Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

A Complete 180

March 13, 2010 · 2 Comments

Not exactly knowing what to expect after last week’s experience, I headed over to New Hope Christian Centre for another few hours of rowdy 13 and 14 year-old boys and girls. When I arrived at 18:00, I helped Duane and crew set up for the night’s activities. Considering how all attempts at organized activity failed miserably last week, I thought to myself that it might be more effective to load up tranquilizer rifles instead of inflating balloons. But hey, I’m not in charge.

I had the option to help out with the younger and generally better behaved kids. But since the only two volunteers for the older ones were Clare and the 22-or-so year-old Katie, I thought my services might be better appreciated with them. We discussed my suggestion last week for an elected youth council of sorts. We decided to focus on group activities and bring the subject up next week.

Around 18:45 the kids started funnelling into the church. As usual, they were rowdy and loud, so I immediately started dreading a repeat of last week. Fortunately, many of the especially problematic children didn’t show up, leaving us with a manageably small group of fifteen or so. Some of the boys went outside to play manhunt with Duane, their favourite game. I stayed inside and taught three boys how to play the card game of the gods, Egyptian Rat Screw. I introduced the game as follows:

Me: “Hey do you guys want to learn a card game?”
Boys: “Nah, learning is boring.”
Me: “It involves slapping each other.”
Boys: “Teach me your ways, Sensei.”

OK, so the last part didn’t go precisely like that, but you get the idea. Needless to say, the boys loved the game and wanted to teach it to everybody. During the debriefing later, Duane asked how the older group went. Clare told him that “Andrew had them eating out of his hand.” Hearing that was pleasant, especially considering how helpless I felt the previous week.

Overall, the children were much better behaved this week. Violence was kept at a minimum and I was actually able to hold a reasonable conversation with some of them. I believe the more experienced volunteers are starting to see my potential and have been taking many of my suggestions to heart. I am honestly looking forward to next week’s Thursday club.

Hours logged: 2.5
Total Hours: 5.5

Categories: Andrew B
Tagged: ,

2 responses so far ↓

  •   Karl // Mar 15th 2010 at 16:01

    Way to go, sensei. You are strong with the Force. Group dynamics are everything, so don’t be disappointed if one of the rowdies shows next week and screws it all up.

  •   russella // Mar 16th 2010 at 13:06

    I was going to say, didn’t you learn anything from Italy?

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