My prior experience working with Educational Initiatives in a similar kind of summer camp had been a fruitful one; which is why, in spite of being a full time employee at a reputed MNC, I chose to take a month off from work.
To give you a brief background: With the help of a very popular diagnostic test for academically gifted children, the ASSET Talent Search Test, students from grades 7 and 8 from all over the nation are handpicked to attend the ASSET Summer Programme (ASP). This is a place where you meet the brightest young minds of the country. The programme is specifically structured to challenge and nurture them inside and outside class. They are taught university level subjects over a span of three weeks and are assessed on the basis of understanding and innovation in guise of projects.
As the programme started and the days went by, I witnessed people of various age groups, cultures, nationalities and different qualifications come together to plan each aspect of the program with utmost care. We bonded on different levels and took up our roles, and ASP started to take shape. On the academic side, rigorous schedules were designed, lesson plans were made, field trips were arranged and extensive research was done on class based activities. Meanwhile, the residential side put on their creative hats to plan and execute engaging and stimulating out-of-class activities and geared up to be the family that would welcome the students with open arms for the journey that lay ahead.
The day that I was anxiously waiting for, finally came upon us. When the first car pulled in, I expected a tiny little kid holding his mother’s finger with one hand and a toy in the other hand step out. But what I saw was a boy taller than me, dropped off by his driver, with a guitar on his back wearing a hip shirt and shorts walk towards the reception desk. I couldn’t believe for one split second that he was just a 13 year-old! How did they expect us to take care of these “kids”?! What I did not know then was that they were as mature as they looked.
With more and more cars came more and more children. There were all kinds – teary-eyed kids who wouldn’t leave their mother’s kurti, begging her not to leave them, kids who wanted their parents to leave immediately so they could hurry up and have fun, kids who were silent, kids who were overly enthusiastic, families coming along with their distant relatives to drop off just one child and many more. By the end of the day, the hostel was full and abuzz with nervous excitement.
To be continued…
Residential Life Coordinator
Asset Summer Programme, 2016