Empowering Young Minds: SARVAM's Summer Camp 2024

Start Date:20-Apr-2024

End Date:30-May-2024

Location:Satyam community Centre and 12 other villages

Institute:SARVAM, Puducherry

SARVAM's 16th annual Summer Camp with 500+ children in the communities once again exceeded expectations. There was gratitude and pride in the eyes of the village panchayat president, officials, parents, and volunteers who attended the ceremony and blessed the children of their village for their intelligence.

Summer camp offered a variety of activities, including sports, aero modelling, and creative fun camp. During the holidays, entertaining activities for nervous kids allowed them to study science, and gain new skills in dance, mind yoga, clapping, exercises, arts and crafts, theatre, yoga, music, and sports. 

In addition to giving the students a fair platform to explore and express their creativity in whatever way that piqued their interest, the camp sought to keep the students interested. Along with creating memories and having a good time, they also learned how to push themselves, try new things, conquer fears, and become self-sufficient. They had a great time making new friends, developing their confidence, and learning teamwork.

The camp also featured a diverse range of activities including sports, team-building exercises, and educational workshops. Participants had the opportunity to learn new skills, make new friends, and experience personal growth. The feedback from both campers and parents was overwhelmingly positive, with many expressing their gratitude for the memorable and enriching experience.

Between April 20 and May 30, 2024, more than 500 kids, including many from the new villages, attended the summer camp with presenters, organizers, volunteers, and parents. The summer camp provided a valuable opportunity for the children to develop various skills and abilities. Through engaging activities and interactions with presenters and volunteers, the kids were able to enhance their teamwork, communication, problem-solving, and leadership skills, fostering their personal growth and self-confidence.

As a unique workshop, Dinamalar's aero modelling workshop was a novel idea for this camp and Children learned about elevators, aerodynamics, rotocopters, flight models, and other topics during the enjoyable practical sessions. The workshop not only provided children with a fun and hands-on experience, but it also deepened their understanding of aero modelling. Through the practical sessions, children were able to apply the concepts they learned and see first-hand how elevators, aerodynamics, rotocopters, and flight models work in real life. This interactive approach undoubtedly enhanced their comprehension and sparked their interest in the field of aero modelling.

Unlike the previous fifteen years, different sessions were arranged to handle the exceptionally high number of pupils. A main focus of the camp this year is teaching respect to elders and helping people who are suffering from palliative care Some examples of activities that promote respect to elders include organizing intergenerational storytelling sessions, where campers listen to and learn from the life experiences of older adults.

The camp was attended by students who were sixteen years of age or older from mid-April, and by younger students during the four weeks of May. Additionally, there was a lot more focus on sports than in previous years; games, races, and other physically demanding events took up every day.

A new clap and juggling routine was introduced in this year's summer camp, as well as mind yoga and hoops. The introduction of new activities at the summer camp not only adds variety and excitement for the campers but also enhances their engagement. By offering a diverse range of activities like the new clap and juggling routine, mind yoga, hoops and juggling the camp creates opportunities for campers to explore different interests and develop new skills, keeping them actively involved and eager to participate.

The kids seemed to enjoy their days despite the challenges of supervising a large number of participants, which were exacerbated by the unusually hot weather. A number of the kids even played after the camp closed.

 With the help of scratch software, girls learned how to create games. Teaching girls how to create games using scratch software not only empowers them with valuable coding skills, but also fosters creativity, problem-solving abilities, and a sense of accomplishment. It encourages girls to explore the world of technology and paves the way for future opportunities in STEM fields.

The two sessions, which lasted for more than six weeks and were held in twelve separate village locations, introduced more complexity. Not only was it logistically difficult to plan a camp program with 15 experienced trainers and 25 SARVAM volunteers from the cities and villages, but more than 500 kids also needed refreshments! As usual, community participation in full was essential to the camp's success.

The lessons focused on developing one's character, honouring seniors, practising mind yoga, giving varied hand gestures, engaging in artistic endeavours, taking nature walks, learning about science, and using technology and computers. Kids enjoyed participating in the enjoyable learning activities facilitated by Pondicherry trainers throughout these sessions. The kids particularly enjoyed engaging in hands-on experiments and interactive games that made learning fun and exciting. These activities not only sparked their curiosity but also allowed them to apply their knowledge in a practical and engaging way.

As per usual, a lot of effort and practice sessions were scheduled in the afternoons so that all the kids could demonstrate their newly developed talents and creative abilities in a big show for parents and guests at the end of camp. Thus, a little closing ceremony was planned with snacks and awards for the participants to commemorate the conclusion of the six-week program. With great delight, the guests were shown around by the students from all eight camp locations, who participated in cultural activities that represented their villages. The children's simple concluding session ended up becoming an all-day display of dances, martial arts, speeches, plays, yoga, sports, music, and arts & crafts.

The final ceremony concluded with thanks to SARVAM and the presentation of talents acquired during the camp. The highlights of the final ceremony included heartfelt speeches expressing gratitude to SARVAM for organizing the camp and providing a platform for talent development. The participants showcased their newly acquired skills through captivating performances, leaving the audience in awe and admiration.

Using natural leaves and coloured paper, the children made lots of handwork decorations to decorate the function place and they decorated the place. Involving the children in decorating the place themselves not only promotes their creativity and sense of ownership but also instils a sense of pride and accomplishment in them. By actively participating in the decoration process, the children develop their fine motor skills, learn about teamwork, and experience the joy of seeing their creations come to life.

The final ceremony showcased the children's talents in cultural performances, martial arts, and creative arts, marking a fitting end to the enriching experience.

SARVAM's summer camp once again proved to be a vital platform for rural children to explore their potential, build confidence, and create lasting memories.