Over the summer a New Zealand delegation (4 from Auckland, 1 from Christchurch) attended the “Wake Up! It’s our time, our place, our world” Step Up in Christchurch, New Zealand. The camp started with a leaders training weekend where I spent 2 days bonding with and getting to know the leaders and staff group at the camp site while the delegates Amber, Josh, Tom, and Jamie spent time together at a homestay for the weekend doing some bonding of their own!
Once the delegates arrived the camp really took off and we could start planning and running activities and having as much fun as we could pack into 3 weeks. A Step Up, as the name suggests, is about the delegates stepping up and taking responsibility for their camp. The staff and leaders planned the activities for the first couple of days to show the delegates some best practice examples, but once the first few days were over it was time for the participants to take over the camp! We had delegations from New Zealand, Australia, Denmark, USA, Sweden, Canada, Denmark, Italy, and Germany.
There were a few highlights on camp. One of which was the camp meetings that we held. The camp meetings were a chance for the delegates to talk about the things they would like to discuss about the camp, rather than the staff and leaders running the discussion. It could be anything from changes in the schedule, certain food requests, or special activities like a gala night etc. The camp meetings were completely run by the participants, and leaders and staff took a step back and let the delegates make all of the decisions (we only contributed when the discussion was about something really important). As a result, the staff and leaders didn’t have much to do during the meetings – you can see how much fun we had here!
We may look a little bit bored, but in reality we had a good time watching how the participants interacted in this new position of authority, and we enjoyed watching how they resolved the various conflicts that came up!
One of the other great things that happened on camp was the gala night. We decorated the dining hall, had a fancy dinner where the participants were served by the leaders and staff, and then we dressed up and had a dance party. It was a great opportunity to let loose a little bit and have some fun! There were card games, dancing lessons, and a great opportunity for photos! Here we see the kiwi delegation in their natural habitat, all smiles mixed in with a bit of hilarity/craziness:
It was also a good opportunity to get a great big group photo, so we tried to get some kiwi scenery in the background:
Obviously there is a LOT more that we could say about our Step Up experience, but there is no way to fit it all into a report like this! It was an unforgettable experience filled with life long memories, and we all got so much out of attending this camp! It was a fantastic camp and the delegates really proved themselves as active global citizens – they held very insightful and meaningful discussions, and they showed cultural appreciation and acceptance that displayed their maturity and their kindness and compassion.
Now onto the next CISV adventure!