What a success! The CISV Auckland chapter has hosted a Village programme, It’s My Choice, from the end of December 2013. We had participants from various countries: Australia, Brazil, China, France, Guatemala, NZ, Philippines, Sweden, Thailand, and USA.
When the kids first arrived to the camp site, they were greeted by the staff and JCs in a red carpet style; they walked through a corridor with paparazzi and fans at sides going crazy for their arrivals! In the first week, they were a little shy; not exactly knowing what to say or do. Meeting a whole group of strangers from all over the world is rather scary when you think about it! Especially if English isn’t your first language.
During the camp each country shared their culture with others. Some of the acts were: Sweden’s Lucia ceremony, China’s Tai Chi, Brazil’s Carnival, Philippines’ bamboo dance, Australia’s Tim Tam Slam, and so on. The kids were able to experience and learn things perhaps never taught at school.
We went on three excursions in this Village. The first one was to North Head in Devonport; the kids loved exploring all the tunnels, bunkers and took pictures with old guns used during war. The second one was to the Piha beach; it started off with each country competing in sand castle competition. Sweden claimed the first prize by creating an impressive Moose named Fred. The kids then jumped into the water enjoying one of the best beaches in New Zealand. The third one was to Mt Albert petting farm, then to Queen Street. Many of these kids never had an interaction with farm animals in their lives. They thoroughly enjoyed the experience especially the sheep sheering and milking cows! After the farm visit, we went shopping on Queen Street. A lot of them loved visiting shops like Typo and Look Sharp. Perhaps the most popular item bought was a onesie; we had onesies from an owl to Pikachu!
The kids did not only learn about other cultures, they’ve learned how to cooperate, communicate in different ways, share ideas, and respect others’ opinions. It was an invaluable experience which I hope kids will remember for the rest of their lives.
Overall, everyone enjoyed this wonderful experience with each taking something home, but we could not have done it without all the help we got. On behalf of the staff team, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!! We look forward to another exciting year of CISV!