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It was a bright hot summer’s day on Friday the 15 th of February as campers started to arrive for our Motu Moana camp. This camp the situation was turned around as the littlies (9-12yrs) were to be located up at Mowgli Lodge and the Junior Branch (14+yrs) plus the JJB (13yrs) were co-located at the main camp site (lower), and the littlies gear was kept together to be taken up to Mowgli as a group (see fun later in the story). Plenty of campers came nice and early, which meant lots of games while we waited for everybody to arrive. The JB learned some old favourites of the leaders, and the littlies played a great running game thanks to Abby and Katie!
This camp we had Abby & Katie working with the leaders and they started off the camp
with a bang (literally, the game Bang). Pretty soon Dave grouped the littlies together to
set up Mowgli. They were arranged in cabin groups, collected their things, only to have to tie their cabin together and move up as a single unit. After pushing, shoving and moving in the opposite direction, the groups moved off at their own speed with one of the leaders supervising through the darkening night. There were no tears but plenty of laughter as foot work and coordination was sorted out. After reaching the lodge, they un-tied themselves and beds were made before moving back down as a group to the main site. Back down at the lower site, placemats were drawn (your partner drew a part of your face (e.g. nose) before swapping to a new partner to draw the next part. Then everyone (JB & Littlies) went back up to Mowgli for lullabies. This was done as the
littlies needed to go to sleep afterwards and we didn’t want them to be excited before
sleep. Turns out they were still excited and took a while to settle down. While the littlies were off to bed, the JB and the JJB were competing in a quiz night.
Saturday was another beautiful day and before breakfast, some of the littlies were awake
early so games of Ninja (ask your children to show you) and music kept them busy before we woke up the rest around 7:30am – then we went down for breakfast.
After breakfast, Heba led the littlies in conflict resolution and negotiation. This revolved
around getting different partners to agree to your wishes. This was things like, cross the
line to my side. I can tell you there were many promises (not sure I believed all of them),
many lies and many heated discussions about how good the view was on this side or how
nice the shade was on that side. Afterwards, Heba asked the question about, were we trying to get the person to our side, or not go to their side. She made a point that if both people had swapped, then both would have won. This was a powerful statement on win-win negotiation rather than win-lose.
After morning tea Tess ran an amazing race. Normally our activities don’t cross multiple
sessions but Tess’ activity merged all our kids together to learn how to team build all
together. In stage 1 the teams ‘crossed the river’, with the whole team having to move 20 meters without touching the grass. They had sheets of newspaper to use, as well as their
creativity. Stage 2 used some CISV trivia. The groups used word cards to create the CISV statement of purpose, and gain a little understanding of why we do what we do! The CISV statement of purpose (as everyone figured out in the end) is ‘CISV educates and inspires action for a more just and peaceful world’. In our third stage, the teams silently learnt a few things about each other, having to stand in a line from first to last. They silently communicated things like ‘stand in alphabetical order, according to the second letter of your Mums first name’, or ‘how long have you been in CISV’. Stage 4 was a water cup filling race where the bag to fill was a long way from the bucket, the cup to fill the bag mysteriously had holes in it and the path between the bucket and bag crossed the other teams path. The leaders made the team leader hold the bag (and so couldn’t help organise) and everyone had to take the cup at least once. At the end the teams had to carry the person holding the bag back to the bucket to refill it. Chaos. 2 extra points were awarded to the team who a) used everyone in the team to carry the bag holder back (that was fun to watch) and b) asked if they could use the team-before-them’s cup (that was thinking outside the box). Then, once the task was judged finished, it was off to the end.
There was a short lunch intermission in between sessions, then we moved onto stage five. Tess’ final part of the activity was to get the Team to convince the other teams why they should be the winner. Some interesting speeches, songs and interpretive dancing followed.
In the late afternoon, Danni ran a re-using water exercise for the littlies and a
shock for the water goblins (read “volunteer” leaders). The activity centered on appreciating how much water it takes for daily tasks (e.g. brushing teeth, cooking, cleaning). This was simulated by the group ‘completing’ as many tasks as possible by filling a cup full of water from a bucket, passing it along the line and dumping the cold water on a water goblin’s head. Did I mention cold? After the first round, the groups could re-use the water (some food colour was added to the cup of water to indicate it had been reused, and it was returned to the bucket). The buckets of water slowly turned coloured and then it couldn’t be used. Big praise to Goblin 5 (Leader Aiden) for taking a shower – 50 cups. Rather him than me. Brrr.
Dinner was a spicy chicken or Moroccan curry and apple/boysenberry crumble + ice cream. After dinner everyone gathered together for some skits that were to die for.
Tonight’s lullabies were a bit different. During the day we had noticed that there was a
really cool fire pit area at the site. Of course a fire was out of the question but 2 UE Boom
speakers and a sound track to suit allowed for an amazing campfire (sans fire) experience. It was really cool to hear all of the camp, including parent helpers,
gather together and make some noise. Each littlies cabin had a volunteer JB organised to
guide them to and from the fire pit before lullabies and as the “Goodnight” song was sung. The JB team leaders gathered their cabin and took them up to Mowgli lodge for sleep. The singing continued for a while after that and when the JB leaders returned, leaving the littlies with the Leaders group, the JB went on with their night activity.
Sunday is always a busy day and this time camp was ending at 11:30am, so straight after
breakfast the 2 sites were busy packing bags and finding property that had been left out
on the line (or playing slugs/Turtles in their sleeping bags). The littlies up at Mowgli Lodge packed up and cabin by cabin the leaders moved them outside the lodge and then took them to the main site and stored their gear inside the quad for security.
While the JB were doing their evaluation of their weekend, Mackenzie led the littlies in
different energizers before moving on to fun running games, e.g. Monsters & Chickens, which they enjoyed so much, followed by another game where the kids were divided up in groups of Leaders, JCs, Staff and delegates to play an engaging running game to wrap up activity 1 for the day. After morning tea, Dave ran an exercise on thinking outside the box. Teams had to get from one end of the field to the other but had different rules for how they could get there, e.g. everyone carried or everyone in 2 hula-hoops, or passing a ball. The exercise was designed to help us see that even though the task is the same, it can be achieved in different ways. And also to have a final bit of fun before the end of camp.
A big thank you to all the parent helpers though out the weekend, from the organisation team, booking the venue, buying the food or bringing the supplies, to the kitchen staff, and the Sunday cleaners. Also to Tracey for making sure everyone was in the right place at the right time. Also to all the leaders and JB leaders (Abby, Katie, & Kayla) for all your
support and willingness to make this weekend work. And finally to the parents for lending us your children which is who we are all doing this for.
If you have ever thought about helping out at camp and getting first-hand experience of what we do, I strongly encourage you to get involved at our next minicamp in Hunua Falls Camp on the weekend of September 20th – 22nd 2019.
Friday night launched off in the activity hall at 8 pm with games to get us familiar with each other’s names, and getting to know each other. We always love a mixture of brand new participants and seasoned CISVers, so beginning camp this way gives us an opportunity to bond before continuing onto the rest of camp as a team.
After names games, we made our placemats for the weekend. We use this as another opportunity get familiar with each other, and then we mix up the placemats every meal time to make sure we all have a chance to talk with different people throughout camp. After completing our placemats we went off to get ready for bed, grab some biscuits and a drink of water for supper, and then gathered back together in the activity hall from our ‘wind down’ time singing a few lullabies together. At 9.30 it was lights out, ready for a big day on Saturday!
NJBM was an exciting time with a much-improved participation than last year. Overall we had an extremely fun time and although there was limited participation from the Christchurch chapter, we are optimistic about future involvement with them. On Saturday we had a group hang out in town, and we went treasure hunting with an app named geocache. Overall, thanks to the beautiful weather in Auckland the participants had a fun time and we feel like the overall community and friendship within CISV NZ JB was strengthened. The cohort of JB coming through seem to be very committed to CISV, and this is encouraging as hopefully, our JB can grow from strength to strength.
The Sunday was when we got down to the more serious side of the training. Held at the Titirangi Community House, the first activity was centred on restructuring our JB committee. We decided that we would have a bunch of teams to fulfil the roles of running our JB to improve the effectiveness on how it runs. Next year we are confident we will have youthful people in positions to run successful and productive JB events such as minicamps, fundraising events as well as social events. Furthermore, the JB learnt more about what the NJR (National Junior Representative) and in turn we discovered there were some who were keen on trying to apply for being an NJR.
September’s minicamp was at Piha Mill Camp. The roads out to Piha get dark early at this time of the year, so the lights of the camp shone out through the darkness as if to welcome people. After the (organised) chaos of registration, we got down to a fantastic camp with a group of amazing young people. Want to know what happened? Then read on …
Friday began with a name game to get to know everyone. This included everyone coming together to greet returning campers and meeting the new ones. Some were team activities, and some were competitive! Saying your name twice then someone else’s name twice takes on a whole different meaning when you can’t show your teeth and are trying your best not to laugh. There was a whole heap of teeth shown, that’s for sure! It was during the Friday evening that the camp leaders were introduced; Gemma, Tracey, Mackenzie, Ellen, David, Aiden, Tess, Danni, Heba (Whanganui) & Jamie (Christchurch) coming up from down south to join the fun.
Afterwards, participants made their unique placemats with their names. They were then randomly assigned to tables for meals, and people needed to sit by their placemats. This system got everyone to mingle, meet new people and allowed for some great conversations. One of the things on the placemat this camp was a picture of your two favourite animals combined into one. A bird moose or Boose, a Unigon (Rainbow Unicorn Dragon) were just a couple of crazy designs.
At the end of the night, lullabies and bed drew everyone to bed with the leaders evaluating the day and making sure tomorrow would be awesome. Soooo tired – must sleep now!
June’s camp was located at Hunua and focused on activities to develop an understanding of Human Rights, which is the CISV Content Area of 2017.
We started us off with Energisers (small actions to wake us up and to get us working enthusiastically together as a united group). Afterwards, we went into some ‘getting to know you’ games, and then we moved onto the designing of our placemats. Every minicamp, we make placemats with our names and interesting things about us (such as our name and our favourite super power). These are then randomly placed around the tables at meal times to get people sitting next to new people and generate conversation.
Then it was 9 pm – supper, flag and lullabies were in order. Everyone managed to calm down with the songs, and we were ready for bed. After the littlies had gone to bed, some of the Junior Branch (14+ yrs) participants continued working hard at planning activities for their group the next day. This planning practice is part of camp for them, helpful in their development as CISVers and for organising their activities at home or school.
The Saturday morning was cold and misty but this burnt off and we were ready to go! Breakfast was Toast & Cereal, and after washing our dishes, we were off to our first activity. We started the morning with some running games to get warmed up and energised! The first game was “get to know you fruit salad”. This was a fun way to learn more about each other, and wake our brains up!
Next, we played “newspaper hockey”; we were split into two teams; one team was numbered off, the other was given a letter of the alphabet each; then a letter and number were called out, and it was a one-on-one hockey game!
After hockey, we played a few more running games. The ladder game, where it was a race against the person opposite you back to your spot, was heaps of fun, especially when we had to do it side stepping with pincers like a crab!
Goblin and fairy bump tag was also a fun and silly way to burn up some energy before morning tea.
As it was my first time enjoying a CISV minicamp naturally, I was shy. I didn’t expect to fit in straight away, as some of the kids have been lifelong members of CISV. How wrong I was. I was not left out in a single activity and had loads of fun.
At the camps and mini-camps, there are many songs and dances such as kitos, flag and others. In fact flag (a song) is sung by every single camp and minicamp all over the world from Chile to Australia.
One of the many unique things about CISV is that the adults aren’t even in charge half the time! A team of 14-year-olds and over (known as the JB’s), come up with cool activities like wacky energizers and mind boggling decoding.
But don’t go thinking the adults didn’t do much, in fact without the kitchen team slaving over a hot oven, no food would be served, and without our wonderful team leaders, the whole camp would just not connect.
The June CISV minicamp was an exciting adventure I’m glad I went on, and I hope I can enjoy many more adventures with the leaders, the cooks and fellow kids.
– Kalo Wood
From December 2015 to January 2016, I was a JC at Intiland Village in Lima, Peru. This was the first village in Peru’s CISV history. After a total of 16 hours travelling –by myself for the first time- I arrived in Lima. My homestay showed me around the city as we went to a famous beach in Lima. He gave me a tasting of the culture with the food and also he took me to a fruit market. The homestay was an experience I will never forget as I felt like I got to experience the city as we went everywhere that was interesting and experienced another culture.
Before the children arrived at the camp, I went to the campsite to meet all the leaders, staff and other JC’s and we got to know about each other. From here we set goals that were agreeable by all the leader’s and set the standard for the camp.