I would say that 2016 is the year where I got involved mostly with kids. Whether it be at kids' church, different summer-camps or our homeschooling group, I had the chance to hang out with people a lot younger than me who all taught me different things that includes patience, perseverance, gentleness and a whole lot more. What I would consider as the highlight of my year though is the recent summer camp I've been a part of – KidsGames. A lot of you may know what it is and some of you may be totally blank. If you want to know more about KidsGames, do read my previous post about it last year here.
I know this post is a bit out-dated and really late but to tell you the truth, I have been working on this for a few weeks now but never really got to edit and successfully publish it. Thankfully, it's here now and here's what you have to know and figure out in a volunteer's perspective.
KidsGames 2016 happened in Gloria Hotel which took place for 3 whole days. (Aug 20-22) Kids from ages 5 - 11, all coming from different backgrounds, religion or nationalities joined together to have three days of new discoveries, new-found friends, competitions and just fun. Volunteers also, came from different churches, some from far away – to help and make KidsGames a lot more organized and enjoyable for the kids.
I was part of the Tribe Leaders who were in charge of a certain group of kids and led their team which were all named after top countries in the Olympic Games. I was the leader of team Brazil and boy it was wonderful working with my team – although there were those stubborn ones who never really paid attention. Teenagers were encouraged to be part of the Tribe Leaders as it really takes a lot of energy to run and chase after kids, which also required 100% patience. Without patience, it would definitely be of no use to try working with children. Perseverance comes second, just going on encouraging each child to participate and get crazy, leaving their timidity behind. Gentleness comes next. Although there were times that I just wanted to stump my feet in disappointment whenever my team wouldn't pay attention, or raise my voice to get their focus, none of those would work. Reflecting on my childhood years, I wouldn't also want a leader-stranger who would just shout at me – I would prefer a calm voice talking to me and telling me what to do next.
To give you a full scope of KidsGames, here's a little summary:
Day 1 - The hotel was fully packed, with children and parents excited to start the event. The registration table was busy accommodating everyone. Some kids were totally fine with their respective teams while some seemed so unsure. Finally after the countdown, KidsGames has officially begun – starting it with a prayer, the lighting of the torch, the national anthem, the pledge and so on. Next comes the part I loved the most ... dancing! Don't get me wrong. I don't love dancing, but all Tribe Leaders up on stage being crazy and energetic in front of kids is just on point. I love all of the songs and probably enjoyed it more than the kids did. Here's our playlist. The Games and Bible Discovery followed up, with the former done by the younger group of kids and the latter by the older group of kids. As this summer camp also involves a serious competition not only with the kids but also the Tribe Leaders, everyone were on the go when it came to playing. All children were hyped up and did their very best to win each game. Part of KidsGames is what is called the Bible Discovery. All the children were encouraged to go a step further and learn more about what they believe in. However, if kids aren't comfortable with the set-up, they could be excused and do something else instead. Before the day ended, the kids were also excited to join different electives to develop their skills or discover what they're best at such as cooking, art, karate, lego, dance and probably the one they enjoyed the most – Boot Camp! Not to mention the Nerf-Gun battle!
Day 2 - Most of the kids came back and a few more were added to the number. Also, the best part of the event was when everyone were to donate old stuff or buy necessities like food, toothpaste etc that would be distributed to labor camps and other suffering countries. What made us all more interested in it was the idea of competing which team collects more and receive an award. The same things happened like the previous day. Only, unlike the first day where time was limited because of the opening ceremony, the 2nd day was more relaxed – for the kids and leaders. The First aid team were also on the watch as anytime a child would get hurt or injured, they were the ones responsible of making sure no one gets seriously sick whatsoever. In my team however, there's this little girl who complained of everything that hurts, whether it be the tip of her nose, her hairline, her head, stomach and some few parts of her body. Still, my awesome assistant leaders couldn't resist her and so they had to bring her to the First aid station to be safe.
Day 3 - During the third day, I could feel that the children on my team were more pressured to win the games. They kept on bugging me about our scores, the medals, the trophies and so on. During lunch time, as we were seated on our table, when I grew tired of answering all of their questions about the scores, I told them that winning didn't really matter. What was more important was their new-found friends, all of the fun, the things they learned and simply for being part of the summer camp. They all looked at me and agreed that the medals didn't matter nor the prices at the end. So for the rest of the day, they never asked me about the scores anymore. We all just did what we were supposed to do and had fun. When the closing ceremony begun, all my kids were excited and finally when our team was called up on stage to receive our special award which was the "Most Friendly Award", I couldn't help but to smile seeing their faces all lit up with joy. Team Japan in the younger group won as the champion along with Team France in the older group of kids. Last but not the least, the bomb on the closing ceremony was when we all danced to My Lighthouse with matching glow-sticks on our wrists. Nothing could ever beat that!
None of those days were easy for everyone. There were sacrifices made and a whole lot of effort put into that made KidsGames possible. Even then, seeing all the children happy and enjoying as a leader myself, I could not thank God enough for being with all of us since the training until the end.
KidsGames may have ended, but it's coming soon again! Why not give it a try this time? I promise you'd enjoy it..
Credits to all owners of the photos
I live an ordinary life; striving and making it work in the giant sandpit aka Dubai. My life isn't perfect (I wish it was!) But I guess there's something about the imperfection in my journey that makes it worth the write and share. I believe that we don't have to have everything figured out because if we do, a lifetime won't be enough...
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