Hearing about the traveling camp from my site mate and how much fun she had had two summers ago running it with fellow volunteers, was the impetus that caused me to apply to host it last summer for the village children. I thought that teaching the youngsters about foreign cultures and peoples would be a wonderful way to expand their minds and to introduce them to the concept of global citizenship. Happy was I when the hosting committee selected my site to organize the camp for the third consecutive year. Each volunteer who has served in this community has hosted the camp. How cool is that?
When I notified my school officials about the good news, they were thrilled to help me make it happen for the students. The principal made photocopies of the permission slips needed for the intended campers, my counterpart helped me announce it to all eligible participants, and my other counterpart expressed interest in coming to the camp in July. It was a piece of cake, thankfully, recruiting other volunteers to help me run the camp, and my students expressed their excitement in joining the camp. This was my first time ever doing such a thing. The first day of camp started on July 18, and everyone was ready to embark on this adventure Around the World from the villatic milieu of Slavko Lumbarkovski Primary School. On average, we had about 20 children each day, some younger and some older than the targeted amount. My site mate’s colleague came daily to help with the interpreting, and her counterpart visited on the final day of camp for the local mayor’s appearance. The mayor shook every camper’s hand as I distributed their certificates, which featured a map of each country they learned about that week (i.e., Egypt, Peru, New Zealand, India, and the USA). One of the highlights of this camp for me was when one of my stellar English students took the exuberant initiative to prepare a Power Point presentation on world currency that he gave with his older sister after some encouragement to overcome his public speaking jitters. He asked for my advice days before the presentation and was so enthused to work on it. While hosting a traveling camp took much planning and energy to organize, I could not have done it without the cooperative aid of my volunteer friends and colleagues who gave 110% every day.
Undoubtedly, the children enjoyed having my friends here and were sad to see them go. But some of them asked me about hosting one the following year, and when school started in Sept., some of them shared their experience in English class. Many of them would like to travel to the countries that we explored through music, dance, games, sports and arts & crafts. I believe that they will as global citizens in the making!