There you are, a 14-year-old Guide waiting with your fellow Counselors, Guides, and Staff (CGS) for the first bus to come around the corner. You’ve never experienced Camp Mosaic before. You have been training hard for the past month — you’ve bonded with the team, learned all the songs, and played every Magic Box activity — but you’re nervous. You ask yourself: Are you prepared to handle the enthusiasm, energy, and excitement of 125 children?
The rumble of the bus approaches. As you see the apprehensive faces of your participants through the windows, a switch suddenly flicks on. Everyone around you begins to sing in unison for the participants’ arrival, and without even knowing how, you realize the loudest voice is coming from you.
You are ready. You have your Mosaic family around you. You believe in them; they believe in you; you believe in yourself. You’re at Camp Mosaic.
Zahra Hakani, a participant in 2011 who has grown into a Coordinator, shares her experience of doing Camp Mosaic for the first time as CGS: “Mosaic has not only taught me many skills that I use everyday, but it's also taught me what I am passionate about and the things I value. Every year I come back it teaches me how to truly work with a team.”
Camp Mosaic is a six-day summer camp for rising 1st to 8th grade Ismaili youth. In one year, it engages 1,500 Participants, 780 Counselors, Guides, and Staff, and 52 Local Project Team Members, through 13 camps across 7 regions in the United States. That amounts to 2,332 people involved each year.
For those who have heard of it, we are likely familiar with the songs, the activities, the energy — but that is just the surface.
What is perhaps most remarkable is that the camp is run entirely by youth. At a time in their lives when young people are used to hearing that they aren’t old enough, mature enough, experienced enough, or empathetic enough to be leaders, Mosaic reassures them that they are. Mosaic empowers youth and, through encouragement, accountability, and a guiding hand, develops future leaders of the Jamat.
Sofia Babool served as a Content Facilitator for the Central Region Junior Camp this summer. She described her leadership journey, saying “Mosaic taught me how to remain humble while assertive. Personally, Mosaic has allowed me to take a leadership role that is unlike any other because it forces me to be demanding yet compassionate, always encouraging but requesting accountability. I think that Mosaic has helped me be a better leader, a better Ismaili Muslim, and a better human.”
Salima Dhanji, a parent from Florida, recounts her son’s first experience at Camp Mosaic this year: “On the last day of camp, Zayden told us that the final assembly is called Opening Ceremony because ‘this is just the beginning and Camp Mosaic lives in your heart forever!’ He is already asking us to send him to Camp Mosaic again next year.”
This summer, Camp Mosaic marks its 25th anniversary. It is a celebration of a quarter-century of Jamati leaders for whom Camp Mosaic has been a part of their development. People who have come through Camp Mosaic have gone on to have a great impact on the Jamat: Mosaic alumni contribute to almost every Jamati institution and have helped found programs nationally and internationally. Camp Mosaic has been developing leaders since its inception in 1995, and will continue to do so for generations of leaders to come: those bright-eyed, nervous participants on the bus, excited for their first day of camp, will one day be leading camps, Jamati institutions, and organizations serving humanity.