Date: 14 – 16 December 2016 (3 days, non-overnight)
Event Title: Lakeside Family Services December Camp CARE
Organizing committee for Camp CARE from SP Diploma in Biomedical Science.
For my residential project, I volunteered to be part of the planning committee for a community service project under Singapore Polytechnic, Diploma in Biomedical Science Student Chapter (DBSSC). DBSSC frequently works together with Lakeside Family Services (LFS) for community service projects throughout the year and LFS has expressed interest in planning and holding a day camp in December 2016 for the children that come to the family service center.
LFS is a family service center that operates in Lakeside, Western Singapore. Social workers in the family service center help families that live in their community. For this programme, LFS has requested to hold a camp for children that are 7-10 years of age to impart the value of care for one another.
Our first meeting (2 hrs) took place in mid-to-late November 2016 to discuss about the beginnings of the project as well as to decide on the roles and responsibilities, and timeline of the programme. I volunteered to take on the role of “Activity In-Charge” as I am more experienced in planning and conducting activities for children of that age group from my work in CAMP CHALLENGE. As a result, I am tasked with planning the timeline, activities, and flow for the 1st and 2nd day of the camp, which will take place in SP. The 3rd day would be planned by LFS, which is set to take place in Taman Jurong Community Center, with elderly from LFS. The whole programme would be linked to the upcoming Christmas holiday.
We took approximately 2 weeks to gather manpower (from our course, Diploma in Biomedical Science) and put up the proposal which occurred concurrently. We also booked venues within SP where we would be using for our activities such as classrooms and common areas.
In early December, we performed a dry run (7 hrs) in SP for the actual day of the camp. We gathered the organizing committee and all manpower involved to test out the activities, timeline flow, set expectations, and prepare logistics.
Packing of logistics and goodies!
Day 1: Station Activities, Christmas Caroling Rehearsal, and Christmas Card Making
We had a team of Group Leaders (GLs) who arrived at LFS in Lakeside to engage in icebreaker activities on the morning of 14 December 2016. They would board the chartered bus arranged by LFS with the children and come to Singapore Polytechnic for activities. As I was the Activity IC, I was stationed in SP to prepare the opening areas and stations before the arrival of LFS.
GLs engaged in icebreaker and bonding activities with children at LFS before coming to SP.
Hands in the center!
Arrival at SP 11 Square and heading towards the opening venue at one of the classrooms!
Upon arrival at the opening venue, we kicked start the day with an opening presentation by the event Overall In-Charge (OIC). After which, I lead the energizer activities and briefed the children on the station activities that will take place over the course of the next few hours.
Conducting of “Dragon Dragon” energizer!
Setting rules and expectations for the camp!
With the energizers and briefing completed, we moved on to the station activities where the various groups would move from classroom to classroom completing activities.
“Number pattern” station, where the children will need to tap the various numbers within the circle in a specific pattern.
“Blind mice” station, where the children would be blindfolded and tasked to retrieve items in an gameplay area. The rest of the group would give directions for the blindfolded individual.
“Don’t forget the lyrics” station, where children are tasked with completing a word activity that is song-related.
Lunch was provided for the children in between stations. After finishing lunch, they would proceed with other stations until finally assembling back at the classroom where opening was held. As they would need to perform a Christmas caroling performance on the 3rd day of the camp to their family members and the elderly of LFS, LFS took over this segment with support provided by our team. The children are taught Christmas carols and would rehearse their caroling and actions.
After the Christmas carolling session, we kicked start the afternoon segment with a second round of energizers before moving on to the Christmas Card Making.
Energizer “Chia Chiku”
After the energizers, the children engaged in the making of Christmas cards. However, instead of simply designing the cards, I planned the activity was planned such that the children would have to earn their card-making logistics such as markers, stickers, colored paper, glue, crayons, etc. As such, they needed to race against time to the various stations to perform carnival style activities such as ringo, ball pong, etc. before finally coming together with the logistics they have earned together as a team to make Chirstmas cards for their family members.
Earning logistics from ball pong! Children had to bounce a ping pong ball into a plastic cup to earn colored paper at this station.
All in all, the first day was a good warm up for the planning committee as well as the children as they get to know us better. They are energetic and fun-loving children and we were already looking forward to the next day.
Day 2: Treasure Hunt Activity, Christmas Caroling Rehearsal, Great Egg Drop Activity
As per the 1st day, the GLs picked the children from LFS and came over to SP. Upon arrival, we kicked start the day immediately with a round of energizers.
Energizer “Magic Box”
“Ooh, ahleyley, ahleyley chika booma!”
We started off the day with the first main activity – a treasure hunt around different locations around SP. The children were given a map, and would need to look for certain locations, arrive at the locations to answer questions, and perform tasks related to ‘care’.
Solving a brainteaser together as a team
Upon completion of the activity, lunch was served. During lunch, we taught the children a ‘makan cheer’. This was done before consuming lunch together.
The final activity planned by the committee for the day was the Great Egg Drop. The children are tasked to build a self-standing structure that can cushion an egg from dropping from a height of 1 level high. They were given logistics such as newspapers, balloons, straws, chopsticks, and tape. The winning team would be rewarded.
Great Egg Drop Briefing!
A little help and prompting…
Working hand in hand to assemble their masterpiece.
Posing together with their finished product!
Squeals of excitement and joy lit the air in 11 square as the eggs were dropped onto the models that they have built. All eggs were saved (all groups have succeeded). Soon enough, we were attracting the attention of normal students who were in school at that time and they joined in to watch the egg dropping as well. The atmosphere was great and all the children enjoyed themselves.
After the Great Egg Drop, we followed the children back to LFS for the closing. As on day 3, half of the manpower would not be needed, this is the last time the GLs will be seeing the children. They bade farewell to one another as the children returned home with their family members who came to pick them up.
All planning committee members and volunteers who made the first two days possible!
Day 3: Joint-Event with LFS Elderly, Christmas Caroling Performance, Christmas Dinner
On the third day, only the planning committee gathered at Taman Jurong Community Center to support the programme led by LFS. For this day, elderly from LFS are invited for activities and a Christmas lunch with the children. They would engage in tote bag designing, where one elderly member would pair with a child to paint on a tote bag. Also, they would engage in activities that require the children to guide the elderly. Lastly, lunch was served by the children to the elderly before the departure of the elderly back to LFS.
Due to some hiccups, there was a need to cancel some activities. This caused approximately 20 to 30 minutes of buffer time where the children and elderly had nothing to do. I was tasked to device a plan to fill this buffer time (as I was still the Activity IC). It was difficult to cater to two complete opposite age groups and it posed a great challenge to engage both the elderly and children, while not being too mundane or childish. However, the elderly who knew I was in-charge were supportive and open to any activity I had for them. In the end, I decided to try teaching them some simple cheers and energizer activities that do no require a lot of movement or physical effort. Furthermore, these were done with the children over the past two days, and they seem to enjoy them.
The scene that was awaiting me before I came onto stage to spend the 20-30 minutes of buffer time!
Conducting the energizer “Magic Box” in a mix of English, Chinese, and Hokkien as some of the elderly are unable to understand English, and most of the children are unable to understand hokkien. This would be one of the most impromptu activity I have done. As my command in Chinese and Hokkien is not extremely strong, there was difficulty at some point translating my sentences quickly and naturally.
Now that they have warmed up, I decided to take it a step further with “The side”, an activity that require more body movements. This was conducted slowly and lightly to prevent any strains! The elderly were cooperative and enjoyed all the activities I have presented to them.
“Macdonalds, KFC, and Pizza Hut!”
After the 20-30 minutes of buffer time was spent, the children performed the first round of Christmas Carols to the elderly and served them lunch. After which, we bade farewell to the elderly of LFS, many of whom came up to me to thank me for the time spent and patience in engaging with them, especially in hokkien. The children and planning committee used the time to have our lunch as well as tidy up the place for the evening’s Christmas dinner with the families of the LFS children. As it was approximately 3pm, the children were told to take their afternoon nap by the LFS staff.
It’s the season of giving!
Water parade after an incredible day of effort for the children!
Here is your well deserved rest! As there were no beds in the Community Centre, the LFS staff shared her experience of taking naps without beds and pillows when she was young – to lie their heads on one anothers’ bellies or thighs.
In no time, the children fell asleep, until approximately 5pm, when they awoke, washed up, and prepared for the dinner segment, where they had dinner with their families and performed their final Christmas carol performance. By 9pm, the organizing committee bade farewell to LFS. This concludes these 3 meaningful days with the family service center.
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”. I can never agree more with this quote. The past 3 days has been an eye opening experience. I have came to realize that with whatever negative circumstances one may run into in life, there is always a side of life that is all happiness, laughter, and smiles. This project has left me more eager than ever in participating and volunteering in such events. Though the children may not remember me in the years to come, I will definitely remember these 3 days and continue to do what I do. I am humbled to be part of this successful project.