June 5, 2014
June 5th
Student-Athlete Development: Dominican Republic Blog

Today started a little different than the past couple—we didn’t do a group workout in the morning. Several people did some running on their own, but for the most part, people slept in to catch up on some much needed sleep. (This can be accredited to a very active past few days jam-packed with activities.) We started the day with class at 10am in the downstairs classroom and talked about our views on solving problems: “Problem A’s” and “Problem B’s”. We learned that “Problem A’s” are the big problems that exist in a culture; they are complicated and very difficult to address. On the other hand, “Problem B’s” are problems that are easily fixable in a short amount of time. We related this to the problems we see here in Punta Cana—the education is a huge problem here (Problem A) and all we’ve seen is work on the minor problems, like painting the outside of the schools (Problem B).
We then continued class outside to talk about program planning, and we really delved in to what it takes planning a program like this trip. So many stakeholders are involved, and the process is a lot of hard work. We expressed some ideas of our own that could have a bigger impact on the kids we work with in the camps. Some of the main things we talked about were fundraising for their education and keeping in contact with them through videos or pen pal-type letters.

After this super, super stimulating class, the next part of our day was camp! The 2nd day of camp consisted of volleyball led by Alex Watt, Katie Rogers, JC Coleman, and Jordan Fish. They did awesome leading camp—it was so much fun today, and the kids were ecstatic throughout. The leaders had a set plan for how camp would be run, but there were times when we all had more fun just goofing around, breaking away from the schedule. For example: we had a planned water break for a few minutes, but we ended up taking more time than planned just by clapping and dancing in a circle. Later, we got into 6 groups to do a volleyball competition, but it just turned into chants and laughing, and it was so much fun for the kids (and maybe even more for us!) It was definitely a learning experience though, and we had to understand that it was best to go with the flow instead of sticking strictly to what we had planned out. We were all pretty stressed the first day with the language barrier trying to get these kids to listen, but today we realized that not knowing Spanish well didn’t matter. These kids would be happy just as long as you were trying. To wrap up an awesome day at camp, Katie Rogers told the kids that we would be going to the beach tomorrow. The looks on their faces and their shouts of joy were of pure happiness. We just knew that tomorrow was going to be another awesome day.

After camp, we all got changed quickly and headed to the big lagoon with Danny, Jon Jaudon, Mr. and Mrs. Rudd, and the DPV boys. The lagoon was beautiful. We all got in by jumping off of a 10 foot balcony into the clear, blue, fresh water. This was just another great bonding experience for all of us, as we swam in the water and tried to dodge tennis balls from the DPV boys. The awesome thing about this trip was that even the walks were exciting—to and from the beach, lagoon, or the camps. We would sing the songs from camp that day and I swear we were laughing the entire time. We went to bed tonight earlier than most nights, getting ready for a big day on the beach tomorrow.

Will Johnston

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