We had full control of the camp so today was our time to shine! Everyone woke up and did their normal routines. A couple of us chose not to do a workout in the morning so we could sleep in a little longer. The last two days of camps were a little long on us after working out so we wanted to be fresh today.
Today was soccer day for the kids led by Nick Smirniotopolous, Katie DeTuro (both VT soccer players) and myself (VT swimmer). The structure of our camp was introductions, “dinámica” (ice breakers), warm-up (led by Carol Kahoun), three stations of instructional play, a habitude lesson, and then a group competition.
|A group photo of campers, DPV staff and VT students/staff|
We each taught a station and had the kids rotate through each station. Thankfully we had the DPV boys and translators to help us. Our stations consisted of passing, juggling, dribbling, shooting, trapping, and communicating with others. We spent 20 minutes at each station with a 10 minute transition time as groups rotated to the next state, allowing time for water in the midst of a very warm day! We tried to make each station as fun as possible while learning some valuable skills for playing soccer. After we completed the three stations we took an extended break to regroup before our Habitudes lesson.
Habitudes is the title of a series of leadership books that we have used within our athletics department at VT and are also included in our class. The book uses images to teach and form leadership habits and attitudes. The lesson we shared was the “iceberg”, communicated that 90% of a person’s character is under the water while only 10% is above the water. We changed this image to fit culturally, using the image of a fruit that has a covering for protecting the valuable portion (character) inside, because some kids had never heard of an iceberg. Ultimately, we were trying to teach the kids to get to know one another and not judge one another by the outside appearance. Simply put, we are all leaders.
After this lesson it was time for COMPETITION! The competition that took place was a series of games. The older kids played an actual game of soccer while the younger kids played paired soccer and attempted a small game. After the camp was over the kids returned to Veron or to their homes in Punta Cana.
Reflecting back on the camp, the hardest part was not having full communication with the kids. We all know how to run a camp in the United States but here in the Dominican Republic it was tough and un-natural to rely on translators. The hardest thing for me was not being able to give constant feedback to the kids. You get a sense of feeling helpless without communication but with the translators it ran smoothly and everyone had lots of fun!
After the camp was over we had down time until 4pm. Katie DeTuro, Madalyn Nuckols, Derrick Hopkins and I went to the lagoons with the DPV boys. We swam around, jumped off the dock and played with the duck that is always there. From the lagoons we went to class where we watched the documentary The Price of Sugar and a Ted Talk. The movie was about the sugar cane production in the Dominican Republic and how poorly the cutters (workers) get treated in both their pay and living conditions. I would highly recommend watching this documentary or a clip on YouTube. Most people in the United States think this country is all about beautiful resorts when in reality mass poverty dominants the country.
We used these two videos to frame our reflection of our experience and carried the conversation into dinner.
Seven days down, four more to go. Time is flying by!