To build their personality and learn more about local Emirati culture in a fun and engaging way, at least 75 young Emiratis – aged between 10-16 years old – were selected to participate in the second edition of Winter Camp, organised by the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Centre (HHC) in coordination with the UAE Ministry of Education.
The week-long winter camp for boys began on December 22 and will run until December 28 at a camel farm in Al Nakhra, Dubai. The girls’ winter camp, organised in cooperation with the Association of Women’s Renaissance, will take place from December 29-31.
Participants were chosen from schools around the country. Various fun and engaging activities are scheduled every day at the camp, where they will learn how to ride and take care of the camels, hunt with falcons, shoot the saktoun (a traditional Emirati rifle) and perform Youlah (traditional Emirati rifle dance). They will also learn how to prepare and serve Arabic tea and coffee, aside from learning stories from Emirati elders.
The winter camp has been warmly welcomed by the students and their parents. Aside from promoting the UAE heritage sports, the youth are also trained to impart the spirit of Emirati hospitality.
Last year saw the participation of 25 young Emirati boys in the inaugural winter camp and this year the number grew three-fold. This is also the first time that the winter camp has welcomed the participation of Emirati girls.
Ms. Hind Bin Demaithan Al Qemzi, Director of Events at HHC, said: “Following the success of last year’s winter camp, we have prepared a bigger camp this year for boys and girls.”
“We have prepared numerous activities aimed at enabling the youth to learn more about our local culture; to practice self-reliance and nurture the social values that characterise our UAE society,” Al Qemzi underlined.
The participants are divided into groups with dedicated mentors who supervise their daily activities and monitor their accomplishment of tasks. The HHC has also prepared at least eight big tents and increased the number of cameras in the camp so the parents can monitor their child’s performance during activities.
Learning the Bedouin life
Mubarak Hamad Al-Amri, 12, expressed his happiness at participating in the camp. He said: “I love to ride camels ever since my father taught me when I was young. I am also very happy to make new friends. We learned to shoot saktoun. We likewise learned how to be more patient and to follow instructions carefully to accomplish various tasks.”
Salim Ahmed Suhail Al-Amri, 12 years old, said: “I always wanted to learn shooting, and I liked to ride camels. I learned a lot of new things at the camp and now I can help my mother prepare Arabic coffee and tea at home.”
Ahmed Abdullah Al-Muhairi, 10 years old, said: “I learned about the winter camp from Instagram and I immediately signified my interest to join it. Now, I’m learning more about Bedouin life and I have been having lots of fun.
Khalaf Abdullah Al-Humairi, 9, said: “I do not really like playing with my gadgets and I love playing football and basketball to become more active. I have made a lot of friends at the camp and we are doing tasks together – this is real team work. Now, I want to participate every year in the winter camp.