I am always wracking my brain for some new and different activities for the students to get involved with. Especially now that I've been here since August and realize the school year is slipping away and there's much more I want to do before June. . .
There are several regular activities at the dormitory which are ongoing, i.e. English classes, movie night, story time, arts & crafts, life skills (for teens) and occasional other special events. A Valentines day party I organized was not very successful, and frankly a great event was what I needed to redeem my rep and not have them shy away.
The kids all love to dance (well most of them do, a few are too shy or self conscious, but once they see me out there they loosen up....hey ), and competitions are usually exciting, so why not a dance competition?
I asked Altai, my awesome counterpart/dorm teacher who liked the idea... and I offered a Friday night date and it was on! I made a poster (Mongolian and English.....) and a sign up sheet. There was a almost 2 weeks before the event. Altai agreed to be in charge of music, and I said I would find judges not affiliated with the dorm and I'd get awards. (my friends here tell me no wonder I am broke, I spoil my dorm kids...my own kids would laugh hysterically at that, I never spoiled them:) And spoiling them here means I spend some (ok about a fourth to a third monthly) of my meager PC living allowance to buy my own supplies for classes, activities, prizes, candy and treats at random times).
So as it turns out, no one was signing up and though I kept bugging the kids about it, no one would put their name on the sheet. My frustration was growing daily, and finally a couple days prior, I told Altai that if no one was going to sign up, perhaps we should cancel the competition and just have a dance. She assured me that there were 25 acts and she had the names and would give them to me in a couple days.
Suffice it to say the competition was amazing and fun, and the kids had almost as much fun as I and my friends who were the judges did watching them perform! They never cease to amaze me with their enthusiasm and their attitude of gratitude! (something I strive toward myself)