We kicked off day 2 with some energizers and games, and really tried to get the energy moving in the room. In order for the kids to really open their minds to all of the activities we take them through, first it's necessary to have some fun through team-building while getting to know each another. Then Uswege moved us into an engaging exercise on goal setting. Students created a vision for their lives in day 1, now it was time to establish goals to get there. This is where we focus on how to "Act from Purpose". Students really opened up and shared their dreams with us, and we helped break those dreams down into goals. We wanted the kids to be able to walk away from day 2 with one thing they could now do to take action and work towards their dream. Here are the "steps" the kids decided they are going to take first:
I wrapped up the day with a lesson on self-esteem, because you can't achieve your goals or even start to believe in your dreams unless you first believe in yourself and love yourself. So I led the kids through one of my favorite exercises: "Pat on the Back". This is a self-esteem activity where everybody writes their name in the middle of a piece of paper and tapes it on their back. Then everybody gets up and walks around and writes compliments about that person on their paper. When everybody is finished writing you sit down and take a look at your paper and choose your favorite compliment to read aloud (this is when the smiles started showing up on all the kids faces). One by one we all stand up and say "Hi, my name is _____, and I am _________." We all show that person some extra love and clap for them after they sit back down.
These kids have probably spent most of their lives listening to other people tell them what's wrong with them and focusing on the negative. We wanted to change that, if even for just a week. We wanted to show them the love that they deserve, and focus on all the goodness and potential deep down inside of them. This exercise, and the smiles that came with it, was one of those moments where we felt a shift start to take place with the kids and this camp. This carried over into day 3: Communication.
Thank you to all of our donors who made this possible. Special thank you to our title sponsor National Processing Solutions and the Woodside Community Action Grant for helping us bring the RENEW program to youth in Arizona. We are forever grateful.