Eddie Rice Fun Fest 2010

Saturday, June 5, 2010

*Firstly i tried to make the photos in this post big & lovely- but the html code was different to normal and all crazy so i didn't know to do it, and fidling with it resulted in deleting pictures!!!*

So, i have talked about Eddie Rice before.. But you need a refresher right??? Edmund Rice was a guy from Britain who was in love with a gorgeous woman who died during childbirth. He was left to raise his daughter, who had a disability all alone. Long story WAY short- he founded a lot of stuff, and now we have the organisation Edmund Rice Tasmania... They run camps etc for underprivelidged kids, kids who have been abused, poor, etc etc... And i am a volunteer for this!!! There are hardly things that i love more! It is the BEST thing!!
Anyway- this past week has been a fun fest, which is just the same as a camp except that the kids come at 8am then go home at 4pm and then come again the next day :) It is illegal to take photos of the kids, except for on the Eddie cameras, and VERY illegal to share the pics anywhere.. So the photos are of things assosiated with the fun fest :)

Ok, so the theme for Eddie Rice this year is "Be the difference" ... Essentially, be the thing that is different in the kids' life. Be the positive person. Be the person that play games with them. Be the person that praises them. Be the happy place :) I LOVE this years theme to pieces and think it is really important.

Camps and Fun fests, and i guess any activiry for Eddie Rice is so important. It is a chance for these kids to get out of their normal lives and escape for a few days and just have some fun and be a kid. Sometimes the kids that come have never ever been to the beach or bowling before.

This fun fest we: Went to the zoo (who knew there is a zoo in launceston!?), went to tailrace park to have lunch and play, had an 'amazing race' at inveresk, made up plays and performed them, dressed up, played endless basketball, went swimming, made pasta necklaces, bedos, and fingerpainted on the table, made rockets & then shot them into the sky, went lawn bowling, games of capture the flag, had a party day and played lots of party games, had an eddie rice cup activity, and had a dance party...

It is up there with the hardest 3 days of my entire life! But oh soooo worth it!!!

A MASSIVE downside of this fun fest is that we have a new guy in charge of eddie rice in tasmania, and he was meant to organise the kids coming. He got 12 kids instead of 24. And we had 24 leaders.. NOT GOOD! But we made the best of it and had fun!!!

In Eddie Rice you get put into groups and buddied up with a kid, this time i was blue group. The hats are so the kids can be found easily :) We had 3 boys aged 9, 10 and 10. And oh were they crazy!!! We were kept on our toes that is for sure!!!
They mostly participated in activities (with a LOT of encouragement!) but also wanted to play fight with each other constantly... They were great kids and it makes me sad every camp to realise i most likely will never ever see them again (as it is illegal to stay in contact)... It really hilights to me the whole theme of "be the difference"

The 3 boys made this fun fest so challenging for me. I had to try some new things, test out some things, resort to old things, and also whip out things people (mum & lisa) have told me about boys!!
The hardest part for me was on the second day the boy who was best behaved (lets call him Peter) was an absolute terror. He kept being rude, not participating, yelling, swearing, getting upset... It was SO hard! We then get to the end of the day and one of the captains (in charge of us leaders) goes "oh sorry, i forgot to give Peter his medicaion today" ...

Some of the things that made me want to give up and go home were:
The 7:45 start,
Having to constantly say "we dont use that language on Eddie Rice"
Seeing two of the kids (brother & sister) eat like they dont ever be fed- which we then realised they probably arent.
The constant whingeing at the zoo of wanting to see the crocodiles.
The constant need to be piggy backed EVERYWHERE
The constant want to play games
The constant back chat
Seeing the obvious neglect on some kids
Seeing the kids needing to be loved by someone...

But then there are the moments that make it all worth it, and make you know that it is the right thing to be doing... We call them "Eddie Moments" and mostly they make me bawl my eyes out, whether in front of the kids or at home...

When two brothers jump out of the car on the second day and shout "good morning everyone!" and are SO happy to be there.
When we finally see the crocodile at the zoo and the kids jump up & down and stay there staring at them for ages.
When you piggy back a kid "only until we reach the fence" but he loves it so much you piggy back him all the way from one end of the zoo to the other and back to the bus.
When the quietest boy in the group looks like he isnt having fun, but then a monkey at the zoo gives him a high five and steals his hat. His laugh, and the grin that lit up his face absolutely made my week!
When a boy starts crying because he doesnt "ever want to leave"
When a girl says it has been "the best day of her life"
When a boy who is so quiet starts singing justin beiber (which was playing the WHOLE time!)
When everyone forgets they are meant to be eating breakfast and jump up to dance together to the Michael Jackson Cd that is playing, for no reason at all :)
When you play basketball with a kid who obviously gets told all the time that he is useless and cant do anything, and he gets 3 shots in a row and you praise him and it is like christmas.
When you have a dance party and the kids laugh and dance and say this is the most fun in the whole world.
And especially
When your little buddy cant swim because he almost drowned when he was 5, and he wont get in the water, so you and 2 other leaders sit with him and talk to him, and help him for a whole hour, giving him options and in the end he gets on a leaders shoulders, and INSISTS you hold his hand outside the pool, and walk around the entire pool, And he is soooo happy because he feels safe to be in the big pool again.

There are so many more, but i cant possibly share them all. It was up there with the hardest 3 days of my life. But it was also the most rewarding. I go home crying because i wonder what those kids are actually going home to and it makes me sooo sad. But at least for 3 days, i was able to "be the difference" in their life and do something for them. If i could, i would do those 3 days again! :) And i am SO looking forward to the next Eddie Rice camp coming up soon!!!!!!!!! :)

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Nettie's Blog said...

how worthwhile was that...you made a differne in their lives but what did it do to yours?????
A lot more by the sounds of it.... becasue you are going back next year to do the same again and experience that differene you can make for just three days in the life of a child...you are a hero M...
i missed you at church but now i know why you werent there ...you are excused!!!!

Anonymous said...

Nah it didn't go over a Sunday, i was just in Deloraine ward.. This is Makayla btw :)

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