Monday, February 3, 2014

Annanor Camp with 41 Children

Tonakilla Camp, Annanor

Our Team assembled around 10AM with 41 kids from different tuition centers. Followed by brief introduction from Venkat and Palanidurai sir, we started segregating the kids into 5 groups, naming them Land, Air, Sky, Fire and Water. We made sure that each team has kids from all different centers and the children made sure of their protests to be with their group of friends from their own tuition centers. But after arguing and convincing by Almas, Venkat and Palani sir the kids understood (or atleast acted) that this camp is to learn new things with new friends.

Team and their Tents

Each team was assigned a tent to put their bags and take rest for sometime. Sasi, Venkat, Almas, Palani sir, Haribabu started preparing for the next set of activities, while other volunteers joined the kids in their tents and were having chat with them.
Then tasty and Ragi Health Drink by Suganthi mam (from Isha) was distributed to everyone.

Yoga Session

The first activity was Yoga Session by Isha Yoga. Children of 8th standard and above attended the session with Venkat, Almas, Sasi, Haribabu, Rathi Devi and Varun. While Tirupathaiah, Saiyasodharan, Kiruba, Anand and Praveen played Cricket with the little children and it was the most enjoyable.

Tug of War

Followed by the Yoga session, Mr. Dawn William, General Manager of Blue Cross, former Indian Soldier who took part in Kargil war, took charge.
Tug of War was organized between the teams. Each and every child played with full force and determination. Around half a dozen rounds passed and a team was selected as the winner.
Then to multiply the fun factor, a grand Tug of War was arranged between the Volunteers (around 10 in number) and the Children (41 in count). The children thought that we were big guys with strong muscles and will prove to be a tough competition. But in high spirit and energy, there were very much sure of beating us. But we only know our real strength and stamina and we decided to play this game strategically, instead of betting on our brute force (if any).

Our strategy was to tie our end of the rope to a tree in our side. It was done and the match began. The children pulled to their best, but couldn’t beat us. We are also not able to pull them in. Minutes, seconds passed with high tension and we found few children tieing their end of rope to another tree in their side. With absolutely no guilty we called them foul and they pointed their fingers in our tree tie up. Oops, we were caught and so all the ties were removed and a real match started again. We couldn’t even stand a minute against the children and we all were dragged down to dust.

Military Training

A rope was tied between trees and before even Dawn sir started, the children started climbing the trees and tried their luck with the ropes. But there were not stopped, Dawn sir encouraged them to try crossing the rope. Of course, we were standing beneath to catch the kids, in case they fall, which happened obviously. Then even our volunteers tried their will and determination with the ropes, but in vain.


Time was almost 2PM, lunch was ready and so the activity was put on hold for lunch break with a promise that an easy technique to cross the rope will be taught after lunch. We all had tasty Sambar, Potato poriyal, Rasam and Curd.
Thanks to Kiruba’s relative Mrs. Lilly who provided us with great food for the whole session.

Full action Post Lunch

As promised Dawn sir taught us all a simple smart technique to move through the rope without much effort. Each and every kid tried and practiced it. Then the whole team was segregated into two and a different variety of running race was arranged between the teams. Time was around 5PM, everyone tired and low physically, but very energetic and high mentally. Dawn sir’s session was over. We all took snaps with him and then he left.


After a small break, Praveen Kumar Samikannu taught Karate and basic defense mechanisms for about an hour, which was a very useful and informative session. Kids were then told to relax themselves until our next activity which is Camp Fire.

Camp Fire

Camp Fire was new to us and we struggled sometime to fire the woods. Nevertheless, we achieved it shortly. One by one the kids started singing, more hands joined, then dancing started, we all run around the fire shouting funny slogans. The Gana songs sung by the children were totally refreshing, had deep philosophies covering the length and breadth of love with a bit of gender discrimination. But it was all for fun.

It was then followed by Dinner and then the kids were told to return to their tents to sleep at around 9.30 PM.
We put a large bed sheet in the mid of the ground and were chatting till 2 AM and some people till 3 AM, looking after the tents and speaking with their grandpa and grandmas in the sky.

Happy Republic Day

Venkat whistled sharply at 5 AM. Everyone woke up, brushed, took bath and got ready by 6.30 AM. Yoga master Kamal (Founder of Contingent Charitable Trust) taught basic Yoga techniques, including Surya Namaskaram. All the kids did yoga better than the volunteers.

Then we had super duper Idlis for breakfast.

Around 9 AM, flag was hoisted by Palanidurai sir and a short speech was given to celebrate Republic Day. Then we asked the kids to speak for a minute about republic day. A child spoke on it beautifully, followed by another short touching speech by Prithviraj.

Survival Game

Time for action. We played a survival game then. The volunteers circled all the children in the ground. We are to throw a ball randomly towards the children. Whoever gets hit in their legs should come out. Our goal is to take out all the kids by hitting them and the kids goal is to escape from the ball and survive till the end. The game was really fun and lasted around 15 minutes. The last 3 survivors were given prizes.


Scout Master Raja Sudamani started scout training session after 11 AM. He began the session with interesting magic tricks. He explained on various types of knots, pros and cons of each of them. The session was both entertaining and informative.
Lunch was ready at 2 AM as previous day. We all had lunch.


After lunch, excellent time with a Team from Shasha Foundation. They performed various fun activities including Mimicry. Not just fun, they ended their session with a beautiful mime on awareness of Smoking Hazards. The mime went for around 15 minutes and it was very enlightening.

Magic Show

After fun with Shasha Foundation members, our Scout master Raja Sudamani took back the control. But this time, he performed excellent magic show. He did things no one shall believe is possible. But unlike other shows, in the end he taught us and also the kids, the real trick behind most of the magics. It was a very exciting session, where we not only enjoyed but also got clear insights into the real tricks behind the magic.

Feedback session from Kids

Time is around 4.30 PM and we are to wind up shortly. Before that, we gave feedback forms to the children to get an idea of their perspective of the camp. We requested the children to fill in the following details: 1. positive and negative things of us, CSS volunteers. 2. what they expected out of camp 3. what they got and learned from the camp 4. Are they willing to participate in similar camp in the future.
For the final question, the children replied they would love a similar camp for an extended period like a week.

Best of the Camp

Around 5PM, its time to give awards to the best team. For best performance, best co-ordination, Team B `Water` is given the Best Team Award and its Student Lead Manikandan was awarded with Best Team Lead award.
On volunteers front, the best volunteer award was given to Mr. Haribabu, for his great contribution and support for the whole 2 days.

Farewell Snap with All Children

Link to Complete Photo Album