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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Emirati fondly remembers summer camps of the seventies

Obadi Al Yamahi would spend his months on boot-camp style scout missions and on family farm

For Emiratis growing up in the early days of the nation, summer camp meant boot-camp style scout missions and a chance to learn valuable skills.

Obadi Al Yamahi would then spend time on the family farm, feeding the animals.

“Going to the family farm in Al Bithna was part of our usual summer activities as only a few could travel abroad back then,” said Mr Al Yamahi, who is now 51.

“Harvesting crops and watering the plants were things that made us enjoy the vacation along with the family in a place that used to have fresh water streams and cooler weather at Al Bithna,” the Emirati said.

Other families in the area would take their children on fishing trips and teach them fishing techniques.

In the early eighties, Mr Al Yamahi was enrolled in a Scouts-style boot camp where he developed physical skills and played a constructive role in serving society.

“It was a new experience for me, it was tough and fun at the same time, we used to stay there for four weeks, wake up early in a morning each day and start exercising with the rest of the group,” said Mr Al Yamahi

“The camp taught us many things and one of them was how to serve the community, we did lots of initiatives such as planting trees on the sides of the roads and we were very proud of what we accomplished.”

Mr Al Yamahi said there were few parks in the country at that time with only Al Jazerah Park in Sharjah and Al Safa Park in Dubai.

“Sometimes we used to go to the roller rink at Al Nasr club in Dubai or visit the park as traveling abroad was very expensive and only traders could afford it back in the days,” he said.

“The new generations have many opportunities and they can do lots of activities and even travel during the holidays... our days were much simpler yet valuable.”