Why Volunteer?

Quiet kids can still be enthusiastic

Bea is currently the coordinator of our online learning programme and she is aiming for this programme to launch as soon as possible. She joined the organisation in 2016 and already participated in three camps (Agárd 2016, Litke 2017, and Lácacséke 2017). When she isn’t helping with children, she works as a film editor for an online series for teenagers, plays the flute or plays board games. She is now summarising what she has learnt since she joined our team.

“I have been volunteering at Knapsack Camps for the past two years and this has been enough for me to acquaint myself with almost all kids in the villages. This year, we visited Lácacséke for the first time and this third village brought new experiences and challenges. I had to unlearn everything that I gained from the Camps before and I had to re-establish my approach to children. My most memorable summer experience arose out of it.

Most activities in our Camps are based on projects to be solved in teams: they discuss the problem, realise a solution and make deductions from it. The team I was involved with on a daily basis wasn’t exactly chatty or vivid. On the contrary, the kids were quite shy, too afraid to talk in the fear of making a mistake. My fellow team leader, Dóri and I were bombarding them with questions all the time with limited results: lots of one-word answers, occasional sentences. We had to try very hard to get anything more than that.

The kids’ project was to build a model of the “City of the Future”, which had everything the kids thought would be necessary. We were only planning and discussing what facilities to have in the city during the first couple of days. We made slow progress, but at least got to know the children, so it definitely wasn’t a waste of time. However, I was a bit nervous about the third day, which would be the start of the actual construction. What if they don’t want to do it? What if they don’t think they can do it? What if they simply leave and look for better things to do?

These have of course proven to be false worries. I was deeply moved by the unexpected energy and liveliness they showed while undertaking the work. Once all tasks were assigned to someone, each of the kids started working straight away. Once someone finished their job, they would help others, or come up with new ideas about what else to include in the city. This is when I realised how important those two days of discussion/interrogation were.

Unfortunately, my story ends here as I had to leave the Camp this day and I couldn’t witness how the model evolved. Dóri said it ended up pretty great. What I took home was a lot of knowledge and experience, for which I am very grateful. I want to go back next year to properly thank them for teaching me that speech is not the greatest of traits. I am trying to incorporate this new finding into our online learning programme as well.

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