p Sad to think this was our last full day in the Dominican Republic, but we ended with a bang with Color War. This was a day we had been looking forward to in particular as it was our chance to bring one of Scatico’s oldest and most important (and fun!) traditions to life in our own way. Watching the campers participate in some of Color War’s most classic (and arbitrary) activities with huge smiles on their faces and such intensity (they really got into it) was rewarding in an entirely different day. We’ve said it so many times, but it is incredible how universal and contagious the spirit of camp is, and how quickly we bonded with our campers over activities we know from our own camping days.
As soon as the campers arrived we distributed their handmade team shirts from arts n crafts yesterday, and split into our four animal/color teams to learn a cheer (shout out to the Blue Sharks for best unity). From there we stuck to a strict activity schedule, with the competition staying close throughout the morning. The run of activities was:
1. Traditional relay race on our finally-finished basketball court! The first time around the campers didn’t fully grasp the concept of a relay and upon hearing “Uno, dos, tres, Vamos!” all started to run simultaneously. But they quickly got the hang of it, and the Yellow Fish came in an easy first place.
2. Ping pong relay. This one is a relay where you have to balance a ping pong ball on a paddle while walking across the court. All the campers were naturals!…but Red Dogs stole first.
3. For the third activity we had boys and girls split up, the girls occupying one corner of the court for standing broad jump (a girls track meet staple…it’s amazing how much fun kids can have just jumping) and the boys another corner for a home run derby (where one kid smacked it off the court). Props to Blue Sharks for nabbing first in both.
4. With the sun too hot to handle, it was time to head to the shade for “Over Under” (or should we say “Arriba! Abajo!”). Way to go Yellow Fish for another win!
5. Hit the penny! Campers have to hit a wooden puck with a tennis ball from three feet away. Winners were Yellow Fish and Green Snakes.
6. Treasure hunt. Slightly chaotic, but always intense and lots of fun we wrote clues that lead to different places around the school for the kids to find and follow. Each clue also included a drawing of animals of different numbers and colors for them to practice their English vocab.
7. Water toting. This is where kids have to transport as much water as possible from a one container to another located several feet away, just using their hands, and the team who successfully transports the most water wins. Though we did not have the tubs and pitchers used at Scatico water toting available to us, we improvised using our empty paint trays and cans instead. This one was a real nail biter, but Red Dogs took the gold! (After potential cheating….the campers were getting a little toooo competitive… but we let it slide.)
7. Jump rope! Always a fan favorite, we split up the girls and boys to see which team would have the last person standing. Plenty of unique techniques and laughs along the way.
We finished off the morning by announcing the winner…WAY TO GO YELLOW FISH…and then a massive dance party. It felt like a true day of jam-packed camp fun at its finest, and was an opportunity to interact with the campers in a new team-based context. We hope some of the traditions and games live on when the kids return to school in just two weeks!
Following the competition we headed back to our burrito/taco spot for lunch, and then it was back to the school in Sabaneta for our farewell party. This was a chance to reflect and relax with the campers, as we reviewed with them everything we’d done, and made and learned during our week together. To hear them go around the circle screaming the games we’d taught them, and projects they brought home to show their parents, and new vocabulary (“BBK!” “Photos!” “Orange!”) we realized how much we’d been able to cram into our limited time, and how much we all got out of it (campers and CITs alike). We also got to meet some of the campers’ family members, who joined in on the fiesta, and many of whom gave us heartfelt “thank yous.” Blasting bachata from the trunk of Ledwin’s car we danced and snapped photos, before gearing up for our teary-eyed farewells. The last day of camp is always hard, and ours was no exception.
Our day ended with a dinner on the beach and final meeting to reflect on the trip… more on that in our last post.
Hard to believe that tomorrow we will be back in the 12523