The holiday colony we made every year in December has already become an “institution”. In the month of October the children begin to ask if there will be cologne!
This year we had thought to make it only for teenagers to feel the problems that are living in our neighborhoods: drugs, alcohol, truancy, sex, live adrift. In our neighborhood there are many groups of marginal teenagers that every day we find stuck to the enclosure of our house.
For this reason throughout the year we accompanied a group of teenagers, boys and girls who frequented the literacy in our center and in the neighboring primary school and with this accompaniment more closely, still increased our concern in doing something to Help them grow.
But at the time of enrollment for the colony “the demand” of adolescents was lower and by the insistence of children we ended up accepting from 8 to 17 years. The group was growing later in the first two days and we had to finish the “vacancies”: they would have reached the number of 120!
But in the end we were left with a feeling of great joy: looking at the past experiences that were very good, all were unanimous in saying that this year was the best, because of the implication that children and adolescents had and the team spirit that reigned among the Monitors, all volunteers, no less than 22, mostly young, boys and girls and some with a very rich experience as catechists and animators of missionary childhood.
How do we work?
We have done some previous programming and joint planning meetings. The objective we defined was to transmit values through recreational activities, in which everyone felt involved and could develop their creativity and capacities. At the end Realizaríamos a Festival prepared by all groups.
We discern the subjects and choose: the sport (values and against values). The human rights of children. Also the homework. Personal Hygiene and good manners. Road safety. Ecology and the environment. Sexuality.
The objective was to involve them in the discussion of the topics and that these partiesen and reach their concrete life and their interests. We had to find participatory methodologies to take it to assimilate the contents into specific activities. It was like “how to learn by playing”… Thus arose the different groups of interest in which each was registered according to his desire: football (many followers!). Singing and dancing. Poetry. Ecology.
And really the festival was a success: full of color and creativity where dances, poetry, theatre, competitions and football were the living testimony of what they had learned. Some mothers present expressed admiration for seeing their children show unfamiliar skills and much gratitude for this opportunity given to children. Some even came to volunteer to be Cologne monitors next year.
In the final evaluation both the children, teenagers and monitors were unanimous in expressing that it had been an unforgettable experience. (See the texts of the written evaluation of some monitors)
The daily life of the colony
1st time at 7h 30 m: Ten minutes of prayer revolving around each group.
Then 15 minutes of gymnastics were followed, exercising the muscles and encouraging everyone. We had good teachers!
2nd moment: Presentation of the subjects in two groups, depending on the ages. Some films on human rights were presented in the reality of the lives of children and adolescents; Posters and practical material, as was the case of the day of the ecology in which all were invited to look for what for them was not degradable garbage and from there the volunteer animator greatly encouraged this training.
3 º MOMENT: It was the “Mata-Bug” (The breakfast), one of the most expected moments to receive its bread with butter and sweet and its bottle of soda “Fizzi”.
4th moment: As initially each one had chosen in which activity wanted to work, each group put its creativity to render.
“What most marked me was the participation of the children and the collaboration between the Monitors… Also the testimonies given by many mothers about what their children learned… “
“It was a few days when we really learned from each other… The dynamics and interaction between all of them was a very big learning in my life. “
“This colony helped me to know my real abilities… He helped Me get to know myself inside. Nor did I know what I was capable of… Thank you very much, and God of great strength to the sisters to continue this noble mission of educating. Thank you so much for inviting me. “Count me in.”
“I liked it very much because we talked about topics, especially with teenagers that parents don’t get to talk to their children and I saw how important it is to talk to them with truth so that
You can open and see the best behavior in life. “Thanks to the colony for teaching us so many things.”
“I already participated as a child of the holiday colony… Today I participated as a monitor, it is a sign that has worked a lot to educate, inform and encourage the holidays. I really enjoyed the experience, from the planning, to the daily evaluation at the end up to our little Big FESTIVAL! But I will not forget the community of friends and brothers that we build and speak in our theater group, in short: it was all wonderful! Thank you for the opportunity. “
“I participated for the first time and at first I accepted the invitation but in the initial planning I was afraid of not being able to see the responsibility… But the experience I did exceeded my expectations because it helped me to go discovering myself… “I liked all I regret is the time, because it was short… It looked to see in the eyes of the children in the last days that they were worth leaving to their friends… “.
“This invitation to participate in the colony came at the time I needed. I learned that the family is not only the blood ties, but also the people who treat us with love and consideration makes us believe in the value we have even though people do not know… The activity that I loved was the poetry and the theater… I am glad to discover that besides singing I am good to declaim, I have gained sincere smiles of “My little pupils of my heart”.
Evaluation of children
It is difficult to present their evaluations in text. So they expressed in the drawings what most marked them were the films of the human rights of the children above all that had direct relation with situations that they live or that they know.
Note: Children’s participation in photos can be better portrayed.
Dominican Missionary Community