The Sri Aurobindo Rural & Village Action & Movement’s (SARVAM) 11th annual summer camp has just ended in the villages, once again setting new and beautiful milestones. For almost three weeks, the presenters, organizers, volunteers and parents provided a happy and meaningful experience for over 300 rural children from SARVAM’s project villages.
Not only 300 students attended the camp at the Satyam centre, but over 50 coordinators and volunteers were involved each day. Women especially came forward to help with the cooking and cleaning. Every day healthy drinks and simple energetic food was provided to all the participants.
The coordinators and teachers new to the camp were amazed to see the participants arrive early each day, cleaning the site each morning, engaged in prayer; behaving respectfully during classes and snack time, helping each other throughout the day – all because of the leadership role and self-discipline came from the children themselves.
During the entire duration of the camp, 15 college students (old students from SARVAM and ex-camp participants) volunteered to conduct sessions in science, English language, yoga, sports, dance and other activities. The alumni students shared their perspectives on the need for higher education and college and helped inspire the younger students to focus and work hard in school.
The camp sessions varied in size from 15 to 30 children, depending on the age and the nature of the activity. One of the challenges was to choose activities that provided new experiences for the children – many of whom have been attending the camps for the last 10 years.
The first three days of camp were devoted to the theme of ethics, character building and on values and spirituality, offered by the Chinmaya Mission. Also highly inspiring week-long sessions in Math, English and Tamil were offered by the Azim Premji Foundation and other individual trainers and teachers.
The camp included many varied activities that captivated and motivated the students during the initial two weeks of camp, which included sessions of storytelling; art and craft classes which were helped by the older children in more advanced drawing skills of shading and three-dimensional renderings; music and theatre-based activities, including singing, drama and dance; sports and yoga programmes helped to strengthen and focus their bodies and minds.
The various activities on enhancing the communication skills in English were managed by Life Academy professionals in an activity-based method. The students especially enjoyed in ‘Enacting Skit’ where the candidates were given a storyline, pick characters and enact a skit.
The students had a surprise Auroville visit, which provided an experience that was innovative, informative and learning with fun. Among some of the instructive sessions they learned about how a solar cooker is created and used by looking at one from close quarters. They learned about some of the mythological aspects of plants and the many uses and ways to grow them.The children enjoyed every minute of their trip, being in such lush, beautiful surroundings. They also learned about ways in which they can create green pockets around their homes and school by planting saplings and seeds of fruits, flowers and vegetables that they find in their surroundings.
In the last week was to let the children have fun, be creative and explore the world outside their villages. The trip to Poombhuhar was really a refreshing change to the students and contained the happiest hours of the camp. On the final day, they spent time making crafts to decorate their classrooms, engaged in fun sports competitions, exhibit their camp activities and perform cultural programmes to make their final day as memorable and beautiful as possible.