January is the beginning of a two-month vacation (similar to summer vacation in the American education system). For children’s homes, their fiscal year budget doesn’t begin until March, so it makes planning fun activities difficult for the children to enjoy during the winter break.
At the beginning of 2020, we provided a Winterfest activity for 56 children at a KKOOM-supported children’s home to enjoy rides, snow sledding, and delicious carnival treats at the E-World Amusement Park. While the children have been to E-World multiple times, it was their first time enjoying the winter activities, which was the perfect combination of a frozen adventure with smaller lines and new attractions.
For the first time in several years, we also provided an English Winter Camp for elementary and middle school students to sharpen their language skills. With the theme of “Around the World,” English Teacher volunteers created activities for the children, such as making the largest Korean tower out of spaghetti, tape, and marshmallows.
You could hear the room roar with laughter as different children recited English tongue twisters in a race to have the fastest time. Ending the camp doing a fun scavenger hunt around the children’s home and making glitter jars was the icing on the cake.
Cliff Long, the Lead Teacher for the English Winter Camp, shared these reflections about his time working with the children. “Being able to teach gave me the chance to see the children in a different setting and expand how I see them. They aren’t just the happy, energetic kids from the Christmas parties and other events. They are hardworking students on top of that. Even at their age, they have educational ambition and drive to learn about the world that is inspiring to see shine through, even at a fun English camp.”
These two experiences alone provided memories for a lifetime. Before the pandemic really affected South Korea, we are grateful the children enjoyed their winter vacation to the fullest with fun new traditions!
-Grace Lee, Executive Director