Thursday July 3, 2014 – Gene Kolaczkowski Today was a very full second day of the Healing Camp. We start our day by getting cleaned up and ready to go. Today we went straight to Camp to start with breakfast to be shared with all of the campers and their parent/guardian. Then the campers are driven to a local school where they can shower and get cleaned up. Then a group of boys got a chance to experience building a relationship with a horse and do some riding. Yesterday a group of girl got to go to do this and the really neat thing for me was to see the big smiles on their faces when they returned. The boys were no different today…all smiles. While the boys were gone riding, our group of volunteers lead some healing activities for the girls. When planning the activities I wanted to try to do something with them that would be meaningful, but also a little bit fun. We started by doing some feelings identification and expression activities. The first activity was a feelings charades game that turned out to be a hit. Some of the girls were a little shy about getting up to act their feeling out, but with a little encouragement and suggestions they did a nice job. I then wanted to to teach an awareness about the different levels that we can feel an emotion. This was a feeling thermometer activity. The last skill I was wanting to teach was to learn how to regulate an emotion by changing patterns of thinking and patterns of body response. Most of the children at camp are victims of some type of trauma or loss, so these skills are particularly important for them to learn to help regulate their emotions. Later in the morning we did an activity where we drew a picture of a tree with a strong, deep root system. We talked about how tree need their roots for strength and life. They need their roots for stability, nutrition and life. We used that analogy to have the children to think about what give them strength and life. Then on their drawings of their trees, on the deep roots we had them write the names of people and things that give them life. We also had an opportunity for some fun with a squirt gun tag game, pass the gummy worm with chop sticks, and pass the jelly ring with coffee stirrers relay races. The kids loved the candy relay reaches, because the winning team got a prize of a gummy worm or jelly ring…Yum!!
The food at camp has been phenomenal. The cooks are working non stop. They make breakfast and before the dishes are dry, they are starting on lunch, then the same for dinner. Today we had Indian tacos. They made them with buffalo meat. It was yummy. All of the baked goods including the flat bread for tonight. One of the boys tonight told Elthleen Iron Cloud-Two Dogs(the camp co-ordinator) “You should give those cooks a raise!!”
In the afternoon women and girls of the camp had a sewing circle where the made “healing tool kits”. These are small wallet sized since bag that used at Saturdays camp closing ceremony. Inside the bag will be sweet grass, sage and a small shell that are used in the future for healing ceremonies. It is also a momento of camp and part of their “tool kit” that they will take home with them to carry on the traditional healing practices they experienced in camp.