So there I was, measuring out lengths of different colored yarn and cutting them for the ZOE children to use in their Summer Camp craft project that day. My co-laborer, Michelle, turned to me and said, “When you were sitting behind your big desk back in Hawaii, did you ever imagine that someday your job would be cutting yarn for kids?” “Well,” I replied, “it was always my dream but I never imagined I would arrive so soon!”
ZOE’s Summer Camp 2011 was a blast!
Even though camp runs from mid-March to mid-May, it’s “summer” camp because the Thai kids are on summer vacation from school during that period. Cissy and I officially began full-time work at ZOE on March 1 and our first job was to help run the ZOE Summer Camp for 50 kids ranging in age from five to 16. It was a great way to get to know all the kids quickly.
Each missionary helping with camp had an area of responsibility: arts and crafts, music, sports, cooking, games, Bible lessons, culture and history lessons, memory verses, etc. I was charged with coming up with games related to each of the different countries/continents we “visited” each week during camp. Luckily, not only did I get to teach the kids the games, I got to play, too!
Many of the games were totally new to the kids including the limbo, piñata, charades, balloon stomp, and blind man’s buff. Other games were well-known to them as it seems that some games know no borders: marbles, Simon says (“Moses says” in Thailand), bingo, and dodgeball.
The piñata was definitely a favorite. But try to find a ready-made piñata in Thailand. Inspiration struck one day while Cissy and I were shopping for vegetables in the day market.
Noticing some colorful Chinese paper lanterns we thought they would make excellent piñatas with a little paper-mâché fortification. Little did we know how indestructible they would become after a single inner coating of pasty Bangkok Post!
Those things took a beating and stubbornly refused to disgorge their tasty treats except for a few pieces of candy that were launched out of the top by sheer force. I ended up having to dump
their contents out on the heads of the players ‒ much to the kids’ joy! As a testament to the Thai kids’ ingenuity, the next day we saw the kids playing their own version of piñata. They turned a metal can upside down and placed a handful of candy on the can’s bottom. A child was blindfolded and given a piece of bamboo and spun around several times. He or she was guided to the can with shouts and laughter until finding it. A whack or two with the bamboo resulted in one or more pieces of candy falling off the can and subsequently into the hands of the player!
Aside from being with all the kids, one of the best parts about being the game leader at Summer Camp was working (playing!) with Drake and Elli during the times they were able to come along to help at ZOE during their spring break. I hope that you enjoyed March and April as much as I did! ‒ Ron