Our last Fête du soleil Wrap-Up is a bit different from all the others. In our other Wrap-Up features we got to see what the chapters liked about hosting Fête du soleil, now we get to see what the monitors liked about animating the camps.
Here is the monitor team for the summer of 2016:
From left to right: Gabriel, Elyse, Brooklyn (Fête du soleil Coordinator), Eva, Mikaela, and Jenelle.
Here is what they had to say about their experiences:
What was your favorite theme to animate?
Jenelle: Pyjamas Day & Camping Day
Eva: At the Cinema
Mikaela: Science Day
Elyse: Music Day
Gabriel: At the Olympics
What was your favorite craft to lead or help the children with?
Jenelle: Door Hangers – The children cut out a foam door hanger and decorated it to hang on their bedroom door.
Eva: Popcorn – They made a two-dimensional popcorn box on paper, and then they glued cotton balls to the top to make it look like popcorn. We used yellow food colouring mixed with water to resemble butter.
Elyse: Guitars – The kids made a guitar out of an empty tissue box and an empty paper towel roll. They got to decorate the box and paper tube; we added elastic bands over the inside of the tissue box to form the strings.
Gabriel: Olympic Torch – We used red, orange and yellow tissue paper to mimic the Olympic flame, the children attached the tissue paper to a cone of construction paper.
What was your favorite game/activity to play with the children?
Jenelle: Blind Taste Test – We got the children to close their eyes as they tried a variety of foods, such as jello, pudding, apple sauce, and small pieces of fruit, to see if they could identify what they had just tasted.
Eva: Button, Button – In this game, all the kids sit in a circle. One child goes around the circle and very discreetly has to place the button in another kids’ hands. Everyone gets to guess to find out who has the button.
Mikaela: Dodgeball – The group is split up into two teams. The goal of the game is to throw the ball and hit all the players on the other team. Once you are out you have to go to the side of the gym and wait to get back into the game.
Elyse: Octopus – We have a few kids who are the Octopi, when they call “Octopus” everyone has to try to get to the other side of the gym. If you get tagged by an Octopus, you become a Sea Weed; you have to sit down in one spot and try to help tag the other runners. The Octopi can call “Sea Weed Alive”, all the Sea Weeds stand up and can help the Octopi catch the other children.
Gabriel: Tag – A couple of campers are “it”, everyone has to run around trying not to get tagged. We play different variations of the game, sometimes we play Freeze Tag where when you get tagged you have to freeze and wait until someone “un-freezes” you by running under your outstretched arms.
What were some of the highlights of the summer for you?
Jenelle: I loved to see the children enjoying themselves; this was most noticeable when they came to give us a hug at the end of the camp. We hope that we left a good impression on the children.
Eva: The highlights in every camp were seeing the children make new friends and how even the shyest ones came out of their shell.
Mikaela: It was incredible to experience their engagement with French and their willingness to learn new words; this was most visible in Wawota where the children would ask us the French word for all sorts of objects. The children bring this enthusiasm and energy that is contagious and always brightens up the day.
Elyse: I liked getting to know the children especially when they first arrived. By later in the day and the remaining days, they got so excited to see us. They even got excited when we got back from our lunch break.
Gabriel: It is amazing to see that even after a few days, the children start to look up to you as a role model especially in their journey of learning French.
What were some of the highlights you witnessed over the summer for the children?
The children loved making new friends and hanging out with existing friends. They especially loved the excursions, playing in the park, the crafts, baking, free time, and the Kid of the Day prizes.
Describe your experience this summer in one sentence.
Jenelle: I enjoyed coming to work every day to see the enthusiasm and passion that the children bring.
Eva: This job makes the summer unforgettable with all the little stories and experiences that stay with you.
Mikaela: It made me a better person to work with the kids in French, to make a big impact in such a short time.
Elyse: Improving the kid’s French, they will always remember their time at camp.
Gabriel: It is really interesting that when you work with children, you feel like a kid again because you play games and make crafts with them.
What do you hope the children took away from their days at camp?
We hope they took away a willingness to continue to learn French and the knowledge that learning languages can be fun; the confidence to continue speaking in French hopefully with the new vocabulary they learned; an understanding of the value of being a good sport; the importance of participation; the quality of being a good friend, and the generosity of helping others – all demonstrated through the Kid of the Day prizes. We want them to recognize their ability to become leaders in their school and community.
What did you like about traveling across the province during July and August? What did you learn?
There was so much of the province that we got to see. It was incredible to feel the sense of welcome in the different communities. With the smaller chapters and camps, we were able to get to know the children differently because we stayed together in one group and we had more opportunities to talk with them. Also, travelling around together as monitors, we were able to get to know one another a lot better too.
What were some of the highlights of traveling around our province? How did you get involved in the community while there?
We loved to do some shopping in each of the communities as well as checking out the local cafés and restaurants. There were many people in all the locations that would spot us in our bright green t-shirts and ask us what they were for. We were able to explain that we worked for Canadian Parents for French – Saskatchewan and we were animating a summer camp in their community.
Why is bilingualism important to you? What did you learn about yourself given that you are bilingual? How do you see your future, given that you are bilingual/multilingual?
Bilingualism opens up so many opportunities: more job opportunities, more possibilities to make friends and travel using both English and French. We are glad that parents, so many who don’t speak French themselves, also see the value of bilingualism. It was surprising to us that it is easy to get back into speaking French and that you can’t be afraid to speak even if you haven’t done so in a while. In the future, we hope to teach our own children French.
A huge thanks to the chapters, the volunteers, and the campers and their parents for the incredible summer Fête du soleil 2016!