Sunday, July 17, 2011
After a short bus ride to Cunaquito, I arrived to a beautiful huge pink house “Hogar Estudiantil Cunaquito”. One of my favorite and most memorable moments was when some of my kids from the first camp saw me and came running and screaming to meet me at the gate. Some of the boys picked up my bags to help me get to the house. What a glorious moment to see all those incredible kids again! We all gathered in the main room and watched the Chile vs Venezuela game. Sadly, we were defeated 2-1. To kick off camp, we had a “goodbye to Spanish ceremony” and played “all my friends”. We introduced the kids to Silent Llama...the expectation was that silent llama meant everyone would be quiet. Unfortunately, that only lasted for like one day but I'll write more about that later. I can't tell you just how excited I was for this week! The volunteers all seemed pretty cool which made me even more stoked to see how things would go!
Monday, July 18, 2011
We began the morning with the icebreaker, the human knot. All the kids make a circle and put their hands in the middle. They join all of their hands together and then have to speak in English to untangle themselves. Then we played another game called Atoms. They have to walk around until they are told a number and something they have to do. For example, 15 people holding hands and standing on their right foot. While this was all going on, kids were registering and turning in all of their paperwork. We began our enforcement of the NO SPANISH rule by putting marks on their faces when we caught them. Some of the kids began to look like they had a horrible yet colorful disease! We had them all spell out “Winter Camp Cunaquito 2011!!” with their bodies and took some great pictures. The volunteers all had a chance to introduce ourselves to the kids and tell them a little bit about ourselves. So great so see so many familiar faces.
Using a competition, we split the kids up into 3 teams. The kids all introduced themselves to each other by telling their name, school, favorite hobby, and favorite ice cream. Almost all of them said how much they love chocolate so when it came time to come up with a name for our team, they all agreed on Chocolate Monsters. We made a list of some songs to use for our chant and they chose “The One that I want” from Grease and came up with a great dance to go with it. I was blown away when I saw the posters they created with our name! These kids have just so much promise and I really hope I get to see what they become 10 years from now.
After all the kids presented their groups, we decided to get them competing by playing Giants, Wizards, and Elves. It's kind of like rock, paper scissors but with your entire body, and when your team loses, you all have to run from the other team.
We had originally planned to have a glamor karaoke night, but when we found out we weren't going to be able to take showers because there wasn't any hot water, we changed it to an Unglamorous karaoke night. With my black eyeliner, I turned myself into a grungy kitty cat and warmed up my vocalizer (“Little Rascals” quote). Some of the kids spent the majority of the night on the mic but every single one of them had a great time.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Pam, Hilda, and I woke up early and headed to Pam's house in the city to take showers. We told the kids that they could have a PJ breakfast so when we got back they were having a PJ dance party while waiting for warm water for showers. Before lunch, we played freeze frame improv and it was a blast watching the kids get creative and come up with ideas for mini skits with nothing but the scene. We talked a bit about the theme of the camp “NO BULLYING” and how we as a camp were going to work on coming up with ideas of how to stop it and how to deal with it. They then had time to create bullying skits in their teams. I watched as the kids used their personal experiences to develop short shows to tell about the affects of bullying. Then they were asked to create a live frozen picture using themselves of bullying with a slogan. It all felt so real.
After dinner, Hilda proposed an onion eating contest and we all payed the price! Jajaja
The first night was planned by Team 1 and they did a Dating Game. It was all very well planned and set up. The kids were hysterical in the way they paired up the people. The first couple ended up being Hilda and Chase (the monitor and a volunteer) and then it was my turn. Since we only had one male volunteer, I knew I was choosing between 3 of my boys. It was so silly and so much fun to just be one of the kids for a little while. My “date” ended up being JP, but he “broke up” with me about 5 minutes later. So sad! JAJAJAJA What a fun night!
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
We told the kids the night before that they were not allowed to come to breakfast in their Pjs again because we had a lot to do that day...yet, when we walked down in the morning, they were all down there in their Pjs. Silly kids with selective hearing! We sent them quickly to get ready so we could start with our first game “Fetch It”. This game is one in which we told them something to go get something specific like 20 pairs of jeans tied in a knot, for example. We had them building towers with chairs, tie their camp shirts in a knot, paint their faces, and lastly fetch us the forbidden cigarettes. It was against the rules to be smoking at camp. We knew that several of them were sneaking around to do it so we weren't sure how many packs we'd be able to get them to give us. Well, in the spirit of competitiveness, we had 2 boys sprinting out to the forest behind the house to get their hidden packages!!! They weren't so happy when they realized they weren't getting them back until the end of camp.
The next activity was “Trash Can”. This was another anti bullying activity. It was developed by psychologists in order for the kids to experience the 3 rolls of bullying-bully, victim, and bystander. In my opinion, with some tweaking, we made the activity successful mostly by the discussion. Afterward, we wrote 10 commandments against bullying.
After lunch, we hopped on a bus to go on our field trip to the museum (Museo de Colchagua-Fundacion Cardoen). I got to see Niko (one of the kids from summer camp that did winter camp in Rancagua)!!!!! It was so much fun walking around with the kids and having them translate for me. One of the boys, Raul walked around with me and told me all about the artifacts we saw. I was so impressed by the expanse of knowledge he had about so many different topics. He's one of those kids that I know will do amazing things in his future.
When we finished in the museum, we sent the kids on a photo scavenger hung in the center and we volunteers sat down to enjoy completos. The kids were very jealous that they spent their time freezing their tushes off running around to take pictures and we were warm and cozy eating our completos. We didn't stop hearing about it the entire rest of the week!!!
This was my teams night to plan the activity. They chose “Horror Night”!! They stationed kids around the forest in the back of the house and we led teams around to be scared out of their minds. It was so creative and so much fun! The kids decided to play a prank on me by having one of the boys stay in the forest and pretend he was lost/hurt. I almost lost my mind when I finally found him, but I was just so thankful that he was ok. While we were looking for him, some boys heard a noise on the other side of the forest, so that night after they were sent to their rooms, they decided to head into the forest to see what it was. Hilda ripped those boys a new one when the only explanation they could give was curiosity.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
We began the morning with the game “Sing it” where the kids received a word and a way to get from their team to the person holding the scarf. For example, the word might be “beautiful” and they had to run backwards and when they got there, sing a song with the word beautiful in it. They played boys against girls. The girls ended up winning, but next came dodgeball and the boys dominated. Some government officials came to talk to the students and us and see the camp. Two of them had come to Las Cabras during the summer so it was interesting to talk to them about the differences I had seen. Several of the kids were not very happy since these were the same people they were fighting against in their tomas/strikes. We told them to not mix the situations because we didn't want the camps to have a bad light on them. After taking some group pictures, we broke into groups to work on the “In the News” activity where the kids wrote and performed tv news casts for the camp. They all talked about camp news-cold showers, only 2 working showers, dating game, horror night, couples, etc. Then we had the kids make windmills and write anti-bullying slogans and pass them out in the center. It was cool to see them talk to people and explain what we were doing.
The night was planned by group 3 and it was themed as an awards night! They even had awards to hand out. I was nominated for most talkative, cutest couple, and actually won the funniest person award! What an honor! Some of the kids performed (dancing and playing piano) and I was blown away by their talent. We finished off the night with a dance party and limbo contest.
After the kids were all sent to their rooms, we heard girls screaming in the boys room and knew immediately what had happened...they had decided to attack but didn't have any plan. We weren't really angry and had actually planned to organize an attack on the boys later that night, but we went up and chastised the girls for going without us since it was against the rules. After turning off all of the lights and letting them sit in silence for a while, we came up with a plan and woke the girls up to attack yet again! It was so hysterical to hear the boys freak out!!! Even better was hearing about it the next morning!!!
Friday, July 22, 2011
We started out the day playing capture the flag. It was so funny seeing how competitive they all got. We had several stagnant moments, but it finally ended by Chase winning for the other team. I was just glad it was over! Then, we split up into our groups and went around the circle talking about our experiences in camp. Several of the kids were crying as they talked about how sad they were to have camp ending and how much they loved each other. Several of them talked about how this was a family and how much they never wanted to leave.
After we got the kids to calm down, we began the next game, the Amazing Race. We set up 7 stations with different activities for the kids to do at each. My station had them eating a piece of bread with spicy salsa on it and then reading the Peter Piper picked a pepper tongue twister. I laughed sooooooo hard!!! The last station was with Hilda and they had to write I <3 EWC and then tie their socks and shoes into chains.
Since the photo scavengar hunt was a tie, we did a tie breaker contest by having the kids gather sticks for the bonfire that night...since it was yet again a tie, we told them that their reward was the bonfire!!! I caught Pam and Virginia cheating for their team and it became a great joke for the rest of the time.
We then played scattegories which surprised me by being actually very fun and a successful activity. They all got really into it and did really well. When we sent them all to get ready for the bonfire, we caught a few girls in the boys room...again. It was very disappointing because this time they were in their lying on the beds which was very much against the rules. Hilda and I ended up spending some time with them and gave them a big life lesson about why rules matter and how their actions to just affect them but the people who care about them. They all were crying because they really are good kids and felt really bad. They said that they felt horrible about disappointing us and hurting us. It was a very big moment for them to realize that they can't just act on impulse.
After that, we finally all went out and got to enjoy the huge bonfire and smores. It was such a special time to spend with the kids and talk about great memories from camp. They had all gotten so close and become such a close family. I was so sad that my time was coming to a close yet so thankful that I got to end it like this.
The boys had planned to attack the girls (including us volunteers) in order to pay us back for the night before. We really didn't want to deal with that. After all the kids had gone to bed, we blew up balloons and got the main room ready for a party they would never forget. None of the kids actually were asleep and they were mostly in their clothes since the girls thought the boys were going to come to scare them. At 2 a.m., we turned the music up loud and pulled the kids out of bed for one last hoorah! We named the camp king and queen-JP/Cambodia & Sophia. The kids all danced their hearts out until about 4 am, and then we all finally went to bed.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Time for goodbyes, never easy. As we all got ready for the talent show, I stole a few moments by myself to reflect on my time here. Over the last 7 months here in Chile, I have grown so much and really developed myself as a person. I feel so much more comfortable here in this culture than I ever expected, and have truly fell in love with the people here. It is so hard to say goodbye to my life here, but I know for a fact that this is not my last time in Chile. I pray that over the years, I am able to return and see these people that I truly consider family.
As I watched my kids perform for their friends and family, I felt an overwhelming sense of pride and joy. They are all so talented and so wonderful, and I am so blessed to have had them open their hearts to me and allow me to be part of their lives. I will never forget watching Andy, Rulol, Tawatawa, Cambodia, & Rulo dance to Hot & Cold by Katy Pery!! However, even more than that, I will never forget the love these kids showed me and all that they taught me. As we named our best campers-Vale & Rulo-I thought to myself about how special each and every one of these kids were to me and how in just one week, I came to love them all individually. I don't know if any of them will ever read this, but to all of my kids at Winter Camp Cunaquito 2011: Thank you and I will never ever forget you.
My heart will forever be divided with a large piece of it residing here in Chile.