Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Entries from February 2011

Volunteering Episode VI: Return of the Kids

February 17th, 2011 · No Comments

So these titles have become increasingly pathetic. Luckily, this is the last week for them, as there are only six episodes of Star Wars.

When I arrived at the kid’s club tonight, Duane asked me how my LSAT test went. As you may know, I went to London this weekend to take it. The test center was Ironmongers Hall, built, as the name would suggest, as a meeting place for iron workers in the city. Ironmongers Hall might be the most amazing test center of all time. There were wood paneled walls, crown molding on the ceiling, stained glass windows, and portraits of royalty. The chairs each of us sat in were cherry wood stained and leather cushioned. It truly was an unbelievable place. Here’s a link if you wish to see more about the place, and below is a picture of one of the halls. However, I think neither do the building interior justice.

The Banqueting Hall. Click on image to view it full size.

Anyway, tonight’s kids’ club went fine. We decided to give out a chocolate bar again as a prize to the person who got the most points. I ran and got the candy right at the beginning, giving me a slightly different task than in weeks before. First, we played a game where all the kids sat in a circle with a designated number. When their number was called out, they had to run around the circle and sit back down before the other kid with their same number did the same. This interested everyone for about fifteen minutes.

The second game we played was the blindfold/pillow game from weeks past. This time, the kids voted me to be in the middle blindfolded, which was a first. I felt a little accepted. (However, they clearly picked me because I had glasses and figured this would put me at a disadvantage somehow, so only a little accepted ūüôā ) This entertained them for another half hour or so.

After this game we went outside and played manhunt, a classic. While every round ended in a shouting match about who cheated and whether or not someone got tagged, the kids seemed to enjoy it. By the sixth round or so(VERY quick games of manhunt) it was time for everyone to leave.

Next week there will not be a kid’s club because school is on half term break. Most kids around Norwich will have five days off from school next week. I find the more frequent breaks in the school calendar, resulting in a shorter summer, interesting. It’s approaching year round schooling, which I think would be a more effective way of doing things than having three whole months off every year where you forget everything. When I return, we will likely be playing capture the flag provided it does not rain. I was discussing the game with Duane (my childhood favorite) and he thought it might work. I will be interested in seeing how many of them are aware of the game, and if it’s as big in the UK as it is in the US.

Volunteered on 17/02/2011

From 18:00-20:00

2 Hours: Total of 12 Hours

New Hope Christian Centre

Supervisor: Duane Elkins

Tags: 2010 Andrew

Volunteering Episode V: The Games Strike Back

February 10th, 2011 · No Comments

Alright, these titles are making less and less sense.

Tonight was a good night at the kids’ club. I arrived and helped set up. Given it was raining outside, we were not going to play manhunt this evening (The subject of some grumbling from some of the kids). Rather we played another version of the blindfold/pillow game we had played in weeks past. This time, there were four beanbags the kids had to get around instead of two. This made it a little more difficult to get by the blindfolded person swinging the pillow (If this is not making sense, read my earlier blogs. If its still not making sense, sorry!) ¬†Additionally, the kids could now score points not only when they were in the middle swinging the pillow, but also when the got the person swinging the pillow. Most importantly, there was a prize offered to the kid with the most points at the end of the evening. That prize? A huge Cadbury chocolate bar.

Cadbury Dairy Milk

Image obtained from: http://www.cadbury.co.uk/ourproducts/today/Pages/JS_bars.aspx?category=bars#dairymilk

So the kids arrived. They were unusually calm this week, and we were able to get the game started pretty fast. (This is without yet telling them about the prize, so I have no clue why this was the case). Before we began though, a bunch of them were playing with their cell phones. In keeping with the I-pod touch thing with last week, this baffles me. Why any kid should need a cell phone I don’t know. Also, these cell phones seemed pretty nice. I digress…

The game was a success, and we were able to play it the entire hour without any complaints from the kids (a first!). The one kid received the chocolate bar as his prize, and shared it with one of his friends.

As we cleaned up and set the room up for the following day, I heard about the early days of the kids club, back about a decade ago. Back then there were only three genuine helpers, compared to about 12 or so now. It was interesting to hear a quick run through of how the group has involved and grown. Claire, one of the leaders, pointed out that she had known some of these kids since they were infants and toddlers, and how weird it has been to watch them grow up. I had not thought about how long this club has been around, and how some of these kids have been coming there week after week their entire lives. Its amazing to think what an impact the club has had.

Volunteered on 10/02/2011

From 18:00-20:00

2 Hours: Total of 10 Hours

New Hope Christian Centre

Supervisor: Duane Elkins

Tags: 2010 Andrew

Volunteering Episode IV: The One That Should Have Been Called A New Hope Christian Centre

February 3rd, 2011 · No Comments

My time tonight helping out at the New Hope Christian Centre’s youth club was fairly ordinary. I arrived and waited for the kids to get there. Once they did, we played the game we had played in previous weeks, involving one of the kids blindfolded while trying to hit the other kids with a pillow as they ran by. (Makes more sense if you see it.) I found this kids’ club to be a little more chaotic than previous ones. We had quite a few more kids then normal, which made the level of volume throughout the evening considerably higher. After the kids got bored of the first game, we took a quick snack break and then headed outside to play a quick game of manhunt. By that time, the kids’ club was over. We then cleaned up the room and set it up for the following day.

While we were playing the first game, I noticed the one kid ¬†was listening to an Ipod Touch as he ran around the room. First, I have to wonder why a thirteen year old needs an Ipod Touch to begin with. Second, the fact a kid coming the club had an Ipod Touch seems odd. Not out of the ordinary, mind you. I’ve volunteered with after-school clubs and the like in economically deprived areas before, and there always seems to be an odd¬†prevalence¬†of Ipods, Nintendo handhelds, expensive sneakers, and the like that just seem out of place. In fact, these kinds of things seem to be more prevalent in lower income areas than middle class ones. To see this trend in England as well confuses me yet again. To be fair, I do not this kid’s specific background. However, the Ipod brings up a lot of questions concerning how people in different economic situations choose to spend their money.

Before taking me back to the Village, Duane stopped by a family’s house with some food. I waited in the car a bit with his wife Claire, as he had told her he was going to read some Scripture and do a little prayer with them. I do not know the details of this visit, and felt uncomfortable asking questions for the sake of privacy. However, it was interesting to see another little way how the New Hope Christian Centre is interacting with the community, particularly in a way that is more overtly Christian than what I have experienced at the club. On the drive back, I thought about all the different little ways in which the Centre was probably making a difference.

Volunteered on 03/02/2011

From 18:00-20:00

2 Hours: Total of 8 Hours

New Hope Christian Centre

Supervisor: Duane Elkins

Tags: 2010 Andrew