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Geering Up

“Summer holiday”, the word that sparks joy in us whenever we hear it, is the free period between school years. We fill this time with various experiences, such as going to a summer school, getting a summer job, travelling around the country/world, or, fulfilling everyone’s favourite, sleeping in and just chilling at home. Lots of students also decide to get involved in volunteer activities. Here, I would like to introduce one of the volunteering activities I participated in during the break.

“Geering Up” UBC Engineering and Science camps are for all K-12 students, promoting science, engineering and technology through fun, innovative and hands-on projects. They not only hold camps at the UBC campus but also hold some at VSB elementary schools. The diversity of the camps varies depending on the age groups and locations.

I volunteered for 3 weeks as a junior instructor for three different Grade 4-5 groups for each week, first two weeks at VSB elementary schools and the last week at UBC campus. Although I have had experiences teaching children, “Geering Up” was totally different from what I had expected and previously encountered. Assisting with science activities, supporting campers one-on-one, monitoring their safety, organizing lunch hour activities, preparing materials for the next camp day, and drawing out their creativity were, at first, a little overwhelming. I was not familiar with such an energetic environment where I was accountable for a group of kids.

Throughout my time, I learned how to communicate with them more patiently and effectively, how to lead activities by planting interest and joy in science in each individual. Later, I even found myself enjoying what I was doing. Not only that, I became close to other junior instructors of my age and am still keeping in touch.

Throughout my 3 weeks of volunteering as a junior instructor, I gained a little over 100 hours of volunteer hours. Beyond these, more importantly, the camps gave me the opportunity to improve my communication and leadership skills, which enhanced my ability to work harmoniously with children. I discovered that I had to gain their respect and trust by connecting with them at their level. Instead of being a strict authority figure, I interacted with them as if I was one of them by being playful, energetic, and curious.

If you wish to spend your summer meaningfully, I would highly recommend taking such an opportunity of becoming junior instructors of “Geering Up” in your future years!

— Written by Tina (Jueun) Jang, Point Grey Secondary School

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