Every summer, Ismaili students from all across the United States participate in summer camps for the purpose of learning about their faith and self-growth. This year was the first for the youth to participate in Camp VIBE. Camp VIBE is an Ismaili Tariqa and Religious Education Board initiative to provide students in 11-12th grade access to the STEP curriculum and instruction that students don’t have access to during the academic year. In addition, the audience of this program included 242 rising 7-12th graders to current 12 graders in the nationwide program, with 23 teachers participating.
Camp VIBE took place in many cities across the United States, including Spring, Austin, Dallas, Parrish, Birmingham, Detroit, and New York. Specifically, the Florida Camp Vibe took place at the Dayspring Episcopal Center in Parrish and included 30 students from grades 7 to 12.
The goal of the camp was to teach students about the significance, context, and application of the revelation of Allah’s message to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). On Day One, students were introduced to the curriculum through experiential learning. Imaara Koreth (Fort Lauderdale Junior), for whom “the activity that resonated the most was the one that described Prophet Muhammad’s revelation.”
Not only did the camp focus on teaching students about the first revelation, but it also taught students how to begin engaging with the Qur’an. Students explored different perspectives and interpretations of the Qur’an and its relevance to our lives today as Muslims. Through various exercises, camp counselors taught students about the Qur’an, its contents, and how the Qur’an inspires Muslims.
“I liked looking through the Qur’an and exploring it,” said an anonymous student on the student survey, “It was very impactful because I have never looked through the Qur’an so this gave me lots of insight on the surahs and ayahs and what they say.”
Students also participated in outdoor activities. The first day included a bonfire with a bonding activity where students made S’mores and connected with each other through games. On the second day, students were provided with time for structured sports like football, frisbee, basketball, canoeing, swimming, etc.
Many students are looking forward to next year’s Camp VIBE and even recommended increasing the duration of camp by one day in the student surveys. “The feedback we got from participants was positive and through word of mouth,” said camp counselor Riffat Bhimani, “Inshallah, participation will only grow from here.”