While most people don’t look forward to summer, everyone at SKCT eagerly awaits this season as it means it is time for creativity, learning and loads of fun- SUMMER CAMP! 63 students from classes 5-9 participated in the week-long summer camp starting from April 2nd to April 8th. Spearheaded by Mrs. Poornima Cartic, each year the summer camp sweeps us off our feet.
This year, the students had a packed schedule starting at 7:45 a.m. and going on till 4 in the evening. The children started their day with yoga. Shri Narayan Reddy sir from Puttaparthi conducted the sessions for girls and boys of classes 7-9. The students learnt various asanas to improve their posture, flexibility, stamina and breathing.
Since students practised yoga on an empty stomach, they were given a healthy and delicious energy drink (protein kanji) lovingly prepared by our volunteers Mr And Mrs Shankar every morning.
Next, all the children from classes 5-9 assembled at Sai Krushna Arogya Dham for a divine session on Bhaja Govindam. Conducted by Sai Sangeet brother, the children enjoyed learning the shlokas. They were taught important life lessons through the shlokas and their meanings. These sessions were also interspersed with interesting stories that had the children in raptures.
Energised with yoga, kanji and divine thoughts, the students charged onto the school grounds for one hour of active play. Mr. John and team conducted outdoor games for the boys and girls separately, ensuring their energy was channelled positively. This session gave scope for the kids to enjoy healthy competition and develop teamwork without any inhibitions. Considering the hot summer sun, SKCT gave caps to all the children. On 7th April, a unique sports competition was conducted for the students where they participated in different races and won several prizes too.
The children were flushed and tired but thrilled at the end of the hour. And brother Bhupal along with the ex-student volunteers welcomed them with buckets of delicious snacks, again prepared by Shankar sir and his wife. Each day, from sabudana khichdi to sundal to sweets, a special treat awaited the kids. Volunteers too enjoyed the prasadam to the fullest.
Across the 8 days of the summer camp students were taught several arts. Krishna sir conducted a 3-day workshop on clay modelling. The students explored playing with clay as their little fingers created simple animal-figured keychains and fridge magnets. The older kids learnt lippan art, a clay art form from Gujarat. They made beautiful and colourful nameplates and key hangers.
The students worked diligently under the tutelage of Mrs. Madhumita Biswas to create some mind-blowing Mandala art. This is an art that promotes concentration. The senior students from classes 8 and 9 immersed themselves in their art forms and with the help of the teacher created several products such as name plates, gift boxes, tea holders and clocks.
Mrs. Poornima Cartic led the remaining art workshops of decoupage, resin art, macrame, crochet, pot painting, stencil bag painting, burlap photo frame and t-shirt making with the help of a volunteer team including Nidhi, Keerthi, Pooja, Prateeksha, Suja, Sri Dhivya and Vandana. The students were provided with all the necessary materials to learn and create wonderful products. They learnt the process of each art form, the techniques to perfect the same and ways to handle them for prolonged use. Many of these products used regular waste materials to turn them into beautiful showpieces. The kids enjoyed painting, sticking and creating different items. The volunteers thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the process and learning so many new things.
Post lunch, the children took turns learning how things work through the science workshop conducted by Agastya Foundation. They were taught different concepts and principles of electricity and laws of motion. In each class, the students were taught to build different models to demonstrate these principles, namely- series and parallel circuits, simple circuits, remote-controlled cars, simple pendulums, pinhole cameras etc.
Mr R. Venkataraman, our seniormost volunteer, travelled from Chennai to be a part of the camp and share life lessons with children. With the help of little anecdotes and analogies, he gave them practical life lessons.
While most of the art and science sessions were conducted in batches, the last hour of the day was attended by all- students, volunteers, teachers and others. This was the Storytelling session. The camp saw a host of speakers such as Shri Shiva Shankar Sai sir ( fondly known as Warden sir), SSSIHL Alumni brother Shri Y S Sriranganatha Raju, SKCT Managing Trustee Shri Vinod Cartic, and brother Sai Sangeet. Each of them shared the nectar of their divine experiences with Swami along with several meaningful stories from our mythology. The children and adults enjoyed these sessions wholeheartedly.
To mark the end of the summer camp, a surprise fun fair was organised for the students. The first of its kind at Sai Krusna Vidya Mandir, the fair was organised by the volunteer team of Harish, Aishwarya, Prateeksha and Priya accompanied by several others from the SKCT family. Lots of games and loads of food counters were arranged. The teachers lent a big hand in handling the food counters while the game counters were manned by the volunteers. The students were thrilled to see the arrangements. The students were given coupons as token money to help them learn the concept of handling money, sharing and choosing what to spend on. Sugarcane juice, pani puri, momos, sandwiches and sweets filled their stomachs while the games filled their hearts. It was heart-warming to see the kids having the time of their lives as they lined up to play different games and win prizes. Overall, the Fair was a grand success and the team is super excited to plan a bigger one next year.
On the 9th of April, a grand exhibition was put up to display the various articles created by the children during the summer camp. This included all the artwork and the science models. Guests and parents visited the school to take a look at the achievements of the kids. The students explained each item explaining what they had learnt in brief. They were all spellbound by the talent of the students and left beautiful words of appreciation in their feedback. A handful of students even explained the gist of what they had learned as part of the Bhajagovindam sessions. The bar was raised high this summer camp and we can’t wait to see what next year has in store for us.