Sunday, June 30, 2013

Polish adventure begins

This program began on Saturday morning in Siedlce when many campers, the Polish staff members, Dorota and Lori gathered together. It took a great amount of figuring to get most of the luggage, along with food for the day, and teaching supplies all loaded on the bus. We departed about 6:15 AM. In the past campers have joined in Minsk and I was really wondering what we were going to do with them. Yes, we got more campers in Minsk, but we waited there for a van from Reymontowka to catch up with us, it being clear that no more baggage would fit on the bus. About 45 minutes down the road we stopped for the final camper to join the group.

A traditional stop is the McDonald’s at Radom. Since last year this store has been renovated and now one first places an order, gets a number and then moves to another counter to pick up the order. All the while one can follow the status of the order on a digital display. 

We continued south and arrived at the Krakow airport around 2 PM. All the other volunteers were there and we continued south to Zakopane, arriving at the hotel, Cztery Pory Roku, around 5:15. We gathered for supper at 6:00, enjoying this good meal after a day of travel. Following the evening meal, we each offered a short introduction. Most then returned to their rooms, tired after the day’s travel, be it from the United States or from Siedlce. On Sunday some reported being kept awake by the wedding celebration taking place at the hotel. 

 We gathered for breakfast on Sunday morning, most very grateful for the coffee. Then at 9:00 we went to the area which is the work room during the language camp. Dorota reviewed the schedule for the day and then went on to describe Global Volunteer’s history in Poland, explaining, although we are in Zakopane, that this language camp is sponsored by the host organization, the County of Siedlce. She named the Polish staff members accompanying the campers and explained their roles. 

Next we together reviewed the Global Volunteer guidelines. Dorota answered questions about health and safety concerns and distributed emergency cards to the team members for their use while in Poland.  This was followed by a discussion about how we will do morning meetings, including the reading of the journal and bringing the message of the day.  She noted our daily class schedule will have four periods, each beginning on the hour, and ending at 45 minutes past the hour, with a fifteen minute break between class sessions. 

The next task was setting team goals. We created:
1.       To develop an appreciation of Polish culture;
2.       To help students enhance their English skills;
3.       To promote a positive cultural interaction and exchange; and
4.       To pay it forward inter-generationally.

We identified the following team characteristics towards which we will work; positive approach, patience, openness, levity/sense of humor; acceptance of others’ ideas, enthusiasm, sharing, flexibility, respect, open-mindedness, punctual, sensitivity, appreciation of others, excitement, and honesty. 

We played the name game to help us remember each other’s name and then took a break.
Following the break, Dorota reviewed the usual daily schedule. We will meet in the Karczma at 7:45 am for morning meeting, have breakfast at 8, teach from 9:00 – 12:45, have obiad at 1:00, and kolecja at 6:30. The afternoons will be flexible – time to join students on hikes or other activities or to prepare lessons. We reviewed the teaching supplies in the work room, thinking about our first lessons.

At 12:00 we gathered in the Karczma with the campers and the Polish staff. The Polish staff and the Global Volunteers introduced themselves. Then we went to the work room and met the campers in small groups. Using these interactions, Dorota gathered data to form the teaching groups.
We finished introductions with students just in time for obiad. At 2:30 we went into Zakopane. People did shopping, exchanging of money, or simply people watching. We returned to the hotel in our trusty yellow van. 

After the evening meal we all gathered together with the campers and Polish staff. Dorota assigned campers to each of the Global Volunteer teachers. Each of us had a short meeting with our group, and then it was time to begin preparation for Monday’s lessons.
Journal prepared by Lori