Our six days of English Camp followed an intense schedule. Our small team realized quickly that we have to constantly be thinking ahead and be prepared for the day before the campers arrived. We rise early for breakfast and our team meetings. The campers arrive at 9 a.m. and usually leave between 8:45 and 9 p.m. We then have a team debrief, make sure everything iss in order for the next day, shower, and go to bed usually by midnight.
Our schedule includes a morning program, English class, lunch, crafts, sports, team building, evening program, dinner, and evening activity. One day we have a water day that takes the place of the English class, another two days we have activity days that replace the crafts, sports, and team building. Our schedule is posted and we follow it as closely as possible.
Theme – Our theme this week is Upside/Down and each day we explore in the morning and evening programs a topic that is different in our lives viewed from an upside/down perspective. These topics include happiness, love, forgiveness, and trust. Each morning a team member shares a personal story about the day’s theme leading to discussion questions in our classes. Each evening, the topic is linked to our spiritual lives and a more intense discussion time.
English Class – The camp is advertised to provide conversational English practice for the campers. Josiah Venture stresses that we must provide high quality English classes so we spend a lot of preparation time to make sure that happens. The campers are a mix of Serbian and Hungarian speaking students. On the first day each student is evaluated and placed in a class based upon his/her English speaking ability. Each class has at least two native English speakers, two to four translators, and 5-8 students.
The Josiah Venture lesson plans provide a framework we can use to initiate speaking practice. Each teacher adjusts the plans based upon his/her students. These classes essentially become our small groups and help us organize activities. More importantly they promote connections between the campers, the English speakers, and the local team. The importance of connecting the campers to the local team is so important for the long-term discipleship of these students.
Evening Activities – These are themed nights for fun and learning.
Monday night was Irish night with Andy and Ross telling us about their country, sharing some of their food, and teaching us some Irish dances.
Tuesday night we had a campfire and made s’mores. The kids from Serbia have not had s’mores before so we set up a station with graham crackers and Hershey bars, put marshmallows on their sticks, and showed them how to roast the marshmallows. We brought a large supply of chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers so the campers could have “seconds.” I saw one of our campers asked him if he wanted seconds, he replied “I have five.” Awesome!
Wednesday night was Hawaiian night. We had leis, grass skirts, the limbo, and taught the kids to hula.
Saturday, our last night, was Country Western night. We had cowboy hats, bandanas, and line dancing.