Since my last update, life has been somewhat consumed by the planning and implementation of spring camp. Moroccan students get two weeks of spring break, one week in February and one in April. Both weeks are prime time for organizing camp experience in our Dar Chababs and the planning of those camps is an experience, especially if you’ve never taken the lead on organizing one before.
Most camps across the country are day camps, where students come for about four hours a day to participate in English classes and other activities. Our camp was scheduled for five days, running 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., with our activities and English classes centering around health.
Our camp was titled “T– Dar Chabab Healthy Mind, Healthy Body Spring English Language Camp,” which in hindsight seems kind of an extravagant amount of words. “A healthy mind in a healthy body” is actually an expression in Arabic, so the kids related to it.
Knowing most of my regular Dar Chabab students are in middle and high school, I structured the camp for those age groups. Throughout the week, myself, two other American volunteers (yay for Liz and Leah!!!!), three Moroccan adults, and representatives from two associations collectively provided four and a half hours of English classes, 2 hours of diabetes education, 2 hours of AIDS education and activities, 4 hours worth of sports activities, and one really awesome talent show in which one of the entries was “a series of pushups.”
Not to mention songs and games thrown in at random intervals.
While overall the camp was successful, we did run up against some issues that will hopefully be corrected in our next camp (April is coming up fast).
The first problem was our sign up process. I started a sign up sheet and we quickly surpassed our limit of 47 people, after which point I had to begin turning people away. Day 1 of camp begins and only 26 people show up. By the end of camp we had 20. That’s a nice-sized group to do activities with, but not when you consider what the original number was supposed to be. The solution? Parent permission forms and a small fee.
Problem two: while most of the Moroccans working with us at the camp were great, talented, skilled individuals, some of them had never given a presentation before, meaning their workshops were a bit disorganized. Prior to the April camp, I’m hoping to do a training for those who will be working with us to get everyone on the same page regarding the camp’s goals and procedures.
Despite those two issues, however, I thought we put on a pretty good camp.
We had art activities. Sports. Dancing. Joke telling. All the good stuff.
Now. Deep breath. On to April.