With only two days left until the start of Eureka! camp, I learned an important lesson about reality and expectations this week. One is to anticipate actions to go one way, but they end up going another direction. Despite the planning that goes into something, it is always the outside factors that can cause things to not go as smoothly.
Earlier this week, our group met to create icebreakers for an entrepreneurship program led by Girls’ Inc. It would be the second time we ran icebreakers with a group of girls since we started working with the organization. Instead of working with high school juniors, we would be working with girls in grades 5-7. Our goal was to think of engaging activities that girls would enjoy and that we can evaluate afterwards. Our evaluation would consists of questions about their enjoyment of the games and the purposes of playing them. For instance, if they played the game ‘lava’, it was thought that they would understand the importance of teamwork and cooperation.
On Friday afternoon, we arrived at the Girl’s Inc program. After working on a money counting activity with the girls, we had the floor to lead our icebreakers. The group decided that do a dancing activity with them first. We divided them into groups of four and allowed the to pick a Disney movie song that they could create a dance routine for. Caitlyn, my DukeEngage partner, and I worked with a group of girls to make a routine for “Under the Sea”. A few girls were hesitant about performing, but we assured them that it would be fun and that everyone was going to dance. They were really into the activity and we’re working together to make up dance moves. The groups next move was the evaluate the activity. I led the question by asking “Did you guys like the game?”. Some of the girls’ response was “no”. One girl said that she would never like the activity. At this time, there was a break from expectation and reality settled in.
Some of the girls said that did not enjoy the performing or thought it was boring and wouldn’t do it again. Other girls did understand that the purpose of it was to learn to be comfortable around others and to work together- which was great, because that was its importance. I didn’t expect that some of the girls would be adamantly dislike the activity, which made evaluating it harder. I became a bit worried about the outcome of the other icebreakers after I completed my session.
In the next game, ‘lava’, we divided the girls into two teams and stated the objectives of the game. The girls had to cross from one end of the room using three pieces of paper. They couldn’t step in the “lava” and had to have a least one foot on each paper. Some girls would also possibly be blindfolded or lose speaking privileges. The expectation of the game is that the girls would learn the importance teamwork. In reality, they didn’t fully understand that the purpose was to work together to get through the “lava”. They also focused more on getting themselves across and not communicating with their teammates to work with them. As a result, we decided not to evaluate that game.
During another game we led, one of the girls wasn’t playing with everyone else. Once I noticed this, I approached her and asked why she wasn’t participating. She told me that she thought the game of boring and when I tried communicating more wither her, she wasn’t that responsive and wouldn’t really look at me. I tried to convince to join the group by telling her that we would play different games later and that everyone would play each game, but she wouldn’t join. At that moment, I felt a little defeated and wondered what I could have done better.
The bottom line is to expect the unexpected. I have to remember that things may happen and to work with the situations I have. There may be some bumps during camp with the lesson plans, icebreakers, and other things. The road may not be as smooth, but I have to navigate through it the best I can. Fortunately, I’m not the only person on this ride, as I have the guidance of Girls’ Inc staff and my DukeEngage group. The first week on this road will certainly be an interesting one, but I look forward to it.