Summer Camp 2023 for Village Kids
We organized a summer camp from May 16th to 19th at Bhoomi Eco Village, Gumalapuram, for the local village kids. Nearly 20 children, aged between 8 and 13 years, participated in the program.
On the first day, we started with ice-breaking sessions and games to help the children become comfortable with each other. As the day progressed, the children were sent on a mission to observe their surroundings and then regroup to narrate a story based on their observations. It was wonderful to see how each child was impressed by different aspects and how creatively they built their stories.
On the second day, we took the children on an immersive farm tour, where they learned about organic farming practices followed in the Bhoomi farm. We also discussed the detrimental effects of chemical farming, the benefits of sustainable agriculture, and the importance of consuming organic produce. It was heartening to see that during the farm walk, the children were able to recognize and identify various vegetables, plants, and trees. Later in the afternoon, we had a craft session where the children were divided into groups and given cardboard boxes, including recycled Amazon boxes, to unleash their creativity and construct whatever they desired. This activity encouraged teamwork, innovation, and resourcefulness. One group built a double-decker house, while many of them built houses resembling the ones they observed in the surroundings. They even used materials such as pots and grass to replicate the look of Bhoomi buildings.
The third day of the camp focused on practical learning and environmental consciousness. The children actively participated in a composting activity and learned to prepare "Jeevamirtham," a natural organic fertilizer. With great enthusiasm, they assisted in pouring the compost onto plants, gaining a hands-on understanding of organic practices observed in Bhoomi.
As the summer camp approached its final day, the children were encouraged to reflect on their experiences. Each child wrote a heartfelt letter describing their favorite moments and personal growth throughout the camp.
Throughout the camp, the children enjoyed engaging in various local games such as Lagori (seven stones), Kabaddi, and the knot game. These games allowed them to connect with their cultural roots and fostered a sense of camaraderie among the participants. Additionally, we played dumb charades and a localized version of "Name/Place/Animal/Thing" with a local context, further strengthening their bond with their surroundings.
In an exercise designed to explore their aspirations, we asked the children about their future goals and career aspirations. We heard responses like police officer, teacher, doctor, lawyer, and many other professions. Surprisingly, none of them expressed a desire to become farmers, despite most of them coming from a farming background. This revelation sparked a discussion about the challenges faced by farmers and the need to value and support agricultural practices. Most of the children's parents are farmers, while others work in local factories. This camp was a good opportunity for the children to be in a space where they could work with their heads, hands and hearts.