Day 5: First Day at Agencies
Today was the first day we were separated into our agencies. This morning, all seventeen of us were loaded into the van at the same time and were dropped off at our respective agencies. I along with a handful of other students (Erica, Dan, Jaime, Kaylin, Tisha, and Darielle) were at Colegio 20 De Abril, the school supported by Hogard de Cristo.
The itinerary for the school was: a handful of students that are apart of the youth leaders in a sexual health program, (a peer to peer program), a group of junior high students (ages 12-14), a group of high school students that ranged from 15-17, and a young adult group of students (age 18+).
We started off with a handful of youth group and played a game called ‘The Human Knot’, a team building exercise where students hands are joined together and tangled up forming a ‘knot’. After unweaving the knot, we had a mini reflection time with the youth group about what the game taught them. Students did not hold back when expressing their opinion of the game and although they came up with wonderful responses (such as working as a unit, emphasizing teamwork, how the game develops communication skills), the really touching moment came from a young man named Kevin who said: the game helped develop trust, which is one of many ingredients of friendship.
We played a few more ice breaker games then decided to give the teens free time to play with the equipment we brought before they had to return to their classes. Initially we started out juggling tennis balls (or pretending to), when two of the boys (Kevin and Julio) had an idea. What started out as juggling slowly progressed to hitting the tennis ball back and forth with their hands occasionally adding in a bounce. Within a matter of minutes both boys managed to move to a more spacious areas (middle of the play area), establish perimeters, add in Frisbees as paddles to hit the ball with. Being able to see the raw imagination come to life and develop itself was fascinating!! It was awesome to see the teens start out with an idea and having them shape that idea it into a game; adding partners and establishing a small set of rules when they saw fit. The activity was a freely chosen idea that was personally organized and directed by the boys; who were clearly intrinsically motivated, further demonstrated by the verity that their team kept score. But most importantly, the activity that they created was enjoyable and fun.
Due to the heavy population of the other three groups of students, we were not able to establish the one on one connection that we had with the youth leader group that morning. To accommodate the bigger groups, we decided to slip them up into different stations: trust exercises, learning how to throw a Frisbees, and parachute games. The parachute games were an astounding success, every group eagerly awaited their turn at the parachute station and those that had already been exuded a longing to return. Despite the high concentration of students (around 40-45 in each group) was not able to stunt some individuals from standing out from the crowd. Some favorites may have been establish, and I am quite interested to see how the relationship will blossom and develop as we work with all the students more next week.