Friday, May 31, 2013

Summer-Day Camp 2013

It was after a gap of seven years that I volunteered for a summer-day camp or SDC. I last helped the Chandigarh Bible Fellowship as a puppet and drama coordinator in 2005 and 2006. In fact, it was about that time that I began this blog. This time again I was helping the church with the skit. I had initially thought that I would operate as usual from the backstage but them somehow ended up being one of the characters.

Working with and for kids is always fun, sometimes stressful but fun nonetheless.

We were late in starting practising for the skit. Then there were characters who had to travel nearly 25 km one way almost every day in the killing heat of May [Thank you, parents and uncles]. So there were massive odds, but we pulled it off. For the five-day camp, we had two skits every day: one during the morning assembly and other during the closing assembly. So we did a total of 10 pieces. It looks massive in retrospect.

Nadia, Elijah and Alex were three characters besides myself. It was lovely working with three amazing, talented and energetic youngsters. They were volunteering with other activities like songs, craft, games but still found reserves of energy to put in their best for the skit. Had a great support from Abbey, Anandi and Hannah, our prompters and backstage support. Ravi, Jozef, Sam, Anhad, Vanshika, Nathan and Bhrigu were great as a supporting cast.

"Gloria Deo", our salute for the camp caught on very well and every morning I was greeted by our "cadets", who did it to perfection, pulling their right fist close to their heart as they bowed down and dutifully remembered to give God all glory, Gloria Deo.

Bhrigu became very fond of me, or shall I say of my "light saber", which he continued to call a "bat" (to be honest, it did look like a baseball bat!).

And yes, there was Christina, a self-taught gymnast (you have to see her doing cartwheels), a pocket dynamite, who told us on the very first day that we were "terrible" on stage. By the way, she (along with Gun Gun) earned maximum points in the camp for her punctuality, behaviour and performance.

It also gave us great opportunity to the adults to bond outside the church. I had some great conversations with people I hardly ever got a chance to speak to. Also had some nice time with the director of the camp and heard some amazing stories of faith and courage. He told me of an accident, in which a school boy met with a terrible accident and how he miraculously survived. He believed it was answer to prayers. That boy, incidentally, was run over by a bus! Then there was another story of a mother's amazing devotion to a physically challenged daughter. I encouraged him to write these as part of his autobiography, or the biography of the church, but he thought I was joking. I want to tell him I was serious.

And yes, I must not forget to thank S and I, who opened their house for us to practice every evening, for their hospitality, smiles and coffee!


Sunil Aggarwal said...

Dear Ashish,
I find you today shifting from essentiality of meaning to plurality of meaning. I have always doubted myself and others when positions have got trapped in surroundings thus by making them absurd. In this post of yours, i could see green shoots of something fresh though yet not clear. This beginning of a non-essential version of truth is what i am really curious about.

Sushant Das said...

Thanks Ashish for the post. Yes in retrospect it does look like a massive effort, and especially the drama, having to work with kids, talented but raw. Thanks for doing a great job with them. The longer term benefits of the camp are, I think, the experience and development our own volunteers have gained. Nadia, Alex and Elijah’s participation in the play and the preparation for it will really pay dividends in their lives.
So thank you for making the effort of coming all that way every day for practice as well as the effort to arrive early for the camp. It is the example of such faithfulness that the kids can emulate.

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Muskaan Kapoor said...

What a refreshing post...smells like the earth that just received the first drizzle of the season