Darshini & Netty's Experiences

UM Summer Camp 2022 - looking back

The first ever Summer Camp at UM took place in July 2022.

Here is a piece by Darshini & Netty about their experiences to organize this summer camp for children of staff and students at UM.

Exactly two months ago our team parted ways with 26 unique children, after a very successful first UM Summer Camp week. There we were, still in awe of what we had accomplished together and now realizing it was over.

What started as part of the UM Cares Family Friendly University project, was suddenly realized over the last summer. After all the preparations, brainstorms and logistical planning, we were excited yet nervous on Monday 25 July, when we saw the first WizzKidz arriving at 8.10 hours with their parents at the UM Sports Center. At that moment we realized that our efforts had become a reality. And how!?

Swiftly, the kidz found their KidzCrew leader and started brainstorming on a group name and yell with their group members. Even when decorating their summer camp T-shirts, the group name was creatively incorporated. After the “Automatic” start of the day at different UM locations during the week, the kidz participated in several educational workshops, of which the workshops “What happens when you break the law” and “Tastes Differ” left a lasting imprint. Group activities were also attended with great enthusiasm. The kidz were particularly excited about the “WizzKidz Wizzardz” activity (experiments for kids), launching their homemade rockets after the WizzKidz Explorer Tour and playing detectives in the inner city of Maastricht during the WizzKidz Scavenger Hunt.

Strengthened by inventive and creative KidzCrew members, who escorted the kidz during the week, it became clear how important it is to have a solid team. This also became apparent during the closing ceremony on Friday, where the groups presented the week assignment they had prepared with only few means: We followed team Superfrietjes losing their fries, we fles to Mars and back with team Daton, we learned about making smoothies with a hip vlog from team Superkiwi’s and we tested our knowledge during two quizzes organized by team Smartlanders – a blended composition of pre-adolescents from team Smarties and team Eland. The inventivity and flexibility of the KidzCrew proved its worth again when it was outside playtime and the good old play-tag-with-the-kidz-and-Crew still remained a golden hit. During the week it also became clear for us that kidz are easily entertained and that not everything needs to be planned tightly. This provided some room in our program and we included some extra playtime for the kidz. After all: it was a summer camp, not a school!

Before we knew it, the last day already commenced. We are so proud to see what we have accomplished together to support our UM parents. This UM Summer Camp did not only bring kids together, it also brought parents together whose paths might not have ever crossed.

We are extremely thankful to our fellow UM colleagues and departments, who have contributed to this realization. The second we mentioned it would be an event for kidz, all was possible and people were thinking along enthusiastically to create something special.

A shout out to our KidzCrew students who, each in their own unique manner, handled their responsibilities well beyond our expectations. Every morning, they welcomed their kidz with great enthusiasm and returned them to their parents at the end of the day in the same way, while providing the parents with an update of they day. All KidzCrew members managed to create a fun bond with their kidz. We could not have imagined a better KidzCrew than this one!

And last but not least a big thank you to our Camp Crew D&I student assistants, who were integral during the preparations, the execution and evaluation of the summer camp. Without their efforts, flexibility, relieving humor and inexhaustible energy, this summer camp would not have been the success it has become.

We are looking back on a successful first edition of the UM Summer Camp! It was a considerable project to realize, but knowing now that both parents and kidz awarded it with 9 out of 10 points, it was worth all of our effort…and motivates us for a next edition…stay tuned!

D + N having a laugh