Thursday, July 20, 2017

Day 4 - Our Planet: Ecology Matters! And History, Too!

During our morning gymnastics, we played Ninja in three huge groups until one winner remained in each. 

Today was another special day at camp because Karolina turned 15, so a group of boys lifted her, on a chair, into the air 15 times. The whole camp sang “Happy Birthday” to her in three languages. 

The first thematic activity was listening to the audio only of the YouTube video Man while each student tried to sketch six associations in a storyboard format, guessing at what the visual would be.  After they saw the actual video, which is about how man destroys the environment, they posted their drawings in the room. 

 Activities moved to the tennis courts where students participated in a relay race focused on reduce-reuse-recycle.  The six groups of students had to sort 24 items into the 11 appropriated recycling containers to earn points for correct sorting.  We learned how to sort items such as a light bulb, dried tangerine, phone charger, CDs, and a toilet paper roll.  We also discussed that different towns and countries have different sorting criteria.

Continuing our focus on ecology matters, we watched a video about UNESCO World Heritage sites and put pictures of the sites and locations in chronological order to match the video.  The next step was to play a rousing game of Kahoot using  cellphones. Students had to identify the countries where various UNESCO sites are located. The three winners were Sophie, Troy, and Ola who were awarded chocolate medals. 

After lunch, we boarded buses to Merkinė, an hour ride from camp. Today the town is rather small, but its past is truly glorious. Archeologists say that the first settlements in the region of Merkinė can be dated 9000 years B.C. The town truly flourished in the 9th-16th centuries, when it was granted Magdenburg rights and became a large trading center. It was also one of the most important links in the Nemunas river defensive structure network in the wars against the Teutonic Order.  
Our campers were introduced to a photo treasure hunt and divided into four groups to create photos with three elements (depictions of nature, team members, and fun!).  We climbed approximately 150 steps up the Merkinė Observation Tower, took a walk along the river Nemunas, climbed the Mound of Merkinė, and then visited the town center, and took photos along the way.

One group ventured farther into the woods than the others and extended their 15-minute walk to more than an hour, searching for adventure. Thanks to GPS on their cellphones, good humor, and grit, the party was soon re-united with the larger group and joined their friends for well-deserved ice cream, in Merkinė.

Back at camp, many students took a plunge in the lake to cool down, and then returned to the next activity: viewing and voting on the best photos after each group presented its five best.  After the best photo from each of the four groups was announced, all the students received KinderEggs, which was a tasty and pleasant surprise.

During our evening snacktime, we continued the celebration of Karolina’s birthday by presenting her with a cake topped with candles and with a gift bag full of wishes from campers. 

After dinner, students played football, made a campfire, and played Ultimate Frisbee while the tutors worked on tomorrow’s activities which will focus on “Our Rights and Responsibilities, Freedom of Speech, and Media Literacy.”   

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