A total of 102 CEC children from Pre-school to Year 6 participated in this one day camp at the Church of Divine Mercy, Penang (CDM) on the 6th July. The theme of the camp was Saving Our Earth. This main objective of the camp was to create an awareness among the children of the ways in which people are harming the Earth by their actions and practices. The newly created Ministry of Friends of Creation at CDM helped in planning and carrying out activities of the camp.
The camp began with a Praise and Worship session conducted by Esther Tan, the Children Choir mistress at CDM. This was followed by an ice breaker session where each student was given a name tag of another student. They were then asked to seek out the name of that student to return the name tag. Behind the name of each tag was a picture of one of seven endangered animals found in Malaysia. When each one received back their name tags, a short session was given explaining why each animal in their name tag is endangered and how we could help save them.
This was then followed by a session given by Magdalene Chiang on God’s creation of the world and an explanation and video on the meaning of Pope Francis’ document on Laudato Si for kids. A skit was then enacted where Pope Francis gave advise and consolation to four kids depicted in famous animated characters, on the dangers faced in their environment.
A game was then played where the children were told to gather is a marked out area in the room which depicted an island. Each child was to gather together according to the animal on their name tag. Then a few parents entered the island and pushed aside the ‘animals’ to build houses, a school, a mall, a church, a factory and a park. The children were told that those falling out of the island were considered killed. Then a ‘hunter’ came in and started to kill (touched) the animals. This created a situation that became more and more chaotic. The children were told this was what people are doing to the animals in their environment.
At lunch, the students were given a chance to take only the amounts of food that they could eat and to have a ‘zero’ waste approach to food. Ice cream was served in cones instead of cups to help them understand the alternatives they can choose to cut down the use of plastic wrapping. All food was served on plates and the children were supervised in washing up their plates.
After lunch, the children were all instructed to do three projects. The first was to make a paper bag/hat out of newspaper, the second was to make a flipping snap toy from hard cardboard and the third was to upcycle an old t-shirt into a sling bag.
At the end of camp, the children were all given a souvenir of a metal straw and brush, a notepad containing bible verses and a kit kat bar by Fr Martin Alando, parish priest at CDM. There were smiles all around as they proudly took home all the things they made at the camp to show their parents.
Dr. Ivan Filmer
15th July, 2019.