Story Power Camp Day 1: 7-8 year olds - 14 Cows for America

Hi my name is Cathleen Villapudua and I am a LitWorld intern this summer! A rising senior at Amherst College, I will be graduating with a double major in Black Studies and Studio Art. Through the years I have tutored extensively, taught in the classroom and worked on many reading enrichment initiatives. I was excited to work with LitWorld this summer because after my time in Ghana I was compelled to work with literacy on a global scale and watch its ability to promote global change.

For the last four weeks we have been working hard to design a fun and thought-provoking curriculum for Story Power Camp, and today we finally got to meet our 7-8 year olds! It was heart-warming to see the campers reacting so positively to the activities we had planned. We worked a lot on getting to know the campers, and started off the day with a name game, which included a motion they felt represented themselves. Later in the day they would come up to me and say things like “You did the *insert squiggly hand motion*, what’s your name? Oh yeaaaa Cathleen!”

Once we went inside and the campers had a chance to settle down and drink some water, Emily C. began reading “14 Cows for America” out loud. The story retold the story of Kenya’s generous gift to America post September 11. Kenya gave the United States 14 cows (which are their life source) as a source of comfort for their great loss. Everyone had many questions about the significance of such a grand gesture, and were intrigued by the events of September 11 since they were not yet born at the time. It was overall a very reflective day.

The highlight of the day was when the campers got to choose their very own books to take home and read.  Their faces shone with anticipation to pick one of the shiny untouched books from the LitWorld Library. Many could not decide which book to take home with them but felt much better knowing they could always take their second choice home the next camp day!

- Cathleen