After having three camps canceled on me this summer, I finally found one to work at, a week-long day camp organized by two of my closest neighbors in a town halfway between T– and the coast. While slightly smaller than my town, theirs has a gigantic Dar Chabab with lots of kids, many of whom came to hang out with us for the week. We had about 40 kids and seven Peace Corps Volunteers, not to mention the great Moroccan staff members we worked with, which is a ridiculously low ratio compared to what you will usually find, and as a result, class sizes were small and things were awesome.
When I say kids, I mean our 16-22 year-old campers. Most were either in high school or university, and there was a pretty good mix of English levels. We taught four levels of English, with my class being a collection of 11 intermediate speakers.
Our camp, unlike the spring camp held in T–, was a day camp, and a half-day camp where our involvement was concerned.
Myself, three volunteers from the region, and one volunteer for whom participation meant a two-day bus trip from her site all piled into the apartment of the two volunteers organizing the camp, both of them from my training group.
The day we arrived, we all sat down for a meeting with the director of the camp, who also serves as the director of the Dar Chabab there. We talked over the schedule and got a tour of the Dar, which is huge compared to the one in T–. They have a whole compound area, complete with a large auditorium, a basketball court, several large classrooms, a library, and a smaller field for soccer.
We took over the morning portion of the camp, each of us teaching an hour and a half of English, leading a club activity, and then collectively leading a larger full-camp activity. My English class was intermediate, as I said, which was nice because they understood enough already for me to speak entirely in English.
Clubs I was directly involved in included team-building, art, frisbee, and girls’ empowerment, all held on various days. While we all assisted in each of the full-camp activities, mine included a camp-wide scavenger hunt that I thought the kids enjoyed quite a bit. Other days we did environment clubs, ping pong competitions, a water-Olympics of sorts, an egg-drop competition, really a full week.
After a morning of crazy and fun, we all ate lunch together and then the Americans would head home to wilt in front of our fans for a few hours until it was (marginally) cool to resume movement (read my previous post on the temperature).
Our final day of camp, was the obligatory “spectac” or talent show. The spring camp I worked at had one of these every night, which the Moroccans love. We used the opportunity to have the whole camp sing happy birthday to one of our fellow volunteers.
Besides being a good time and good work after a month of nothing, camp was also a chance to find out how well we worked together as volunteers. I got placed in a pretty awesome region where the volunteers are pretty supportive of each other, and mostly we just really enjoyed hanging out together for the week. We cooked dinner together every night. We sat up late chatting. A bunch of people went running together in the morning.
It was also a way to wrap up and say goodbye to one of us, a volunteer from my training group who decided it was time to go home. It was a sad thing to see her go, because she would have done great things here (instead of doing them in the U.S. like she will now), but it was also good to talk with her and know she was leaving because she knew it was the right thing. We will miss her.