Thursday, 28 July 2011

Adventure Learning

July 28, 2011
When groups come in, the volunteers are divided amongst several teams to support the group’s stay. Sometimes volunteers are assigned to the groups to actually facilitate the programme, which has been planned by one of the long term volunteers and the group’s leaders. These volunteers are responsible for not only leading some of the activities, but also all of the hospitality aspect of the group’s stay – setting up for meals, cleaning up, making the nighttime snack ... they have many different tasks.
Other volunteers are assigned to the arts and crafts team. These folks plan the activities that support the program through art – it may be puppet making, mask making, splatter painting a Wordle diagram (just found out what that is ... google it for those who don’t know – it’s very cool!!) doing a huge collage, chalk painting ... the possibilities are endless and extremely creative. They have an art supply room (actually, it’s a little cottage!) to die for! One of the cupboards in arts and crafts is also where all the great costumes are.
Some volunteers are assigned to the rec (ie recreation) team. They plan all the activities that fall under the category of “Adventure Learning.” These are the team building games, the parachute games, the scavenger hunts, the mini-olympics, the water fights, the monster hunts, capture the flag, the nature walks, the trips to the beach ... again, the range of activities is enormous. They are also the ones who plan the disco dances for the teens in the Tara Tavern and show the movies in the evening.
All these activities get hashed out at the daily morning meeting at 8:45 am. Because I am the Worship Coordinator this week, I’ve been a part of these meetings. A representative from each area is at the meeting, along with the Program Coordinator, (that person has the overview of all the events at the Centre at any given moment), the “Cover” person (the person with the huge set of keys that is responsible for all the health and safety issues, maintenance, drop in visitors, and anything else that comes up), plus the volunteer link with each group, and the group’s leader. And, the driver of the Corrymeela Bus. It can be a fairly large and lively meeting.
“We want to go to the beach at 10, then after that in to Ballycastle.”
“Our group wants to go to the forest for a monster hunt, then to the beach this afternoon.”
“Can you help us make puppets for the Corrymeela’s Got Talent Show this evening?” 
“We need to find time to paint the masks that some folks made yesterday.”
“What about a bonfire tonight? Any chance we can do that?”
Usually after some high negotiations with all involved, the answer is usually “yes” to everything. It’s an amazing exercise in communication and cooperation.
Tomorrow, from 11-1, is the handover meeting, where the new coordinating team, (consisting of Cover, Program Coordinator, Worship Coordinator, Driver) hands over the responsibilities to a whole new team. Many of these folks offering leadership on the coordinating team are Corrymeela members, of which there are about 150 throughout the UK.
So far, I think I’ve met about 20 plus of these folks – some founding members of the community. They are a dedicated and wise lot ... and I’m in awe at their commitment to the community and at their experience.  It’s been a real gift, and an education (my own “Adventure Learning”?) to be a part of this group this week.

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