In 2019 the volunteers of Knapsack Camps visited Litke once again. As soon as we arrived on a Friday night, we immediately started to prepare for the following days. Our dinner wasn’t the only thing that had filled our pots: the pieces of paper we had added to one of the pots played a rather important role in Saturday morning’s event.
The first day of the weekend started at 10 o’clock at the local school, where all our volunteers – both the old and the new faces – were greeted with enthusiasm. To warm up, we began with a short game where everybody told their name and a few things about their previous week. As we were playing, more and more children joined us. Soon after the introduction we started to work. This is where yesterday’s odd part of the dinner menu came in handy: our aim with the ’cooked paper’ was to help the kids build their own set of fussball. The combination of mashed-boiled paper and wallpaper-glue makes for a quite solid material, which is ideal for creating the figures of the football players. All we needed to do was to just let the mixture rest for a couple of days. While some were occupied with the blend, others were busy making the rods for the figures out of wires. At last, together, we put the mixture around the spines, resulting in a unique team of football players. The advantage of this project – besides the joy of creating – was that it included everyone, nobody was left out from this activity.
In the afternoon the main focus was on school subjects. We went off with a program combining English language and topography, discussed the characteristics of Australia, then revised multiplying. After a short impromptu dance class and a bit of football, we put the ball to a different kind of use: they had to reposition the ball while balancing it on a hoop. The kids proved themselves to be very cooperative, finishing the exercise without difficulties.
Soon the night was closing in on us and we had to evaluate the day.
First thing on Sunday we wanted to play a game with the kids that helps them with self-reflection, self-knowledge. The point was, that under the verbal guidance of a volunteer. We prepared 2 pictures of which 1 was presented. The task was to choose one and personalize it, the picture (a creature) eventually becoming the reflection of their self. They also wrote down what their creature wants to say, then took a walk around the room to share their works with others. Following this program the kids had a chance to engage in different kinds of activities: some sat down to play board games, others preferred something more active (sports competition), and there were those interested in playing with drama related games.
The afternoon took off with music and singing and quickly turned to lyrics analysis, interpretation. Next, the volunteers divided them into 2 groups for a team competition, which included straws, rings made of gum and some cups. The aim was to get as many rings as possible into their cup. The trick was that they had to achieve this with the straws in their mouth (passing the rings this way) and through a teammate. Everyone was really active during the game and they quickly realized the most effective way of completing this challenge, making it be almost effortless in the end.
All in all, for us, the weekend passed in a blink of an eye with lots of fun and laughter. We hope that the same goes for the children and that we were able to give them skills they can benefit from in the future. The goodbyes were bittersweet: bitter, because we had to leave, but sweet too, because we know that we will be coming back soon!