Photo above: Excited explorers at DIODE Kids Camp.
Passport to build
By JASMINE CHUAH
When I arrived at the DIODE kids camp, I had the impression that something really fun was going on. Young campers were in the midst of learning different kinds of “high-fives”.
Laughter and enthusiasm filled the air. As a facilitator, I couldn’t help but smile at the sight.
As the sessions went on throughout the day, I began to glimpse different personalities among the campers. Some children listened intently to their facilitator, others were occupied with something else, while a few kept shyly within their shells.
It was then that the realisation hit me: these campers were going to make DIODE Kids Camp 2015 a very interesting one and a half days!
The DIODE Kids programme is conducted by Leaderonomics for children aged eight to 11. The latest camp was held at Bangunan Bakti Siti Hasmah in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur from June 9-10, 2015.
The theme was “Passport to Build!”. Our campers made short “trips” to different countries in the form of activities to learn these four things:
- Building and respecting identity
Activities were created to make learning fun but at the same time, to teach campers responsibility and respect for each other. The idea was that through play, kids would be able to process information, make decisions and interact better with their peers.
The group comprised kids from all walks of life. A few of them were not as strong in English so it did us facilitators proud to see fellow campers consistently reach out even though it was difficult to communicate.
It was also very heartening to see that the campers didn’t separate into cliques and instead mixed together well. Another inspiring thing was to see some campers take initiative by helping each other out during mealtimes or difficult games.
Overall, we saw that the campers had good hearts and great potential to be leaders in different ways.
Learning through compromise
“From my observation, one key learning point that I believe the participants took away from the programme would be the importance of compromise”, says Majura Perashot, a member of the organising committee.
“We saw them having difficulty with compromising especially when everyone wanted to play the games organised throughout the programme.
“However, as the day passed, I saw that with guidance from our facilitators, they were able to compromise and wait their turns to be heard or to experience the activities planned.”
Leadership through empathy
Campers also learned about empathy. A simple assignment was given at the end of day one, which was to do something nice for someone and show a sense of responsibility.
According to Ameera Hussain, the camp coordinator, “The children were very excited to report on their progress when they had completed their task!”, adding that they were very receptive to the lessons taught.
Dear parents, we hope our campers are still demonstrating empathy and responsibility back home!
At the end of it all, we think that it is safe to say our campers enjoyed themselves throughout camp and learned many new and valuable things about themselves, their newfound friends as well as leadership values.
We really do hope that at the end of the day, each and every one of our campers will grow up to be leaders with solid identities and caring souls. We hope that as leaders they will empower others. Most of all, we hope that they had fun learning.
Scaling the mountains
The biggest struggle for our campers appeared to be working in groups. Sometimes, it can get pretty hard to listen and focus with so many different personalities around.
Here is what our facilitators had to say about their team’s biggest struggles, how they overcame them and what they learnt.
Jean Selvam says:
“The biggest struggle in my group was that the boys were very dominant and seemed to want to lead and take over. The girls were very quiet, even though when asked, they had a lot of opinions. They did not feel comfortable sharing and the boys did not seem to be listening.
“They eventually overcame it when I encouraged one of the boys to ask the girls their opinion. The girls shared more and the boys listened, slowly and with guidance from me. However, they seemed to work well together, and the boys took a step back and made one of the girls the team leader!
“They learned how to respect other people’s opinions and listen to each other’s ideas.”
Daniel Lee says:
“One of the struggles my group faced was getting everyone in the group to be involved in the activities. Once encouraged, the group leader took initiative to involve the youngest member of the group who wasn’t too active. Delegation of roles also helped the children to feel empowered and they became more involved in the activities as a group.
“They learned that everyone is important in a team and that they have to work together to achieve greater things.”
Check out what these M.A.D kids and our equally M.A.D camp facilitators have to say about this year’s camp:
PS. For more exciting photos of DIODE Kids Camp, check out Leaderonomics Youth on Facebook!
Jasmine loves camps, and has learnt that children are magical people who bring with them many inspiring and amusing moments. She believes that learning is best done through play and advocates staying in touch with your inner child regardless of the age you may be. For Starting Young articles, click here. To get in touch with Jasmine, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
First appeared on Leaderonomics.com. Published in English daily The Star, Malaysia, 27 June 2015