Nothing beats a loud ‘Rah! Rah! Rah! Sis! Boom! Bah!’ especially with these big smiles from the SOS children who were presenting their team cheer.
Summertime has been one of the most awaited seasons for children as they enjoy a long break from school. It was the perfect time to go out in the sun and play basketball with your friends or maybe travel out of town with your family and enjoy the beautiful beaches – until the COVID-19 pandemic happened.
Although we may not be able to spend the summer outdoors, we can still have fun with our loved ones indoors. No pandemic can stop us from enjoying quality time with our family, and so our children and young people in the SOS villages initiated and organized their own family sports fest and summer camp.
In SOS Children’s Village Cebu, the Youth Council launched their sports fest with a parade of the teams where they all presented their Do-It-Yourself costumes and banners. As they arrived, they excitedly waved their flags, proud of their craft and creativity.
Arts and crafts encourage children to create and invent. At the same time, they realize how powerful their imagination is.
Similarly, the youth organization YOURS or Youth Organized, United, and Ready to Serve in SOS Manila organized their sports fest with the theme, “Fundemic.” True enough, everyone had fun despite the challenges we are facing, including Mike, an SOS youth from Manila. “Even though we are amidst a pandemic, I felt happy once again. I was able to play, facilitate, and lead the games for my SOS siblings. I’m grateful to have spent more time with my family and friends here, and I’m looking forward to facilitating the games again next year,” he said.
The villages are fortunate to have wide areas for the children to play in as play is an integral part of children’s early development and is vital to promoting a happy childhood.
On the other hand, SOS aunts and uncles in Calbayog tried to recreate the beach trips that the children usually enjoyed around summertime before the pandemic. They set up inflatable pools and tents for the young ones to camp in. For the entire week, they played, basketball, volleyball, soccer, and baseball during the day, while they showcased their talents through singing, dancing, spoken poetry, and skits at night.
(Left) SOS youth girls were spending time in their inflatable pool while reminiscing their memorable beach trips. (Right) Children chose to dance the Cariñosa, a traditional Filipino folk dance, for their talent night.
All these activities have helped the children cope in the new normal world and the uncertainty that it brings. Psychosocial activities such as playing, drawing, and performing have proven to foster positive development in children by addressing their emotional, social, and mental needs. Aside from its benefits to individuals, a youth from Cebu also believes that it instills camaraderie and teaches them the value of teamwork when the activities are done together. She says, “what we earned during our sports fest and summer camp were memories to be cherished and a bond that can last a lifetime. Thanks to our SOS mothers, aunts, and uncles, and especially to my SOS brothers and sisters.”
Note: The villages followed the minimum health protocols set by the IATF and DOH. All the children remained inside the village premises, and no visitors were allowed to keep everyone safe.