Hi! My name is Sarah. I’ve been volunteering with JWOC for the past two weeks at their Summer Camp. The Summer Camp runs for 2 weeks while Khmer Schools are on holidays and is free and available to all.
Day one, I joined up with my new workmates, six high school interns from various schools in Siem Reap who have been selected to help supervise and run the Summer Camp. I can’t wait to work with them for the next 3 weeks. I was met with six huge smiles and instantly found six new friends Srey Ly, Srey Mouv, Thoeur, Sopheak, Yar and Socheata! We got to it straight away; Sarah Crowley (yes that’s right we have two Sarah’s now at JWOC) JWOC’s Education and Volunteer Manager went through the Child Protection Training and gave us an overview of last year’s programs.
The planning begins! As a group we brainstormed craft activities, games, performances and put a plan together ready for camp. It’s interesting that a lot of the games we play in Australia are also popular in Cambodia such as duck, duck, goose and Simon Says.
The next step is advertising; the intern team made flyers and headed to local villages and current classes at JWOC to promote Summer Camp. The children give the interns the feedback that they would like, lots of singing, dancing and painting – Roger that!!
During the week of planning we ran through the games to make sure we all knew how to play, wrapped up our pass the parcel and tried out some of the art projects. I discovered that my drawing skills peak at stick figures and butterflies, luckily the interns on the other hand are extremely creative. Socheata was busy writing a song to sing with the children, while Sopheak came up with educational games about road safety.
Summer Camp starts!
Everyone was excited, the interns asked “Sarah will we have enough students?” I replied “Yes of course” and crossed my fingers that we would. We completed the activity plan for each session stating the resources we need, location, group sizes and contingency plans, bring it on! We were ready for anything.
Summer Camp started at 10am and we had 30 children (YAY!). Yar went through the Summer Camp rules then straightaway we were finger painting.
Many of the children attended JWOC’s art classes on Sunday and are really creative, their drawing and colour blending skills are fantastic.
By the end of the first week we have had a banana eating competition, have read numerous stories (ghost stories are the favorite), played musical chairs, made collages, learnt the chicken dance and painted faces just to name a few. The children are having a ball and are excited each day to take home the craft goodies they have created. Some of the children even take it upon themselves to improve my very average Khmer by pointing at objects and saying bicycle – “kong” , chicken “mourn”etc .
We still have one more week of Summer Camp ahead; I’ve recruited my friend Prue from Australia to join the fun too. We still have three legged races, a talent show, balloon games and yoga to go. I don’t know who will be sadder when Summer Camp ends …. me or the children!