For two weeks this summer I volunteered at the day camp, Camp Rhythmo, in Lower Manhattan. This program teaches kids, ages 6-11, about nutrition, fitness, science, music, and art; not coincidently, these are the topics most frequently cut from public school education. Camp Rhythmo strives to make sure children have the opportunity to learn and create and be active. Throughout the program kids take part in a wide range of projects such as designing their own molecules, learning to play hand chimes, singing, and participating in dance and yoga classes. In addition, Camp Rhythmo emphasizes the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle and every day the kids had ample time to run around and were taught exercises like push-ups, sit ups, and jumping jacks. The kids also learned about what makes a nutritious meal and the value of eating healthy. At the end of the program the kids have a performance where they showcase all they have learned.
As a volunteer at Camp Rhythmo my job consisted of setting up and supervising activities, writing the daily blog, and interacting with the children. I loved getting to know the kids and admired the zeal they brought to each new activity. In addition, it was impressive to see how much the kids learned in such a short period of time. I couldn’t believe that 5-11 year olds were learning about adenosine triphosphate, even if it was on a very basic level. Camp Rhythmo taught me about what it means to be a role model. I wasn’t used to others depend on me so heavily but I found it to be an incredibly fulfilling experience. Many of the younger kids needed help in almost every task: tying shoes, spelling words, even gluing pom-poms on a piece of paper. By helping the kids in even the smallest ways, I learned a valuable lesson in the importance of patience and attentiveness. Additionally, sometimes the kids would quarrel and it was my job to act as mediator. I found that by instructing the kids to clearly express their opinions and emotions I strengthened my own communication skills.