(Guest Blogger of the week: Jocelyn Lancaster!)
"Programming at the library during July is a bit different than the rest of the year. We have dismantled Children’s Art and English classes to give Holly and Dana time to focus on other projects that have been put on the back burner throughout the year, and implemented new activities for each day of the week. Tuesdays are sports day, and the first Tuesday of July, Dana and I were in charge of planning the day’s activity.
During our weekly meeting, I had been struck with a genius (if I do say so myself) idea of organizing a “Limbo Day” sometime in July. Nothing gets kids of all ages (even 23 year old kids) excited like the prospect of cha-cha dancing to fun beach music in a line while putting your balance, and your spinal cord, to the ultimate test- over and over again. While Limbo isn’t what you would traditionally consider a “sport”, Dana and I were rushed to come up with something for sports day since the meeting where the weekly responsibilities are assigned took place at 9pm the night before (here, our work literally never ends- in case any of you parents were concerned about our daily routine)!
That Tuesday at 3, Dana and I took over the teen center with our speakers, iPod, stickers (for incentive), and broom, and waited for our students to arrive. They piled in with their jack-o-lantern smiles and listened as we explained the rules of the game. Now, Limbo is a fantastic game, but even the most amazing, fun, and inspired game in the world can get boring after a while. Anticipating this inevitable reality, Dana and I, being the clever and responsible people that we are, had planned a second activity to follow Limbo- another fantastic game called Musical Chairs. Unfortunately, the inevitable reality of boredom does not only apply to games such as the former, but to the latter as well. Do not be mistaken into thinking that Dana and I retreated into a state of frustration or chaos when our carefully planned activities took up only half the time they were supposed to. If living in Ecuador has taught us one thing, it is to never accept defeat, especially in the presence of 6-11 year olds. Thinking quickly on our feet, we led them in a surprisingly successful “human knot” activity (where you stand together and grab random people’s hands before attempting to untangle yourselves) followed by an exhilarating leap-frog competition spanning the length of the teen center.
Looking at our watches at 4:05 with a sigh of relief, we accompanied the kids back out to the library where they quickly dispersed to take part in their activity of choice- puzzles, reading, blokus, mancala, drawing, etc.- happy and fulfilled. After being consumed with leading the summer English program in San Juan for the past two months, I sure have missed the excitement and unpredictability of the library. Limbo day with Dana and the munchkins was a perfect way to be welcomed back.