The Anatomy of a Summer Camp

Would you believe if we told you that we could get a group of locals to fully sponsor a 10-day summer camp for 100 government students? It is true.

The summer camp organised for the government schools in the Dommasandra cluster this April witnessed several firsts. It was the first time a summer camp was being held for these schools. It was the first time the local community – through the Jeevadhare committee – wholeheartedly participated in the event. It was also arguably the first time that a government schools’ summer camp had children from private schools clamouring to be a part of the event.

We wanted to give the government school children in the Dommasandra cluster an experience of a lifetime. We also wanted to get the community deeply involved. With this two-pronged agenda we set about planning for the summer camp two months in advance.

We wanted to give the government school children in the Dommasandra cluster an experience of a lifetime.

The camp was envisaged for the participation of all the 14 schools in the cluster. As these schools had never had summer camps earlier, we had expected initial resistance to the idea. We were not disappointed. After a lot of discussions with the schools, the Jeevadhare committee and SDMC members, three schools – Santhebeedi GHPS, Urdu GHPS and Model GHPS, Dommasandra – agreed to participate.

Model GHPS was chosen to be the venue for the camp. The children got exposure to a wide range of activities including Yoga, drama, karate, Yakshagana, painting, singing, puppet making, arts and craft. A mix of Mantra4Change members, outside volunteers and professionals were called in to handle these sessions.

At the end of the camp, a showcase was held where the children proudly displayed all they had learned in the ten days. This was well-attended by the education leaders of the community who were impressed with the children’s displays.

“The summer camp far exceeded what we had expected. The children have learnt a lot of new and interesting things. I am extremely happy about that. I am very happy that private school students joined in as well,” said Block Education Officer Mr K.C. Ramesh.

We were surprised by the turnout – about 100 children attended the camp, including children from about 10 private schools in the area.

Teachers who came to witness the camp expressed surprise at the creativity on display. “Teach us too,” they requested. “Have a camp for us as well. Then we can learn and teach all this to students on an ongoing basis. It will be very helpful for our classes.”

We made a WhatsApp group consisting of the children’s parents – no easy task adding almost 100 numbers – where we shared daily updates about the summer camp. The parents were extremely happy.

Thus, the summer camp turned out to be a raging success with everybody. However, the success was not easy. We had to overcome several challenges on the road to the programme’s victory. Our biggest struggle involved raising the necessary funds. The 10-day camp cost us about Rs75,000, all of which was completely sourced from the locals.

What were the obstacles and how did we tackle them?  Read all about this in our next blog.

By Mr. Venkatesh D and Ms. Shalini Nair, Mantra4Change

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