You know how children sometimes cry on their first day of summer camp, well during our July Greek Camp, we were the ones that teared up every single day thanks to our little Greek campers and their amazing accomplishments.
We will try to give you a small taste of our days at the Ranch but you should bear in mind that it is one of those things that you had to be there…
Camp Day 1: Our campers arrived on July 3rd. Their first day did not include classes and we gave them the chance to get comfortable in their rooms with the rest of the campers and become familiar with the camp schedule, their group leaders and all the camp terminology. “Trapezaria” is where we all eat, “omadarhis” is your group leader, the person that is with you 24/7, “kylikeio” is where we get our snacks. Some campers inevitably get emotional on the first day, but we were impressed by how fast our little Greeks made friends and got used to camp life even from day 1.
Camp Day 2: This was our first day of classes and first full day of camp. Our campers met their Greek teachers, got divided into groups according to their level of Greek, met their classmates and chanted our Greek school camp chant for the first time!
Αγαπώ τα ελληνικά
Το φωνάζω δυνατά
Μέσα στην Ελλάδα
Κάνουμε μαθήματα, κάνουμε αθλήματα
Είμαστε όλοι πολύ κουλ,
ΜΕ ΤΟ GREEK ONLINE SCHOOL
Camp Day 3: On day 3 you could see that our campers were well-adjusted in camp life. They came to their classes on time and were moving around camp as if they had been there for weeks. The students loved their morning Greek class but were mostly looking forward to the afternoon class that was full of games and activities that helped them practice their Greek in the most fun way possible. On this day we played body scrabble. Our students were dressed as letters and had to form Greek words in their teams. We all had a blast and the winners left with the sweetest treats of Greek camp 😉
Camp Day 4: On day 4 our afternoon class included a field trip to the educational village of the Ranch. There we saw places like the barber shop, cheese factory, shoe maker’s, the loom and talked about old professions and how Greeks used to make shoes, clothes, and cheese. The students got to practice with these words in Greek and even got to role play with these interesting old professions and equipment that they found at the educational village.
Camp Day 5-6-7: These three days included febrile rehearsals and prop preparation. Seeing the amazing little Greeks that we had as students, we could not help but prepare a small play that they would showcase in front of 1500 campers from Greece. So for three days, half of our little Greeks were learning their words, they were rehearsing to dance the “Syrtaki” and the other half were preparing the props for the show at the Art Lab! The show took place on Camp Day 9 and it was something that we will all remember for a very long time.
Camp Day 8: A camp favorite took place on Day 8. Food tasting! The morning class included vocabulary on fruits and vegetables and Greek food in general so we had to practice with a game that included a lot of hands-on experience for our little Greek campers but very little use of their eyesight. The children loved the game and we loved seeing them have so much fun and practice Greek without even realizing it!
Camp Day 9: It’s showtime! On Monday the 11th, the Ranch organized a night at the theater where campers in their groups presented dance routines. Our Greek School had prepared something a bit different. Greek philosophers entered the stage and wondered what Greece meant to people. So we showed that Greece means food, it means sea, summertime, and it of course means dancing. This led us to a “Syrtaki” that we will all remember for a long time. Our pro dancers were unbelievable and managed to receive the biggest applause. Every single camper was on their feet dancing with us and cheering for the little Greeks of the Greek Online School! This experience bonded us with our students and them with each other in such a special way that will stay in our hearts forever. Our little Greeks would make us proud every single day at the camp but this was the night that they brought tears to everybody’s eyes and we could not thank them enough for being so amazing!
Camp Day 10: Greek camp had to end with a bang! When we concluded our morning class, we organized a treasure hunt that led our students to specific places at the camp that became their home for 10 days. In teams they had to solve riddles in Greek that led them from the “trapezaria” to the “pisina” and from “gipedo” to “kylikeio” and so on. After the fun game , we had planned a graduation ceremony for our little Greeks that ended in the way the school year ends in Greece; with an epic “bougelo,” water fight!
10 intense and busy days at the camp that brought us the reward of 30 children of Greek background who became friends with each other, made friendships with children from Greece, had the time of their lives, and that spent the last day promising to each other that they will stay in touch and meet again next year!
Many times words fail to describe feelings. So let’s wrap our July summer camp days with a thank you to our little Greeks for the amazing memories and a promise to meet again in summer 2023 because we all learn to love Greek together!