The 4 new volunteers added quite an interesting dynamic to start us off. The classroom was chaotic. It was loud and packed with people. Watching the kids' responses to all the new people was absolutely fascinating.
One boy, P, instantly came up to me and gave me a Star Wars Jedi chop--nothing out of the ordinary. He then moved on to do the same thing to one of our new volunteers, Phillip, whom he had never met! After he Jedi chopped him, he pranced away to go get snack. I told him to come back and introduce himself. He looked at me with a puzzled look on his face, then looked back at Phillip, stuck out his hand and said, "Hi." I prodded him: "Hi, my name is..." He introduced himself, kind of, sort of, maybe, listened to Phillip introduce himself then pranced away until another club leader grabbed him and prodded him to keep meeting the new people in the room.
Then, we have B, of whom I am SO PROUD. After noticing the new people in the room, he immediately (without being asked) went up to each of them and introduced himself: "Hi, my name is B. What's your name?" Needless to say, the club leaders and I were ELATED!!! Go B!
Snack time was chaotic. We barely succeeded in getting a name game in through the noise, but we did it! I was starting to sweat! I hoped that this wasn't too much for my new volunteers. The kids were unusually rowdy today.
But soon, things came to order. We decided to have a carnival theme for the last day. This included 3-legged races, egg-and-spoon relays, pin the spot on Barney (the kids crack I-Hate-Barney jokes all the time, so we thought this would amuse them), a Lollipop Pull, and cupcakes for everyone as soon as we took a group photo (which, unfortunately, I am not allowed to post online )!
The 3-legged race was fantastic! I told the boys to pair up, which they did enthusiastically. Each heat had 2 pairs of boys and 1 pair of club leaders. The boys showed us up! We didn't stand a chance against them! Then, we took the winners from each heat and had a finals round (Jer & M against P & C). After the first race, one group was accused of cheating, so we did a rematch. P and C fell at the end of their race and C hit his knee. Now, C really really likes to win. We've had to talk him down a number of times about teamwork and compromise and putting himself in other people's shoes when THEY lose and HE wins. So there C was, lying on the floor trying not to cry while we are trying to take care of him, when Akshar (a club leader) whispers to his teammate P, "Tell him you guys won!" P immediately bends down next to his "best friend" and let's him know. I don't think I have ever seen C so happy in the entire year I have known him. His tears of pain turn to tears of complete and utter joy! He sat up and hugged me he was so happy! I wouldn't call it a social skills lesson learned, but we did get a few good laughs out of it. The healing power of winning!
The kids were so sad once it was time to go. They kept asking us over and over when we would be coming back next year. Jas, who has formed a special bond with Akshar, was thinking way into the future about when Akshar would be a senior in college. Jas hoped he would still get to see Akshar once HE went to college. B moped around very sadly, seeking each one of us out to give us a big hug.
I love this group of boys! They have been such a blessing in our lives, and I can't wait to see how much they have grown and developed between now and the next time I see them. It has truly been a treasure watching these boys grow up right before our eyes. They have tackled some real social skills issues (teamwork, collaboration, compromise) and, more importantly, they have made friends!
We'll be back next year!