Badija Island, Croatia, 1996-2004

From 1993 to 2004, Global Children’s Organization has held camp programs at various locations along the Adriatic coast for war-traumatized or displaced children from the former Yugoslavia, including Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia. During these years, children
who attended our camps often came from orphanages, refugee camps, destroyed homes or collective centers. GCO camps incorporated healing arts, sports, and educational activities emphasizing conflict resolution and community building.  Hundreds of children attended these programs which were held at various locations during these years. From 1996 to 2004 the GCO camps were held on Badija Island, and small island near Korcula  in the Adriatic Sea.

Summer 2000  GCO Summer Programs, Badija, Croatia

GCO held its twelfth camp in Croatia summer of 2000 for 148 children, making it
our biggest camp to date. For the first time, the children and in-country volunteers represented communities of the whole region, including Bihac, Gorazde, both sides of Mostar, Sarajevo, Srebrenica, Tuzla in the Bosnian Federation as well as Serbian children and volunteers from Banja Luka in the Republika Srpska. We also had Kosovar refugee children and Roma children. Six children from the orphanage in Dubrovnik were also able to join us in spreading the message of peace. This summer, that message was written on back of the GCO shirt…”Giving Children Hope.”

Theteam of volunteers is diverse including representatives from all over the U.S. (from Hawaii to Maine), Mexico, Jordan, Ecuador, Russia, Slovenia, England, France, and Germany. The volunteers came from all walks of life too, including students, teachers, doctors, lawyers, artists, therapists and musicians.

Student volunteers represented Harvard, Yale, Brown, Bowdoin, Sarah Lawrence, George Washington University, NYU, University of Maryland, Emory Law School, University of Tennessee, University of Michigan, Reed College, UC Berkeley, UC-Santa Cruz, UCLA, UC-Santa Barbara, University of Monterey Mexico, University of Sarajevo, and University of Tuzla. We also had high school seniors who volunteered from Dalton School, NY; Menlo School, CA; Oakwood School, CA; Bar Harbor High School, Maine; Punahou School, Hawaii: Germantown and Springside, Pa; and other schools in California, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware and Utah.

Summer camp is a memorable experience of living in community with a diverse group of
people. The Community-Building “Fun and Games” program was successful at offering the participants alternatives to violent conflict resolution as well as building teamwork, self-esteem, and respect for each other and the environment. This summer the four members of the Sarajevo Drum Orchestra again played and taught drumming daily. The art program, one of the biggest parts of GCO’s camps, is a haven of creative expression in a safe environment which allows the children to express their fears, hopes and creative abilities. The evening program is always festive with music, dancing, and the costumes and talents of the children and volunteers.

GCO is pleased to continue our commitment to the children of Bosnia and Croatia living in a region that desperately needs the message of peace and hope.