Spring Camp “Adventure Begins”

The Camp

Adventure Begins:  “Unusual, exciting, daring”

The camp was born out of the desire to nurture the mental wellbeing of the children at Korando. For this we created a space for the children to feel heard and seen, to share, to explore and to have an unforgettable experience. 

By nurturing the adventure spirit in each student, we foster a curiosity to think outside of the box. They got to colour outside the lines, learn new ideas, work through challenges, play games and just be children.

Every child has something special that they bring to the world and the camp gave them an opportunity to discover that for themselves.

Objectives

1. Unconstrained creativity

All the activities were set up in a way that allowed the students the freedom to create without the pressure of grades.

They created art, played games and solved challenges as a team. With guidance from a facilitator, each team had a task and it was up to them to decide which way they tackled it, while staying within certain guidelines.

2. A new learning environment

The camp was set up in a non traditional way. Sitting in groups, as opposed to lines facing the front, as is usual in a school setup. This allowed for different learning styles which helped each student to be engaged.

Most activities were outdoor, which allowed the participants to engage with nature as they learned.

3. Friendships based on shared interests

The students in each team forged friendships based on a working relationship. They learned different things based on their approaches to challenges.

4. Independence

Having time away from their parents allowed them to learn how to make decisions and solve problems on their own. This helped them build confidence and feel empowered.

5. Self-discovery

The activities they took part in gave them a better sense of who they are and where their strengths and shortcomings are. Some of the activities intentionally created tension within a team. Challenges are a great tool for self examination.

6. Self Awareness

With the different emotions that came out during the camp, the facilitators were especially on the look out for what was going on with each individual student. Depending on what happened in their emotional landscape, there were prompts to guide a dive into these spaces.

The backbone of mental health is self awareness which is a major part of the Mind Literacy programme that the high school students go through.

Activities Examples

Balloon train activity

Here teams worked together to navigate an obstacle course while keeping the train intact. They learned from having to go back to the beginning the importance of keeping tabs on every member of the team, effective communication, and how to deal with their feelings of frustration, disappointment and even anger.

This was a successful activity in bonding as every team needs to navigate conflict to build a better working relationship.

We noticed that after this the participants were able to focus better on working as a team. They had exposed their strengths and weaknesses and could now get to their strategy for challenges faster.

Adventure in movement: Better when I’m dancing”

Here each team together with facilitators choreographed a dance to this song specifically chosen for its feelgood beats and the message.

The idea was for everyone to put themselves out there. This is a good activity to break down barriers to allow everyone to be silly. To just have fun. This activity was a success with every team participating, at the end each team performed and was rated by other teams. A learning point was that in taking themselves each team awarded themselves 10/10 points except the winning team. Which left all of us thinking about integrity.

Mini yoga session

It was a lovely set up under the trees in the shade with colourful lesos. We took them through a short flow to bring them more in touch with their bodies. The thought behind this is to expose them to different ways in which to engage the body as well as give them tools for coping with the anxiety that can come in life.

So often the things we learn in childhood stay with us and become useful tools for our adult lives. Yoga and meditation are a beautiful way for the young minds to start to engage with their inner world. The end of the session is a thanking of the body for all the ways it shows up for us.

The cookout

The chefs had laid out a professional cooking station and every participant was expertly guided through each step. From scratch the teams made wraps and fried the filling and each participant made their very own wrap which they enjoyed as they went home. This activity was interesting in a cultural setup where it’s the girls duty to cook while boys do other things. Part of the objective was to challenge some of the normal ways of cooking and roles around cooking, which we did.

Core Values and Messages

We are passionate about youth and are equipping them to face life as empowered and as confident as they can be. Our camp “Adventure begins” embodied this by fostering the following values:

Participation

We believe that every person brings something special to a team and we strive to ensure every member participates in each activity.

Team work

We allow teams to create a rhythm that works for them, through the various activities they are tested and they learn from each other.

Critical thinking

We have set out to challenge the thinking patterns of the participants through challenges that have no straightforward solutions.

Independent thinking

We are committed to nurturing young people with a mind of their own, whose choices come from within, rather than being swayed by the masses.

Creativity

We encourage participants to trust their own ideas and express them fully. At the same time they get to witness others approach the same challenge in their own way.

Exploration

We value curiosity so much that we have set out to expose the participants to different cultures and cuisines. For example the cook out. What could have been chapati and stew for a Kenyan, became beef wrap from Mexico. We aimed to inspire the participants to ask what else is out there in the world.

Active Listening

We strive for everyone to feel seen, heard and known as a person who matters. An important part of the camp is the facilitator-participant interaction. Every facilitator knows their team through conversations, questions and comments.

During the week we received a surprise visit from the Director of Social Services in Kisumu, who was very excited and intrigued by the nature of the camp. She encouraged the children to embrace such activities and praised the organisers for thinking about the innovative way to engage children during the holiday period.

Conclusion

This was an impactful activity for everyone involved. The children got to have a week of new and exciting activities. There were many new bonds created and so much learning internally and externally. Everyone involved learned something new and the camp lived up to the theme Adventure Begins.

May 13, 2021

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