Letter to parents – Day One
Your loss is our gain. While you may be missing your children at home, we are enjoying their wonderful company.
On a nice rainy day the children assembled at APS Mumbai on the morning of Tue 18 Jun 13 all set for their Leadership Outbound camp. They were full of curiosity and imagination wondering how the coming three days are going to be for them. They set course at 06.45 am. A new bus, undefined potholes, unpredictable traffic conditions – all led to a delay and the children arrived at the camp at 12.45 pm. They made the best of these long hours singing, playing games like Movie Atlas etc and even catching up with some sleep deficiency. Being hungry as we had predicted we laid out breakfast and lunch together and allowed them to make their own concoctions of a ‘brunch’.
We started with getting their expectations from the camp and captured them on the Flipchart. Its there on the album. We then asked them how they thought we could have real great time during. Among other things they all felt we need to have some ‘ground rules’. So we asked them to formulate rules. And they unanimously agreed that if the rules were not followed they need to be punished. The punishment decided by them is ‘Titanic’. Lookout for the pics tomorrow. You will find some ‘Titanic’ for sure ! We also nominated some appointments – we will announce the list in the next news bulletin.
In our discussion we realized that the children today get pressurized because of competition. So we decided to go in for participation and collaboration as our theme for this camp. We deviated from our normal Team formulation, Flag Making, Slogan shouting etc and are going to change teams and leaders for every activity.
A camp like this must begin with introductions. We formed them into 3 teams and they got to know each other by first creating a group identity on a chart and then presenting to the other two teams and all of us. It served as a perfect Ice Breaker.
It was raining. We love to get wet. And we strongly believe in two facts of life
· Human body is insoluble in water
· Skin is waterproof
And we have an opinion. Getting wet leads to falling sick is a myth.
So we decided to first finish some indoor activities and then spend some time in rain.
We started with a creative activity – Launch Kraft. Children were given some material like newspaper, balloons, rubber bands, Cello tape, drinking straws etc. They were to design a launch craft (we spell it as Kraft) in which a delicate equipment (an egg) was to be dropped from a height of 30 ft and it should not be damaged. One member of a team went up on a rope ladder and dropped its team’s equipment. (Please see the album). Only one team succeeded.
The next was Frenzy. An activity which highlights the importance of collaboration. The pics will give u an idea. We will not like to disclose the details here. But one thing is sure. We all learned that to always compete may not lead us to success, and that sometimes collaboration may be better than competition. We did this in rain !
Now was the turn of a Team Building activity. We went out in the rain to do ‘Drums and Planks’. Each team had to move forward to cover a piece of ground without stepping on it. They had three drums and two planks and 5-6 brains to do it. Great fun !
We ended the day’s activities with a treasure hunt. It had become dark by then – so no pics !
After ‘Me Time’ which they spend as they like to recap and reflect on the day’s activities, we sat down for creating our Campus Newspapers. U will see the pics on Day 3.
We are all set for Day 2 which will start at 06.30 am with a ‘morning Fitness session’ which will have Recreational PT. This will be followed by EX PRAHAR in which two teams will get max points by doing 12 (8 team and 4 individual) activities in a given time frame. We will then go for a Village Tour. After lunch we will have some exciting activities.
We had sent out sms’s to parents and Principal after the children reached. We are now sending out mails.
Please let us have your correct e mail IDs and Cell Nos so that we keep u updated.
Pictures also on FaceBook
We went to bed last night with great expectations. The campers had a fair idea of what was in store for them. They woke up without a problem and after their Bournvita were all set for the great day ahead. We started the day with a prayer – alongwith a little gyan on the power of prayers. Had an energetic ‘good morning’ , ‘good morning’ and then we were on one hour of a Morning Fitness session. A recreational PT with games, songs and dances. I don’t think they will ever forget ‘Hariyali Idhar udhar’.
The event of the day was ‘EX PRAHAR’. This is a mission in which the best Regiment of Blue Land is to be selected for a national honour. It involves doing a set of 12 activities in 2 hours! The activities are open for a fixed time, are located at different places and carry different points. They involve mental, emotional and physical attributes in a team. The teams get an hour to strategise and plan. The children had to address each other as commandos and were wearing ‘patkas’ too. A very high energy activity that brought out many lessons which were captured on a video. The pictures in the album also speak for themselves.
Exhausted but still with a lot of ‘go’ the students got into a van (in the absence of bullock carts, which is the usual mode) to go for a ‘village tour’. This gives the children an exposure to rural life. At the village the children saw the well, drew water and drank it, went to a school and interacted with students of Cl X. They were rather surprised at the high level of discipline, knowledge and facilities they observed. They said they did not expect all this in a village. They went around the village and saw various aspects of it. Tasmay was amazed to see a one day Calf who also licked him! The children had lunch, cooked for them in the village, village style!
Back at the camp it was time for a ‘Nature’ Game. Its called ‘A to Z’. Four teams were to find one item each starting from each alphabet. So we saw A for ant, B for Bud, C for Chilly, G for Grass and so on.
DCC (Dynamic Challenge Course was the next activity. Two teams had to cross each other with certain parameters. They had to plan and execute. It was total team work with some brilliant lessons that emerged. The debrief generated an interesting discussion on how collaboration may be a better option than competition, and how we are conditioned to jump into competition without even pausing to think. The students also brought out that they are under stress when adults just don’t understand them . (Caution, adults !! We need to be aware of their feelings – right or wrong !)
The day ended with a good game of football and volley ball.
The appointments at the camp –
- Chief editor – Alamelu Iyer
- Food member – Tanisq Pardesi
- Camp Fire – Harsh Ajmera
After Dinner (continental menu today after the Chinese dinner last night), we sat down to discuss tomorrow’s trek up the hill. The campers collectively decided what they will like to carry and eat on top of the hill. When they were told that they have to carry all the stuff and how economy was an important part of life, we saw sugar fropping from 1 kg to 200 g, butter from 500 to 200 and so on. You will see more of this in tomorrow’s bulletin.
Pictures are up on FaceBook http://goo.gl/G8AJu
The excitement was great this morning when campers were all up, ready for the trek they were looking forward to. Armed with all that they had spelt out the evening before, they set course with Neelu Mam and her team of Sachin and Kalpesh. It was cloudy but no rain.
They came out with wonderful outcomes from the various experiences they had on this trek. One of the most fascinating things was the ‘Trust walk’. Please see the pics to get an idea of what they did. They all had to move blindfolded with only 2 campers who could see but were dumb. Another experience was a ‘picnic’ on top of the hill with knick knacks they planned and carried. They found they had carried extra butter, cucumber and salt but fell short of bread and sugar. Nimbu Pani was a great hit. Empathy for the blind, trusting people around you and focus on your task were some of the lessons they came back with.
They were told to collect items from nature that will help them make a collage on their return to the base. The theme was ‘Preserving Nature’. Three teams made beautiful collages. Lot of imagination and creativity went in. But the rain came in and spoiled them a little. It was a pretty good effort.
Tired they were! So it was time for some indoor work. We got them to do some miming. No sound, no props – expressing only through acting. It was good fun. There were four teams with different situations. They had to act them while other teams guessed the story. Brilliant experience !
After lunch we went for the climax activity – Raft Building. In two teams they had to build a raft and then the team had to row to the end of the lake and fetch its flag. It started raining and they were wet in rain, building the raft. The rowing was fun in rain. After the event they spent 30 mins swimming in the lake.
They were given time to prepare for the Campfire. After dinner we started the camp fire. Students came out with a skit and a few songs. They also sand a hindi song which was later translated into English and sung on ‘Fevicol’ tune. You may get to see it on a video on YouTube.
Now they are into finishing touches of the Campus Newspaper.
Most of them, at the moment, are feeling bad that the camp has ended too soon. We will do a small ‘nature activity’ tomorrow after which we will have a closing session and they leave.
Pictures are up on FaceBook http://goo.gl/UGYtq
As all good things must come to an end, so has this camp.
We, at EMPOWER, are missing the children. It was funnnnn….n being with them.
My last communication with you was soon after midnight last night – about 20 hours ago. As the children have already reached home and i have already spoken to the Principal and one parent, I think u will probably already know what I am writing, so I will be brief.
In the morning the campers woke up late. They were late for the first activity and they were again late for the closing session. We took some time working on the value and importance of ‘time’ as also ‘commitment’. I have a feeling, the message did sink.
We started the day with an environmental workshop where the campers did kitchen gardening, saw how we do drip irrigation, rain water and waste water harvesting and so on.
After this, on their request, we went through an Obstacle Course and Burma Bridge as some of them had missed it.
After breakfast we assembled for the Closing Session. This is an important part of our program. We re visited the expectations and discovered that ‘all’ campers said they got much more than what they had expected. We then asked them to write their ‘Takeaways’ – what values / lessons they picked up from the experiences at the camp. They have all written 5 most important ones and signed them. We will share these with the Principal and the parents. We will like to together help the children to work on what they think is important for them to shape their lives. We had decided on Day One that a common aim for all of us was to make our lives ‘happier’. We will now help them in that direction.
We then did levitation – in which Jasmine was lifted by 4 campers who used 4 fingers each. (please see the pic). This was to sum up effect of ‘Team Work’. What we all, as a team decide to do, we end up doing, no matter how difficult it appears.
All campers wrote on a parchment what they thought of each other and they have carried them along. Do have a look at it.
We ended the closing session with distribution of certificates.
The camp has not really ended. In fact it has begun, now. Whatever triggered as sparks have now to be fueled to create flames – or even an inferno. We will support you to do that.
Some comments from parents
Dear Mr Bhasin,
I saw the pics and I could really feel how emancipated the children seem to be. This camp is doing wonders I think. I appreciate the interaction in the village… the children who live in the upper up scale metros need to be associated with ground reality at some point of their lives.
Thank you for giving them this wonderful opportunity and for keeping us updated.