer camp for 9-­14 year olds that involves programming focused on sports and arts. The older group, 13­-14 year olds, rotates between Eleanor’s and Kyra’s classes each day so that all kids get a half day of sports, and a half ­day of arts and crafts. This rotation allows for each kid to express and explore themselves in a new way.

Between Eleanor’s and Kyra’s two classes, they’ve noticed some amazing differences! Some kids will be focused and engaged in art, but less so sports, and vice versa. These two classes give every kid the chance to shine in the best way for them.

Mohammad, a student from one of Nablus’ refugee camps, came to TYO with numerous behavioral problems stemming from the difficulties he has faced over the course of his life. However, when it came to art, Mohammad did not struggle. He shined. With every art project it became clearer and clearer how much he loved art and the way in which art acted as therapy for him. Schools in Palestine teach art using colored pencils and blank computer paper. ­­TYO gives kids multiple ways and mediums to express themselves creatively. After he told Kyra that he wanted to be an artist when he grew up, we realized how invaluable TYO programming is for kids like Mohammad.

Mohammad the Artist

Another student, Montaser, tends to shine in sports class and has amazing leadership skills. Although he’s always enthusiastic about the art projects in Kyra’s class, he is in his element in sports with Eleanor. Montaser gathers his teammates, facilitates strategizing, and even initiates cheers. He is charismatic and firm, and the other students clearly respect him in the role of team captain. TYO’s programming isn’t just about having fun, it’s about providing ways for every student to find themselves and to realize their skills.

Montaser the leader

Although neither Kyra nor Eleanor are experts in the fields of arts or sports, these classes are more about using these subjects as a vehicle for kids to discover themselves rather than building specific expertise. Students like Mohammad and Montaster reinforce daily why we have a multi­faceted summer camp program.

Kyra and Eleanor are TYO interns in Nablus.