Amsterdam Village

Here is Rebekah Gullet’s report of the 2012 Amsterdam Village:

This was my first experience with CISV and my verdict… BRILLIANT!!

I was the leader for the Amsterdam Village. Four weeks with 48 children 24/7 may seem like a bizarre way to spend the summer, but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. I met some amazing people, making some great friends and along the way learning so much about different people, cultures and myself.

As a newcomer to CISV, the idea of travelling to another country with four 11 year old children and then meeting 11 other leaders on arrival was an extremely daunting prospect. However once camp got under way with the arrival of the children, the fun games and activities started. On village we had two day trips, which turned to be a huge relief for our noses (as well as a farm, there was a sterilisation factory across the road!!). Within the first week we went to Floriade, a unique exhibition opened to the public every ten years. The children  had a fantastic time particularly during lunch, playing in the fountain and participating in energizers along with the summer camp and youth meeting (also being held in the Netherlands) we even had members of the public singing the pony song!!
The second was a shopping trip to the nearest largest town, this gave the children an opportunity to buy gifts for their families and souvenirs and even have a cheeky McDonanlds!! Sprinkles were defiantly at the top of the agenda along with stroopwafel’s.

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National nights became an exciting part of the evening, giving the children and us, the leaders, an insight into the different cultures of each delegation, their cities/towns, their homes, families, national and local traditions such as costume, food and so on. Not only did we learn, we got to physically take part. For example, on the Portuguese national night, we were given the opportunity to learn  the malhão, a traditional dance and for America’s, we gathered by the bonfire, singing lullabies whilst melting marshmallows and making S’mores, an extremely tasty tradition I must say!

Our national night was hard work but well worth it in the end, we held a traditional street party with scones, fairy cakes, patriotically decorated, jelly and of course, accompanied by tea. As we introduced the other delegations to Morris dancing and typical ‘British’ party games, finished off with a Marmite eating competition!

Other favorite parts of the camp was hearing Happy Birthday sung in every single language. Date/Casino night, was a great excuse to get out the glad rags and look good for one night, the boys pulled out their smartest shirts and the girls, their favorite dresses, definitely dressing to impress!
So there is a very small taster of my experience as a leader in a village, something I will always remember with very fond memories. Something so good, I am thinking of doing it all over again next summer!

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