The children of DEPDC ended the 2009-2010 school year in style–with a three-day camping trip! Approximately 90 children representing the three Centers in Mae Sai, Chiang Khong, and Mae Chan, attended this annual camping trip. DEPDC staff, youth leaders, and volunteers all participated to make this end-of-year event a great success!
The trip started with a fun afternoon of singing and dancing, in both Thai and English. The songs celebrated friends, both new and old. Next, the children formed into six cooking groups where they were able to meet new people while working as a team to make breakfast, lunch, and dinner from scratch. They foraged in the forest for firewood and banana leaves to use in preparing the food, and cooked their own food under supervision of staff and youth leaders. After dinner, the children met with the park rangers to learn about the importance in maintaining the delicate balance of the forest ecosystem.
The group went for a half-day hike which took them through the mountains, small villages, and even through the Mae Chan River! Along the way, park rangers provided education about the natural environment, and the children completed team-building exercises. To cool down after the morning hike, the children tested their limits by walking a slack line over a pond! Those who could make it all the way across got roaring applause, and those who couldn’t got to go swimming instead.
In the evening, the children gathered around a bonfire for more singing and group activities! Finally, it was time to crown “Miss Forest” 2010, from among the most beautiful, talented, and graceful of the DEPDC “ladies.” Hilarity ensued, and everyone had a great time cheering for their group’s contestant. Then it was time to say goodbye to their friends for the summer, until school starts back again in May.