Morgan’s Summer Service

This summer, I worked as a volunteer counselor at The Ross School for three, four, and five year olds.  The Ross School is an educational institution which runs from September through June and a day camp throughout the summer.  Ross places an emphasis on organic and local foods as well as promoting an open, accepting environment.  During the two weeks in which I was a counselor, I was part of an Early Childhood group called “Creative Explorations.”   Each morning, two other counselors, an instructor, and I were joined with about nine three to five year olds.  Our objective was to educate the children on music, art, and nature as well as its inhabitants.  The Ross facility is equipped with a vegetable garden to which we travelled every other day on nature walks.  We often aided the children in dissecting a plant or fruit to unearth its insides and find different ways the vegetation could be used.  They sketched and (in the case of a fruit) ate the plant.  When we took apart a tomato, we taught the kids about the names of its different components.  In the afternoons, we organized numerous art projects for the children.  During the afternoon art period, it was crucial to step back and let the toddlers work alone.  As a counselor, I found it essential to evaluate the influence I was having on the young children.

Throughout my experience, I became aware of my impact on the children as well as their impact on me during my two weeks at Ross.  During the initial days of camp, many of the children were reluctant to complete their own art projects and continued to ask me to write their names at the bottom and draw circles, hearts, or other desired shapes.  Every day, I encouraged the kids to explore and attempt to draw and write on their own.  By the end of the two weeks, all of the kids were comfortable and confident with their own drawing skills.  They were unafraid to be creative.  As a result, I became conscientious of everyday moments in which people impact other’s lives.  It can happen in just a split second; someone may smile at a stranger and change the course of their day.  I started realize these minute yet significant moments that could impact others.  It reminded me of a statement of guidance from the Dalai Lama, which was to “Be kind whenever possible.  It is always possible.”  Every new second contains the chance to impact someone’s life with mere kindness.  Even the smallest of creatures have a great impact on the world.  As said by the theorist and biologist Edward Osborne Wilson, “Ants are the dominant insects of the world, and they’ve had a great impact on habitats almost all over the land surface of the world for more than fifty million years.”  Many small acts can affect lives similar to the way in which numerous minuscule ants can have an effect on the earth.  Especially at a young age, children have a tendency to be easily influenced.  As a volunteer counselor this summer, I had the incredible opportunity to encourage self-confidence in young children, which will hopefully impact the rest of their lives.

-Morgan Carmen

 

 

3 thoughts on “Morgan’s Summer Service

  1. Morgan,

    What a beautiful way to summarize your experience.

    “Many small acts can affect lives similar to the way in which numerous minuscule ants can have an effect on the earth. ”

    I too appreciate the impact our small gifts of time can have on the lives of others. The Ross School’s program sounds wonderful. I think it is so important to help young children connect to their natural surroundings. The daily programming sounded as if it it encouraged children’s curiousity and creativity. It was obvious from your writing that you consider the experience as enriching to you, as it was for the children you served.

  2. I really enjoyed reading your post, Morgan. It helped me to understand more of what you did this summer. I love how you quoted Wilson about ants being small yet having a large impact on our world. It reminds me of what you said, that “every new second contains the chance to impact someone’s life with mere kindness”. That we don’t need to wait to affect change. Small actions can have big impacts. It was clear to me what a big effect the kids had on you, but it was also clear that you had an impact on them!

  3. Morgan, you wrote such an eloquent summary of your time at the Ross school. I so appreciate your comment: “As a result, I became conscientious of everyday moments in which people impact other’s lives. *****”It can happen in just a split second”***** It’s so true. Children perceive and are affected by the shape of a smile, the quirk of an eyebrow, the tilt of a head. As a teacher in that environment you had such great power to do good, and it’s clear that you used that power for good.

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