The summer campuses of the young people of the Focolare in Italy
According to Marc Augé, a French ethnologist and anthropologist, the outskirts are the place where the problems debated at a national level are extremely real. For the Young People for a United World of Italy, in recent years, the outskirts have become a field of action from which they can start afresh and give hope, give voice to that part of society which often suffers because of the silence by the media and institutions, and switch on the spotlights again on the work of those who commit themselves to this reality on a daily basis.
"This gave us the boost to understand that despite the very short time available, we had to have a bet on the most fragile part of society and risk our all. This is what each of us has done in her or his own small way, by establishing relationships of true brotherhood with each other." These words of Nahomy from Florence (Italy) express the meaning and the commitment that the youth of the Focolare Movement have been carrying on for several years during their Summer Campuses in the outskirts of Syracuse (Sicily, Italy).
"Our commitment continues in the peripheries" is the title they chose for the fifth edition of the Campus addressing all young people in Italy between 18 and 30 years old.
"We want to look the open wounds of our societies in the face and commit ourselves for those who are living in distress," say the organizers. «We want to collect Pope Francis's message - "Staying within the conflict without avoiding it and bringing gratuitousness where there is no hope: these are the two keys to turn the desert into a forest."»
This year the Campus doubles: a first Campus will be held in Rome from 25 July to 3 August; a second one will be held in Syracuse, Sicily, from 30 July to 7 August 2017.
Culture of dialogue, lawfulness, no-to-gambling, welcoming, and disarmed economy will be the focus of training and workshop activities.
The Rome Summer Campus will be hosted at the ‘Campo dei Miracoli - Calciosociale’ (Field of miracles – social soccer club) Sports Center in the Corviale mega-building block, an activity that through soccer promotes the values of acceptance, respect for diversity, and the proper growth of human persons.
«We are delighted that the Focolare's youth have chosen the "Campo dei Miracoli" for their summer campus where they will train other young people in our country to lawfulness and active participation! - said Massimo Vallati, founder of Calciosociale and promoter of Radio Impegno (Commitment Radio) - I hope that this is the beginning of a long journey together, to feed a network that opposes corruption, but also the resignation and immobility of many good people who are tired of "fighting" and uselessly nourishing their own hope.»
During the morning sessions, our young people will carry out animation activities with 50 unaccompanied foreign minors at the Centro “La Città dei Ragazzi” (Children’s village center), created with the aim of fostering and promoting the personal and social development of children and teens in serious trouble, regardless of their religion or nationality, in initiatives supporting the Associazione “Sempre Persona” ("Always Person" Association), committed to assist the families of prisons’ inmates, and in the local requalification of the Corviale mega-building block (Rome, Italy).
Training and dialogue will alternate during the afternoon sessions, including moments of analysis and debate with experts on some hot and crucial issues such as inequalities, the environment, lawfulness, gambling, unarmed economy, and peace. These sessions will be open to the young participants and the whole city.
In Syracuse, Sicily, the Campus experience has come to its fourth edition. It will take place at the parish church of San Corrado (St Conrad) in the Grottasanta neighbourhood, in close collaboration with the youth of the host community who are members of Gi.Fra. – Franciscan Youth. Workshops, games, and sports activities targeting the neighborhood children will alternate with training sessions for animators and neighborhood residents.
After the strong experience we have lived last year, we followed our desire to make a documentary film entitled, "Syracuse, a land of beauty and contradictions," directed by a young woman, Clara Anicito, one of the organizers of the Campus. "This documentary - explains Clara - is about the two faces of Syracuse: the artistic and cultural beauty of Ortigia (the island that represents the oldest part of the city), but also about the problems and the degradation of its outskirts. Our intention was to give a spur, a positive input to improve our cities and turn each of us into a main actor of change."