Monday, August 5, 2013

Never Ending Stairs

There are 60 steps from my room at camp to the attic where my classroom is. On the last day of class I went up those steps at least a dozen times. That's 720 steps without counting trips down the stairs or all the trips I made just to the second floor. Sixty steps to drop off camera and water bottle. Sixty steps to come back up with a towel for feet washing. Sixty more to bring up the bucket of water. Another trip to get the lesson from my room. And another to get a spoon for food day. There was a trip for taking the food up to the classroom. One to get paper towels. Then later trips to put away sports equipment. After two weeks of hiking every morning I could feel each step in my legs. Exhausting, but so worth it. Food day is one of the best days of camp. It is great to watch the expressions of the campers and counselors as they try new foods, especially anything slightly spicy. Hot Tamales usually get the best reaction.

The Bible lesson for the day was Jesus washing his disciples' feet. To help reinforce this we washed the feet of our students. None of the boys would do it, but most of the girls allowed us to wash their feet.

Not enjoying the food

So hot!

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Day in the Life

4:50 am: Wake up
5:00 am: Shower
6:30 am: Hike
6:40 am: Nosebleed, walk uphill with head tilted back for 5-10 minutes
7:30 am: Lesson Planning with Katie
8:00 am: Staff Meeting
8:30 am: Breakfast
9:30 am: Chapel
9:35 am: Already hot and sleepy
10:00 am: Can barely keep eyes open
11:00 am: Class
11:15 am: Class is not going well
12:00 pm: Take class to the store for snacks and ice cream
12:50 pm: Arrive back at camp, release students for lunch
1:00 pm: Lunch
1:30 pm: Free time/fill up water balloons
2:30 pm: Workshops. Water day.
5:15 pm: Final workshop over. Drenched with pool water
5:20 pm: Change of wet clothes, hang them on line to dry
6:00 pm: Supper
6:30 pm: Free time
7:00 pm: Evening activity--Sharks and Dolphins/Prison Break
8:00 pm: Closing Chapel
8:10 pm: American Staff Meeting
10:45 pm: Blog
11:00 pm: Play Prawo dżungli or sleep?

The ammunition

So proud of their creation

Bucket Race

Great way to cool off

Saturday, July 27, 2013

God Loves a Cheerful Giver

It is better to give than to receive. That was the lesson of the day for the students. To illustrate this, we gave them gifts. My class got cookies from me and candy from Lisa. Then the students had a chance to give. They made cards for the pastor to take when he visits people who are ill. The kids really enjoyed making the cards. Our students love to draw.Some didn't want to give their cards up at first. Here they are showing off their work.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Play Ball!

It is always fun to see a kid get really excited about learning something new. It is even better when that something new is your favorite sport and a sport that doesn't really exist in their country. One of our students has fallen in love with baseball (or softball since we've been pitching underhand). Every free moment she wants to be pitched to so she can practice hitting. She also happens to be really, really good. She picked up on hitting instantly and started to somewhat take a step at the start of her swing before I ever explained that part to her. Now we are working with keeping her weight on her back foot. Once she learns to use her legs for power she will be amazing. It saddens me to think that she won't have the opportunity to play on a team because she would be a star. I'm so happy to see that some of the campers have taken an interest in the game. In past years that hasn't been the case. It also gives me a chance to bond with her more than I did last year. The relationships we build are the best part of the camp, but they are also what makes it so hard to leave.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Rocket Men

"Let me do it, let me do it. I'm a teacher. I do this every year!" Famous last words. For their classes today, Pastor and Shane talked about the Southeastern United States. Lisa suggested they do a rocket launch with plastic bottles, vinegar, and baking soda to demonstrate NASA. Before class this morning, they tested it. After a couple failed attempts, Lisa took over. As she started to turn the bottle upside down for the launch, the lid came off and the rocket took off spraying Lisa with the vinegar/baking soda concoction. It was the highlight of my day.

In sports we taught the kids baseball using wiffle balls. They seemed to really like it and some of the kids could hit really well. I had a lot of fun sharing my favorite sport with the campers and counselors.

preparing the rocket

launch attempt

The Boss learning how to swing

Slugger that broke a wiffle ball

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Joy Like a Fountain

"A day without laughter is a day wasted."  --Nicolas Chamfort

We had lots of laughter in our first full day of camp. In class students learned about family. In workshops they made tie-dye t-shirts and beady buddies. Sports today was kickball and music had them all up singing and dancing. Our evening activity was Captain, Captain. These kids are always so much fun. They are so full of love and hugs. It is a joy and a privilege to be here with them. Today I will let pictures do the talking.

Kickball when both balls get kicked into the creek

Let's dance!

Showing off a work in progress

Monday, July 22, 2013

And So It Begins

"Here's a pencil and an eraser. Find a place to sit down and write a paragraph in English about why you want to learn English."

For some these words were met with a smile and a nod, for others wide-eyed panic. Writing, the third and final stage of pre-camp evaluation for the students (following question and answer sessions), was the most intimidating. Some of the younger students insisted in Polish that they could not do it. Emily, the counselor assigned to help, did her best to coax them into at least trying. A few still turned in blank sheets, but some wrote beautiful paragraphs. I learned from their essays that a large portion of the students hope to someday travel to, or possibly live in London. Some want to be architects, some teachers, and some want to turn 18 so they can get a driver's license. It was nice to see returning students and meet the new ones. All but one of my students from last year are back at camp.

Arrival day at camp is always a light day. Once the evaluations were complete, scores were tallied, and students were divided up into classes. After the evening welcome, students were introduced to their teachers and given a tour of the camp. Following a little play time and an evening prayer, students were sent to bed.