I had a one set visit to a daycare/camp in a small, urban church today, one that I remember from last year. The group was a little sluggish, having been glued to a big screen Netflix cartoon series. The counselors were off to the side and uninvolved. Such is the reality of these centers. It takes a bit of work to shake them up and get them involved, and there’s not much help from the teen counselors.
A couple of the kids knew me from last year and were warmed up to have some fun. Others were new and, I figured didn’t know much English, so I had my antennae up to figure how to play this out. I explore several ways to engage them. One boy seemed not to know English and was uncomfortable with the Peanut Butter, and other response tunes, so I got him up with the Thunder Tube. He lit up. Another older boy seemed put off by the “childish” stuff, but when I introduced the rain stick and gave it to him to play for the rest of the session, he also locked in and did some great dancing with it. Another male counselor started to dance with Jelly in the Dish with some stylish moves. I invited him into the group when everyone was up and dancing. Scarves, puppets, shakers made for a lively 15 minutes at the end.
I gave out foam noses at the end as they rounded up the instruments for the bag.
I always have my doubts of how to interact with such a wide gulf of cultures, but – and I am always amazed – it always works. I relish these opportunities to learn and grow.