Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Surveys, Dodgeball, and a Packet of Mayonnaise

March 10, 2011 · No Comments

On my way to the New Hope Christian Centre this evening, I noticed a pub closed down. I did not remember seeing the boarded-up windows on my last journey, so I am pretty sure this happened some time this week. Whether due to local circumstances, the current economic situation nationally/worldwide, or simply bad business, it was a sad sight to see.

Upon arriving at the Centre, I was asked to fill out a basic survey for Community Action Norwich (the larger organization which the kid’s club is a part of) It asked simple questions about my feeling towards volunteering and programs I would like to see offered by the group. After filling out the form, I learned that the kids would be filling out a similar, simpler form that evening. The differences made me laugh, particularly how, while our form asked us to answer on a scale from strongly disagree to strongly disagree, their form asked them to answer on a scale from a very frowny face to a very smiley face. My first thought seeing this form was, “there is no way these kids are going to sit for two minutes and fill out this form, much less in a serious fashion.”

Well, I was wrong. The kids arrived, saw the forms, and started to fill them out almost immediately. One kid entered the room and said “I want to fill out a form.” In addition, it appeared that all the kids filled out the form seriously. I found this absolutely bizarre.

Even more bizarre was how chaotic they were after filling out the form. It was as if they used up all their attention spans on the form, and then felt they could just run around yelling and listening to any direction for the next hour. We attempted to play a game of dodgeball, but it devolved quickly. To make matters worse, Duane(the club leader) was not around for a good half-an-hour. Even when he arrived halfway through, the kids still were all over the place. No one was behaving incredibly poorly. However, they all seemed to be unable to concentrate on one thing for more than fifteen seconds.

Somehow, amidst this chaos, I had the longest conversation I have had with one of the kids yet, concerning life in America and what the different states are like. It was nice to actually be able to talk to one of the kids about something rather than just playing  a game, even if it was about something superficial.

After the kids had left and we cleaned up, we learned why Duane had been missing for so long. As it turns out, one of the kids, right before the club, threw a mayonnaise packet at a car thinking it would do nothing. The driver claimed it chipped the window, and thought it was a rock. Mistaking which kid did it, the driver took the wrong kid, locked him in his car so he could not get away, and called the cops. The other kid, happy he apparently got away with it, ran to get his friend’s mom and inform her that her son was locked in a stranger’s car. This was all happening right outside the Centre, so Duane came out to see what was going on. By the time the cops and the mom showed up, it was apparently quite a scene. Apparently everything was resolved, but it was quite an interesting story, particularly because it began with a packet of mayonnaise.

Volunteered on 10/03/2011

From 18:00-20:00

2 Hours: Total of 16 Hours

New Hope Christian Centre

Supervisor: Duane Elkins

Categories: 2010 Andrew
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