July 24 – Last Day of Step Up

For all the pictures from today: https://flic.kr/s/aHskgYStg2

It’s the last day of camp and the staff are so impressed with everything our participants have accomplished. The picture below is a chart of how many people achieved each of our goals. Purple is Global Awareness, Orange is Leadership, Yellow is Social Responsibly and Green is personal growth. Each fish represents one of our delegates who achieved the goal. Great work delegates and great work to all the leaders and staff who facilitated and charted these achievements.

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This morning we had the last activity of Step Up and was hosted by the DIMES planning group:

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they prepared a tree planting ceremony for the entire camp. In the CISV song it says “Sow a seed and plant a tree, beneath those branches there may be, all the nations gathered free” the seeds are all the ideas of peace we discussed about at camp, those will be planted in us and grow into a large tree (or big actions!) Each person wrote a memory on a piece of paper and threw it into the hole where the tree would be planted afterwards we sang the CISV song.

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In the afternoon we did a lot of packing and cleaning and signing each others books and shirts and writing each other notes to read on the plane ride home.

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For the closing ceremony we did a web, each person had a chance to say anything they wanted to say to the group before passing a ball of yarn across the room to another person. Many people shared good memories, shared their thoughts, shared what they got out of camp and thanked those people who made a huge impact on them. It was a nice fair well.

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At the end of the activity we had a giant web that connected everyone together to symbolize that our actions affect everyone and we will always be connected together because of this experience we had together.

The farewells started at 2:00am with Jordan departing first, followed by Indonesia at 4:00am and the rest at 7:00am. Everyone waited up to make sure they could say a last goodbye to everyone.

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Thank you everyone for your contributions to our step up:

The parents for sending their children to the CISV Step Up, for some of you from across the world!

To the delegation leaders for volunteering their time and talents to bring all their delegations from near and far.

To the staff and hosting committee for their passion and commitment to hosting the Step Up

To the volunteers who carried out all the logistics to make it all happen

And of course to the delegates for letting their true selves shine, for valuing their friendships and for putting all they’ve got into making the best Step Up ever.

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July 23 – Finn’s Birthday

Time to fill in the Program Evaluation Form!

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Activity One today was a simulation game about refugees hosted by the loonies. The families (from last nights Thanksgiving dinner) were asked to pack their bags and went on a long walk around Rosthern, following the walk there was a boat simulation where the families had to sit on the floor in a small room. We’ve discussed a lot about refugees, racism and displacement this camp. We all feel grateful for our circumstances and have a better compassion for those people who live the life of a refugee.

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In the afternoon we took some time to reflect on the theme Against the Flow, we looked at all the activities we’ve done over the days and categorized them into Ice Breakers, Team Building, Trust Activities, and Simulation games. We had a well rounded camp with many different topics being discussed. We focused a lot of immigration and racism but also on other things like disabilities, mental health, gender diversity, caring for the elderly etc.

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Following the reflection activity we played a game of Cinderella, each team had a “theme” they had to use to create a unique version of Cinderella, musical, zombies, backwards etc.P1030713

Today is Finn’s 15th Birthday! When Cara asked him what his favorite colour was for the cupcakes he said PINK! great choice.

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Activity 3 was a letter writing activity, each delegate got an envelope and got to write a note to all the campers. 50 campers x 50 notes.. 2500 notes.. that’s a ton.

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We needed a note writing break, chicken dance party with Patrick was perfect.

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July 21 – Local Impact Day

The moment we’ve all been waiting for Local Impact Day is here!

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Our Local Impact Day partner:

Valley Action Abilities is a community based organization, committed to empowering, promoting self-worth, and enhancing the quality of life for adults facing physical and mental challenges. They do this through training, employment and the development of life skills. Valley Action works alongside persons with intellectual disabilities and is located in the town of Rosthern. They operate a day program, group homes, recycling centre, bottle return depot and a Laundromat.

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We had 2 major projects today to make a difference in the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, one of them was preparing a fun day for all the participants in the recreational programs. We had 93 special needs guests join us for the fun day, we had parachute, bowling, can toss, arts and crafts, karaoke and at the end had a dance with everyone. The other was painting a shed near their recycling depot.

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It was easy for us to make friends with their participants because most of them were not shy at all.

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Tonight’s activity was about bullying. We had to assess ourselves by meeting a “special guest” turns out the special guest was ourselves! We met ourselves in the mirror and thought about how bullying affects us. We also had an head bands activity where you treat each other like the word on your head band.

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We celebrated the completion of the shed tonight by singing the CISV song around it. Following the CISV song we had a camp fire to make SMORES also each delegation shared a camp fire song from their country. Some countries camp fires are not allowed due to the environment.

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Also at the camp fire we distributed the letter each delegate wrote to themselves on the first day. This will allow any delegates who haven’t achieved their goal time to still work on it. Only 3 days to go and we are already feeling the last day coming.

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July 20 – Italy Cultural Activity

All of todays photos are here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskg3Xc8n

This morning’s activity was done by the Quarters group, the activity was about privilege. We had to pretend to be different demographics of people and move ahead of behind according to statements like “It’s easy for me to find a job”, We also did an activity where we had to sit in rows in the theatre and throw a ball of paper into a basket. The people in the back of the room had a hard time getting it in, most of the people in the front row were fine. They talked about most people who have privilege don’t look back to see the people in the rows behind them. It was an interesting topic.

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For the Italian Cultural Activity everyone had to try and get to the nutella, they had to jump into a board and travel across the water. Along the way they had different challenges people had to pass in order to receive the nutella. Sometimes people from your group did not pass but you did so you kept going forward. Little did we know that this would lead into a great discussion about refugees in Italy and what is happening about this topic in other countries. Wow, great job Italy.

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The evening activity was by the Loonies team on the topic of how the elderly are treated in society. Each group had to make their way though stations where some people had a hard time to hear, to remember, to walk, etc. We talked a lot about people in our lives that suffer from old age problems and talked about how we can treat them better.

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Before bed the “Shed” team prepared the mural for the Shed Project that will be happening tomorrow. We are all excited for local impact day tomorrow so we went to bed early.

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July 19 – Jordan Cultural Activity & Gala Night

Find all of today’s photos at this link which includes lots of photos from the Gala Photo Booth!: https://flic.kr/s/aHskgy5Fxx

So we’ve been having lots of late nights and early mornings so today was SLEEP IN DAY! YAY!

In the afternoon we had the Jordan cultural activity! Each group was a family living in Jordan, they had to do different things like pay bills, grocery shopping, entertainment all on different budgets some families had more than enough and others not enough. They were allowed to help each other if they had more money than they needed to.

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Following the activity we all got to taste some Jordanian treats and received a information placemat of the Jordanian Delegation! What a nice treat.

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Tonight was the Gala night. The participants created a committee with one person from each delegation, they prepared decorations a menu and play list for the dance. They did an amazing job!

Gala Night Planning Committee
Gala Night Planning Committee

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July 18 – Open Day

For all of todays photos check out this link: https://flic.kr/s/aHskgubnSf

Austria is delegation of the day and going against the flow with their great cultural outfits.

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This morning with the help of all the leaders we got to do some trust falls. This was a voluntary activity that allowed participants to fall backwards into the arms of their trusting leaders.

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Then we had an awesome obstacle race through the web, don’t touch the string otherwise you have to take 3 steps back. You also had to go with a partner holding hands. WOW (so fun)

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Friends Forever
Friends Forever

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Okay so Open Day was great, we had a lot of people drive from Saskatoon to be there for this special day. We did a funny skit, some games, a debrief, and of course set up some booths so the public could meet everyone.

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Nicole and her mom and sister

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Following Open Day was leaders night out. We had some volunteers come from the chapter to take care of the participants while the leaders went to the Taste of Saskatchewan food festival with lots of great food, music and friendship.

The participants watched a documentary called “Happy” about the science of happiness and followed it with a discussion.

What an amazing day. Tomorrow we get to have SLEEP IN DAY followed by the Gala night.

July 17 – Brazil Cultural Activity

Well I’m sure you are all excited to hear about the simulation activity from last night. The discussion started with some realizations about being grateful for our comfortable lifestyle with a home, food, and all the basic necessities. It is not often we feel uncertainty which is really lucky for us to not be forced to be separated from our families and other support systems. Sometimes we complain about the small things and worry more about having the coolest clothes, the most updated electronics and for some people this is the last of their worries. We then started looking at the world around us where we found many people being displaced for various reasons, war, politics, racism, natural disasters. Every country could think of an example of where this occurred in their country. We talked about how society is not always accepting of people who are refugees in their country, and now that we are thinking all the stuff they’ve been through it’s really not fair. We had a chance to start thinking globally and acting locally. No pictures for this activity as photos just won’t do it justice. We are now ready to move into the last week of Step Up with open eyes to the world around us. Our little bubble just got bigger.

Many people woke up today with a message from their monito!P1020567

Today was Lydia’s last day, we gave her a lot of thank you gifts, hugs and even had a dance party to her favorite camp song “Salsa Tequilla”

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Next was the Brazil delegation Cultural Activities, we learned about the different regions in Brazil by participating in some fun activities and earning some great Brazilian treats!

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For Activity 3 today we played a giant trivia board game! We had to answer questions about injustices around the world. If you get it right your team moves ahead one space.

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