Monday marked the beginning of the second session of Youth Corps in Gyumri.
We had about 80 kids; many of the campers who were extremely satisfied with the first two weeks of camp came again hoping to register for this session as well. The campers were very enthusiastic, ready to begin a fun-filled week of activities and games.
The campers are amazing, yet sometimes very disobedient. They come to the center every morning with the brightest smiles on their faces. The day begins with the singing of the Armenian National Anthem, followed by exercises. The counselors were able to determine the English-language capability of the campers and divide them into their respected classrooms. Later on during the day the campers introduced themselves, sharing with us an interesting fact about themselves. It seems the kids here in Gyumri love rock music!
After a few days, many of the kids became so attached, they would not wait for their parents to pick them up from the center. Instead, they would walk with us home while singing heghapokhagan songs. I can proudly say many of the campers are potential ARF badanees in the near future. In fact, 25 kids from the last session signed up for badanegan on the last day.
As far as my classroom goes, Serop and I have the beginning English class where the kids don’t speak a word of English. It is difficult to communicate with them at times; however we make the best of it. Our plan is to teach our students the alphabet during the first week. Our lesson plans consist of worksheets with the alphabet and the sound of the letters spelled in Armenian.
It’s truly amazing how little things excite the kids. Similar to “AYF Camp”, the campers here are split into three teams (red, blue, and orange). I am a counselor for the blue team, we created a chant for the team, encouraging the kids to be the best in everything they do.
Imagine the song “karoun karoun, karoun eh”, and the chant goes like this…
“Gaboud gaboud gaboud enk, zoravornereh menk enk, garmeerneroon antserenk, narenchakoun hakhterenk. Panagoumi gertank dareen 10 or, hon geh sorvink kedelikner noranor, tasentaskner goonenank menk amen or, oo yerkahantes goonenank menk verchin or…”
…the blue team sings this every time the director blows the whistle and tells them to line up!