Last weekend in Valladolid, Mexico, 63 youth descended upon Hotel Villas del Angel for the Youth Encuentro called Intercultural Olympics. Attendees were made up of Amigos participants from our 11 communities and 3 or 4 local youth from each community. The Yucatan Amigos Staff applied for a grant through the Bevil Foundation of Amigos. Because of the grant we were able to facilitate an overnight event and lend time for friendships to be cultivated and connections to be made through cultural, creative and physical expression.
We kicked off the event by inviting each person to grab a white t-shirt and form a line to screenprint, one-by-one, an image of an Mayan glyph of an ear of corn on the front of each tee – symbolic of the local legend that humanity was born from corn. In the afternoon, all 63 youth in attendance worked in teams on 30 minute creative expression and physical challenges – designing a stencil for the back of their t-shirts, painting to music, climbing between two trees hanging off a rope, dizzy bat races with a stick pony and cowboy hats and preparing for a cultural presentation the next day. Through all of these challenges, each team was accruing points in hopes to become the winning team of the Intercultural Olympics.
The second day was highlighted by a cultural presentation by each group, where US and Yucatecan youth presented cultural traditions, dress, legends and dance.
Amigos Project Staff was joined in facilitating by their fabulous Program Assistant Marisol Suaste, by Elias Alcocer from the Centro Yaxunah, by screenprinter extraordinaire Bill Wyatt of y-QUE in Los Angeles, Brian Sawich of the US Consulate in Merida, Juan Canto Psychologist from Merida, Cesar Vidal Psychologist from Valladolid and four Physical Education students from the Centro Universitario Valladolid. Together with all the youth, we celebrated our cultures, enjoyed meals, leadership workshops, games, laughs new experiences and new friendships.
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