So Suzanne here checking in for the first time this trip and I have the task of summing up the activity holiday with the boys at Kottivakkham boys town. The weekend of 18th – 21st August we went to Yellegiri hills.
Every year we take the boys out of the city to a campsite for activities fun and games and enables the boys to be children, have fun and have a break from life in Chennai city.
In the UK we spent time thinking of a theme to help us narrow down the activities we can do and as this year the Olympics were taking place we thought this would be a great theme to choose and ideas soon flowed on crafts and games.
The 18th was an early start as we left Vepery at 7am to get to boys town. Bus full and a nice cosy fit ready for the 6 hour drive to the camp. The boys were visibly excited and looked very smart in the YMCA boys town t-shirts that they have. The boys travelled in their own bus as there were only 29 boys and a big coach/bus was not needed. So a slightly different experience as we did not have the singing and dancing with the boys that usually helps time fly on the journey. Lauren, Ewan and I tried to keep the mood high and entertained ourselves with Lauren and Ewan’s playlist and lots of singing on the newly labelled ‘party bus’.
We arrived and unloaded our luggage and resources and then it was time for food, a moment for the regular visitors to relish as the food is always so good and the newbies to get their introduction to how well fed they will be over the coming days.
Once team was briefed we all met the boys in the hall for the teams to be sorted. We went back to the old way of doing things and arranged the boys in height order for sorting. The fun bit then began, learning names and choosing team names. We all had a colour to start with to help us out: Red team became Red Bulls, Blue team became Blue Diamonds, Yellow team became Yellow-gri and Green team became Green Beans. This time was a great introduction to the boys as some of them were new to us. The banners made were all very creative and some of the boys showed their art skills.
The following days that followed consisted of the boys in the groups going around different activities. We made trophy’s with empty water bottles led by the very resourceful Debbie, wreath headbands all specifically colour coded per group with Chloe, friendship bracelets with Lauren, gymnastic ribbons followed by a choreographed dance with Rachel, medals with me, Olympic torches with Becky and lots more fun with sport activities as well.
In our morning devotions Rob and Emma planned 3 themes for the days we were there. Friendship, resilience and
These themes worked really well to prepare the boys for the day and gave them an aim to achieve and win points for their teams, this was seen in the way that the boys worked together and although in some time of frustration it showed they soon realised they needed to work together, encourage each other in order to achieve the aim. In my group it was nice to see the boys come together and work well, they were polite and friendly and very helpful. On day 2 we were fortunate to once again visit the lake at Yellegiri and the nature park. This is a nice opportunity to spend time with the boys and get to know them really well. It is also a great opportunity to act like kids again. In the nature park a lot of us girls and maybe Rob and Ewan were gifted with flowers and our hair elaborately decorated with them.
Our last morning was the usual hike up the mountain to an area known as bare rock. The team managed very well getting up and the boys equally so especially in helping the team as well. Just as we all managed to reach bare rock we then moved on again as the boys wanted to go higher. For some of us this was a challenge but it was faced head on and we got up and down in one piece.
Our last then consisted of funfair games and challenge games for the team to earn last minute points and also sweets!
Then came the moment for the winning team to be announced, it was very close with Red team on 95 points, yellow team on 97 points and Green and Blue coming out top with 100 points.
It was then time for us to travel back to Chennai after a very successful weekend.
For the team we stooped off at Vellore to pay a visit to George a YMCA secretary who is based there. For Tamsin and I who visited last year it was nice to see the finished hostel and for Emma and Rob it was nice to catch up with an old friend and for the team to meet him.