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NewLife Summer Camp: Themes, Memes and Dreams

August 19, 2014

Recently, Kimberly Moore (Community Coordinator at NewLife Alliance | Hunstville, TX) and I sat down to chat about her colorful theme weeks and successful first summer with NewLife Alliance. I asked Kimberly some probing questions and she definitely had some answers at the ready!

My first question was: “What did your children say was their favorite event of the summer?” Kimberly confidently stated, “Out of this World Week.” It was a week in which students learned about planets, the sun and the moon, and different astronomical phenomena. The students designed their own planets; visited a local planetarium; and studied the different phases of the moon using oreo cookies (of course, at the end of the day, they got to eat the oreos!). They also did two types of rocket races.

The next question was: “How did you come up with the ideas for the various themes?” Kimberly said, “I used the internet, pinterest, etc. Some activities I came up with on my own. I also referenced the NewLife calendar.” What's your favorite part of your job? “Tricking the kids into learning, especially during the summer.” In your opinion, which theme had the biggest impact on the most residents? “Probably Appreciation Week. We made thank-you cards for the people in our lives we appreciate, and this had an impact at home, as well.” What's the most important thing you can teach your residents? “To be nice to one another; always use manners, the golden rule. There was a story of one child splashing around in the pool, and another child said, ‘Please, stop.’ The first child said, ‘Oh, ok, sorry.’ So, this was a good manifestation of some of my teachings coming into play.”

How many themes do you implement per year? “8 summer weeks, and 9 months during the school year.” What's been the most successful theme for children? “Definitely Out of this World Week, the kids just learned so much.” What are you passionate about? “I want the kids to be smart and think for themselves. To grow up and follow their dreams.” Has there been a stand-out moment from the summer that, looking back on it, was really a turning point for one or more of your residents, or was a really impacting moment? “During Secret Agent Week, we did a scavenger hunt. The 5-to-8-year-olds did a nature-based scavenger hunt, and the 9-to-12-year-olds had clues (they were looking for something, but they didn’t know what). I wrote riddles that were pretty easy at first and then they got harder. They wanted to quit... one of the children said they could do it. So, they worked together and they finally got it. There ended up being candy at the end.”

Kimberly said it’s been a great summer thus far. Her only wish is that more friends from the community would join in the fun!

 

-by Dave Klivans, NewLife Volunteer Reporter

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