Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Camp Unity: A Weekend Focused on Leadership and Multiculturalism

Last weekend, I worked at my friend Alison's weekend camp at her school. She organized a weekend camp called Camp Unity and invited about 10 other Peace Corps Volunteers to work as counselors and teachers. The camp was a great success, we had kids from 7th-11th grade attend and divided up into 6 teams of about 10 students. Here are some highlights from the camp!

I led the Pink Team with my friend Avital (from Dnepropetrovsk)... guess who decorated our team room? I'm glad that Avital knows so many great team cheers, I'm embarrassed to say that I've forgotten a lot of cheers from my swimming days.

Props to Avital for the best team cheer!
Pink team and green team together at team time. 
The first thing that we did with our campers was Living Libraries, which was great because they got to ask us questions about ourselves and we got to judge their level of English. I was glad that Alison asked her students to prepare some questions and impressed with what they came up with. I got asked some really great questions, such as what has been my most exciting moment in my life and what traditions do I have in my family.

Catherine sharing her experiences. 
Showing photos of my family. 
Next, we split up the teams and taught lessons. I taught a lesson about multiculturalism with Carolina and Ira. We talked about the difference between a stereotype and discrimination. It was really interesting to hear what the kids thought were different stigmas and stereotypes in Ukraine. We also had lessons on leadership, which included a really crazy team building challenge - the teams were given 25 balloons and a roll of tape, then asked to design a chair that would support the weight of 1 person. This turned out to be hilarious, I'm glad that Tiago found this challenge on YouTube :)

This was the most successful balloon chair - a round pouf designed by the counselors. 

The kids found a loophole where they could also use their hands in addition to the balloons and tape. 
In the afternoon, we had some game time where the kids were given the choice of art class, music class, playing Mafia (the card game) or playing American football outside. We also played some standard American camp games throughout the whole camp such as the Tram of Love, People to People, Hee-Ho-Ha, name games, etc.

Nathan leading "Hello, my name is Joe and I work at a button factory"
American football outside... thank goodness there isn't snow yet. 
Music class with Tiago. 
Art class with Danny and Shannon.
Mafia with Nathan and Catherine. 
Anyways, I think that the camp was a great experience for Alison's students and I'm glad that I was able to be a part of it. I wrote a VAST grant for PEPFAR funds earlier this fall and I will be planning a camp focused on HIV/AIDS trainings for my 9th and 10th form students, and a 1-day seminar for my 11th form students in the spring... I hope my project turns out as well as this one!


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