Congratulations to Marissa Garcia, a Peace Corps Volunteer from GUY24, on the successful completion of her Art Camp project in the village of Charity. Here is the summary of her work, along with some great pictures!
Art Camp started July 15th and ended July 19th from 12:30pm to 3-4pm depending on the activity that day. Altogether there were seven Peace Corps volunteers (including myself), six teachers, and three community members that assisted with camp. Some were not present everyday but all did contribute. Total, there were 105 students that participated. The kids were sectioned off and seated in ten different groups, each with an adult; they were told to stay in their same group the entire week.
The 1st day of camp was designated for apron tie-dye. The kids tied their aprons with rubber bands into whatever design they liked the best. Each group had two colors that they were to dye with. They spent the whole day dying, rinsing and drying their aprons so the next day they would be able to wear them.
The 2nd day of camp was paper mache piñata day. The groups were told that there would be a competition on who would make the most creative piñata. Each group had a bucket with the mixture of flour and water, along with a large sized balloon. They were also given newspaper to paste on the balloon. The balloons had several layers of paper mache on them and were left to dry until the following day. (The idea was that the activities for the following days wouldn’t take very long and there would be extra time to work on their piñatas before Friday.)
The 3rd day of camp was painting on canvases in a striped, multicolor design. Each child was given a canvas (the frames were made and donated by the saw mill next door) and told to only use three colors for the first layer. They were to draw and then paint an animal of their choice. The group leaders only took three colors back to their group in order to avoid confusion with the kids. Once they painted their animal, they put the canvases outside to dry. After that, they were told to get masking tape and tape off sections of the painting, to resemble stripes. Once their painting included the tape, they were to get three more colors (different from the first three) and paint the entire animal all over again. This step was a bit confusing for them so the group leaders helped them out a lot. Then once the painting dried again, they were told to remove the masking tape and voila, their masterpiece was revealed. This activity really went well and so many kids had an amazing outcome.
The 4thday of camp was supposed to start out with completing the piñata. Unfortunately the piñatas molded and attracted a huge number of flies. We were going to attempt to salvage them, but they smelled so bad and looked disgusting, that we had to throw them out. We then started with activity number four which was masks. Each child got a piece of 8×10 poster board that they were told to draw an outline of a mask on. Some kids did a Mardi Gras-esque mask, while others did animals. Each group was given glitter, construction paper, glue, and scissors to complete their masks. The kids had a lot of fun with this activity and it was great seeing them come up with different types of masks. After they completed the masks, we had time for another activity. Each child was given a piece of 20×5 poster board and a pencil. They were told to write their name in block letters, filling the space. If their name was too long, they could write “love” “family” “faith”, etc. if they wanted to instead. Once they drew their name, they cut it out and were given black paint to paint the entire thing. We ran out of time, so we had to finish the remainder of the lesson for the following day.
On the last day of camp, we reserved it for games and piñata breaking. Since the piñatas that the groups made initially, rotted, a few volunteers and I decided to make two last minute piñatas out of cardboard boxes for the kids to bust. I really wanted the children to experience the fun of hitting piñatas; so a few moldy piñatas were not going to get in my way. When the children arrived, they were told to finish the activity from the previous day. All they had to do was cut designs out of some sparkly, adhesive paper and decorate their names. Once they finished, they cleaned up and got ready for the piñata and the games. Before we started with the piñatas, we gathered everyone for a game that involved balloons, string and newspaper. The balloons were tied to the kids’ head/hair and they were each given a rolled newspaper page. The point of the game was to pop everyone else’s balloon while keeping your balloon from being popped. They all ran around and had a fun time chasing each other. The winners were given a chance to hit the piñata first. Once we got started with hitting the first piñata, and the kids got the jist of it, they loved every second of it!!! The kids and the volunteers took turns hitting until both were successfully beaten. After the piñata madness, we saved the best game for last……the water balloon war. Buckets of water balloons were placed around the compound and the kids were told to throw as many as they could, at their friends and at their group leaders. Everyone had a blast and it was a great way to end a very fun camp.
Challenges and Successes
The challenges of the project were as follows:
- some helpers ended up arriving late/not showing up
- piñatas failed the first time around
- the aprons got mixed up among the owners
- when the names were painted black, some torn because the paper was too thin
- some aprons didn’t tie dye so well because polyester didn’t absorb the dye well enough
And as for the successes of the project:
- the kids were excited each day about the next activity
- the piñatas 2.0 were built and successfully beaten
- the sharing amongst the groups was better than expected
- the positive feedback I kept hearing from the kids
The challenges of the camp were only small shortcomings so luckily we were able to deal with most of them. Some of the teachers/volunteers were not able to come for the whole week, so I recruited others to help and make up the time so that the groups would all have leaders. We fixed the piñata problem by creating two more piñatas as a surprise for the children. Unfortunately not all of the aprons found themselves back to their rightful owner, but I have a box full of some that were left, if the kids want to look for theirs. The names were repaired by tape. And the polyester not absorbing the tie-dye is something we really couldn’t fix but now realize that was part of the learning process. In the future, we all know to use only cotton! The successes of the camp really outweighed the challenges/failures. By the time that the camp was finished, I could tell that the children really enjoyed themselves and were grateful they got to attend. The PCV’s that helped kept telling me how they thought that for a first time camp, things went rather well. And the teachers were appreciative that the camp gave the children something to look forward to and enjoy.
Personal Success and Feedback
The camp created a lot of excitement throughout the children. They got to experience their skills and they realized their potential. Some of them observed others and realized that art is interesting. It was fun and will give them an idea if they would like to pursue art as maybe a career. – Shakeela Barakat (teacher)
Thank you for teaching me this week Miss! I learned a lot! – Ronaldo (3rd grader)
The kids had such a great time this week. They were so well behaved, polite and very creative. They will remember this camp for a while! – Susan (fellow PCV)
Thank you for having camp Miss! I had a lot of fun! – Kavita (1st grader)
The camp was a fun and empowering experience for all children, parents/teachers and Peace Corps volunteers involved. Many students have never been given the opportunity to experience art, let alone been told their artwork is wonderful and unique. I will always remember that moment of unrestrained joy when the piñata broke and children and candy went everywhere! – Beth (fellow PCV)
Camp was really well organized! The kids and I had a wonderful time! It was a really fun-filled camp that leaves you wanting more! Thanks to everyone that assisted in making it a success! – Ms. Narine (teacher)