What a great first day with our fantastic Session 1 campers! It’s hard to believe that this group were mostly strangers 12 hours ago. Friendships are emerging, ideas are forming, and learning is happening!
Thanks to a round of energetic ice-breaker games, our campers quickly learned each other’s names and started to find things they have in common. They enjoyed a treasure-hunt type of activity to learn their way around the Koinonia campus, and also learned a bit about what makes this such a special place. As an introduction to the human rights we’ll be exploring every day this week, we watched the video The Story of Human Rights and were challenged to think this week about what each of us can do in our own communities to support human rights and to build peace.
Free time gave some campers the opportunity to get hot and sweaty again on the soccer field, while others took the chance to rest a bit. Then we gathered together again for an activity where each camper was asked to choose three characteristics that described themselves. Each characteristic was represented by a different type of wristband. When every camper had chosen three wristbands, they found others with whom they shared one characteristic, and were asked to find answers to these questions:
- What is one thing that’s positive about being ____________?
- What is one thing that’s not so positive about being _____________?
- What is an assumption that someone who’s not ____________ might make about someone who is ________________?
- What is one thing about being ______________ that you’d like everyone to know?
- What is one important issue you that you might have a different opinion on than others because you are ___________ ?
Answering the questions in their groups proved to be challenging for some, but some very thoughtful answers resulted. Here’s a sample:
One thing positive about being creative is that we find expressing ourselves to come easier.
One thing positive about being vegetarian or vegan is that fewer animals die.
One thing not so positive about being a gamer is that people often get mad (raging) when they lose.
One thing not so positive about being multilingual is that other people might think you are talking about them.
An assumption that someone who’s not vegetarian or vegan might make about someone who is, is that we’ll get grossed out by seeing someone eat meat.
An assumption that someone who doesn’t live in the suburbs might make about someone who does is that there are a lot of robberies.
One thing about being creative that we’d like everyone to know is that all art pieces have meaning.
One thing about being athletic that we’d like everyone to know is that sport is open to everybody.
One issue that we might have a different opinion on because we are multilingual is whether only English should be spoken in the U.S.
One issue that we might have a different opinion on because we are gamers is the impact of gaming on students’ schoolwork.
After dinner our staff presented skits in which people were not being treated with dignity, and campers were invited to enter into the action and transform the situations. The solutions they came up with and acted out were not only insightful but also very entertaining. To an irate “boss” berating his “assistant” for spilling coffee and ruining his “million dollar laptop,” camper Anaya reminded him, “If you bought it once, you can buy it twice!” Other campers jumping into the skits helped remove victims of bullying from demeaning situations, separated arguing classmates, and reminded the actors of the value of each human being. With these acts of respect in mind, campers then created a list of ways that they as a community will honor each other’s dignity this week.
We finished off Day 1 with a sunset hayride around the farm and pecan orchard, an introduction to tomorrow’s activities, and an evening reflection. We’re tired but inspired, and eager for the adventures that this week holds!