Thursday, July 3, 2008

It Grows on You

One of the skills we are working to develop in the kids is the ability to play, and loose, well. The kids spend about 45 minutes in the cafĂ©, each day playing board games, and doing other activities. It’s been a learning experience for all involved, as volunteers learn how to respond when a checker board goes flying after someone has lost, and the kids learn that behavior is not acceptable. The volunteers are doing a great job of helping the kids talk through their frustration. They’re slowly learning to talk it out and when in doubt take the issue to a leader, instead of handling it with fists and shouting.

Working with these kids can be a little overwhelming the first day, especially with the acoustics at the Community Canter, but it has been neat to see the volunteers growing in their comfort and ability when dealing with these issues. The first week, one of the volunteer asked another if she had fun with the kids that day. Her immediate response was “No, but I’ll be back,” and she has been, twice a week, every week. This ministry isn’t for the faint hearted - those who are seeking to stay comfortable. It’s stretching and even uncomfortable at times, but it’s also one that works its way into your heart. I can personally attest, it may take some time, but it grows on you.

Crazy Fun

By week 2, the word had gotten out. We went from having an average of 22 kids a day to an average of 28 kids, with fewer volunteers. Put it all together and it’s a deadly combination, especially on the days we had 32 kids and only 6 volunteers. Regardless, of the craziness however, we had a lot of fun, and evidently the kids did as well as the program continues to grow.

We continued our study of the 7 continents, as we learned about the countries in Europe, the polar bears and penguins in Antarctica, and the land down under. Friday we were set to make booklets where each child could write a fact, or draw a picture that pertained to each Continent. Unfortunately, we had to push that to Monday, due to the fact we cancelled the program on Friday because of a lack of volunteers. If you’re not doing anything next Friday you should come on out!


The first Friday was a little crazy with 24 kids, but was probably my favorite day of the first week. The theme of the day was Africa, and after Mr. Curtis taught them about traditional ceremonial masks used in different tribes, all the kids had the chance to make their own. The picture above should give you an idea of how what was supposed to be “just for decoration” evolved. While the older group was content to make the masks and let them dry all the little ones had to have a string attached so that they could wear them and scare each other. It was definitely a hit.

The Adventure Begins: Week 1

The first week was definitely an adventure and I was so glad that Amy was there to take the lead. The first day started with several new volunteers, who we were very thankful to have, and a few from the afterschool program. Altogether there were about 10 volunteers, all of whom were much needed. As we set up for the day, we did a run through of the day and a quick training for the new volunteers. Then Amy went to invite the kids. At 1:15, all hands were on deck as we wrote out 24 name tags and tried to keep the noise down, while we directed the kids to their age-specific groups.

Being the teacher extraordinaire that she is, Amy has designed curriculum for the entire summer centering on the theme, “Our World.” The three stations, Arts and Crafts, Education, and Games and Activities, are designed to link together, and focus on the theme of each day. The first two weeks the spotlight was on the 7 Continents. The first day was an introduction, but each day afterwards the kids learned about the animals, countries, flags, and some of the landmarks on each continent. During craft time, we were even brave enough to attempt a glitter project, which the kids loved.