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Games at the GAP

Taking a break from the Olympic games to play a few board games at the GAP.  Board games are greatly loved in Germany, so it is fun introducing the children to a few of the early classics.

 

New Shed is Ready

The GAP children went on a little expedition around the hall, checking out all the renovations.   Out the back of the hall, we found Saul from TotalSpan Canberra, up on the roof of our new shed, putting on the finishing touches.   We waved to him and asked what he was doing up there.  He replied that he was making mud pies!  We didn’t believe him though, and so he came down to visit with us.

We were allowed to see what he was doing, and go into the new shed.  We are sure that the Pfadfinder scouts will be very happy when they see their new shed.  And GAP and Spiel und Spass are happy too because they have the old toy shed all to themselves now.  No more overcrowding hazards!

Many thanks to the ACT government’s Community Support and Infrastructure Grant program, for allowing us to build the shed.

German Schultueten Tradition

Our 2018 Thursday/Friday class enjoyed their first day at GAP today.

At the end of the day, the children all received Schultueten.  It is a tradition in Germany that each child received a cone shaped Schultuete full of little presents, school supplies, and little items they will need for Kindergarten.

Normally the Schultueten are organised by the child’s family, but here at the German Australian Playschool we provide these for the children as our gift to families.  It has been known to bring tears to the eyes of German parents who remember receiving these on their own first day at school.

Many German parents tell us they even have photographs or vivid memories of themselves or even their own parents with their Schultuete on their first day of school in Germany.

Children may keep all the items inside, but need to return the empty cones to us for future use, please.

 

Schultueten on the First Day

As GAP opened for its 12th year of operation, an excited class of children received their traditional Schultueten.

We are pleased to announce that there were no tears from the children all day.   (We won’t mention the tears of one lovely mum, whose eyes were a bit wet with gratitude and relief as her daughter ran off with her new friends to play, and settled in straight away!)

Our first day saw children busy singing, rolling around on the carpet giggling, creating self-portraits with craft materials, enjoying morning tea on the deck outside, (re-)orienting themselves in the classroom and playground, making new friends, and excitedly exploring their newly renovated surroundings.

The teachers all agree:  It is great to be back at the GAP for another year of fun!

Aerial Sock Wrestling, you ask?

One of the fun evening activities the leaders provided for Alpha Troop at Summer Camp was aerial sock wrestling.

Two scouts would get into helmets and harnesses, and then stand up on milk crates so they were up off the ground.  Once the scouts felt safe swinging in their harnesses, the crates were taken away, and they started the wrestling match… while dangling, swinging and spinning in the air!

The aim of the match is to get your opponent’s sock off.  All the while of course, your opponent is trying to get your sock off.  It makes for dramatic and exciting viewing and playing.  We screamed and cheered for our patrol members, as they wrestled it out in mid-air, twisting and turning in all directions and dimensions!

 

Pfadfinder at Summer Camp

Twelve Pfadfinder Scouts joined 400 scouting friends at Camp Cottermouth this summer, for a full week of exciting summer camp activities.

Pfadfinder camped together with Les Explorateurs (French scouts), Amaroo and Duntroon-Campbell scouts, together creating Alpha Troop (or Le RooFinder, to use our nickname)… photo above.

We braved the incredible heat, and kept cool with a lot of water… water bottles, water fights, water slides, water bucket dumps, soaking our hats and scarves, a dunk tank, a visit to the Big Splash water park, swimming in the Cotter River, and of course multiple trips to the Well of Wonder (our campsite tap)!

The scouts participated in a variety of on-site and off-site activities.  On site, there was orienteering, geocaching, first aid, woggle-making, t-shirt printing, circus skills, rock climbing and abseiling, archery, a water slide, and more.  Off-site, we got to visit Old Parliament House, the National Museum, Questacon, go canoeing, and go bowling with our friends.

There were other activities each evening, such as a disco, a talent show, more water activities, and hanging out with friends.  Many card games were played, songs were sung, stories and jokes were told, and there was a lot of joyful noise and laughter.

One night, the scouts all planned a camp-wide market night. Everyone was given 25 camp-dollars (Robbles) to spend,  and each troop tried to earn the most money at their stalls.  There was face painting, ice ping-pong, sponge-tossing, low ropes courses, games of chance, slippery dips, foot and shoulder massage, dry ice chunks to go in your water bottle, pancakes, popcorn, billy cart rides, and much more!  The whole camp came alive that night as scouts ran to and fro enjoying the festival atmosphere.    Alpha Troop elected two very astute young business managers and earned a record breaking 1700+ Robbles, including auctioning off the camp’s coldest Magnum ice cream at -78.5 Celcius (on dry ice) for 75 Robbles.  We were narrowly beaten by a troop from Biralee in the end, though.

Of course, the scouts also had to feed and look after themselves the whole week.  Each day there was a duty patrol who were responsible for all the cooking, serving and keeping the camp kitchen clean.  Each scout was responsible to wash their own dishes (which they all did an admirable job of… and will no doubt continue to do at home!!)

It was a joy to see the scouts having such a good time and getting involved, making friends, growing up, taking responsibility, getting where they needed to be on time, looking after each other and themselves, and smiling and joking around.

The leaders kept a safe distance, and let the scouts do as much as possible by themselves, learning by doing.  Everyone returned home safe, happy and exhausted at the end, and we still had the same two incident forms we started with… still blank, by the end of camp.   Whew! What a ride!!

 

 

Scouts learn skills with Boss Tiling ACT

Five of our Pfadfinder scouts had the opportunity to be apprentices for the day, with the good folk at Boss Tiling ACT, laying tiles at our scout hall.

We learned how to remove old tiles, prepare a concrete floor for tiling,  and install new floor tiles.

It was hard work but the team made the work a lot of fun with their enthusiastic attitude to the work.  The tilers gave us lots of tips and plenty of opportunity to gain hands-on experience.

During the breaks we entertained them with stories about what we do at scouts, and showed them new ways to wear eye- and ear-protection for fun!

January working bees are underway

Our January working bees and summer renovation plans are well underway!

We are half way through and have accomplished a lot.

We have demolished some walls to enlarge the foyer, done a lot of painting, and reconfigured some of our storage.  We’ve ripped everything out of the storage areas and are sorting through it all.

We have had a new shed built for all the Pfadfinder gear, and we’ve repaired the roof on the old shed which will soon be for toys for 0-5 year olds only.

We have installed a fourth toilet and two new children’s sinks, as well as upgrading some of our lighting in the toilets.

We have pruned our art supplies to keep only the environmentally-friendly ones, in line with our glitter/micro-plastics ban.

Next up will be:

Installing our new and improved children’s coat and bag storage facilities; preparing for the new GAP class; re-covering the bulletin boards;  moving in Pfadfinder and special events equipment to the new shed; topping up sand in the sand box; cleaning…. and lots of it!  And much, much more!!

You are guaranteed to be amazed when you come to the hall next!  And wait until it is all finished (by start of school on 5 February)!! Wow!

 

Sankt Nikolaus visits GAP

Sankt Nikolaus has been seen at GAP this week already, and will return on Friday for the Thurs/Fri class. As always, it is charming to have him visit.  (The photo above was taken with that same Nikolaus at the GAP in 2008!)
Nikolaus is once again giving out traditional Christmas oranges, together with Christmas stickers and a little chocolate.  The kind saint has obviously got a good connection with the German Embassy as their logo is on the little packets of German gummy bears he has been leaving in the children’s shoes!
Why not toys? Why oranges? you might ask.  Well, apart from the fact that our children live such wonderfully privileged lives in Canberra and receive what many would consider to be far too many material objects and toys already; and putting aside the fact that many plastic toys eventually just contribute to landfill or end up in the Pacific Garbage Patch …. oranges and Sankt Nikolaus are a long-standing German tradition.
According to the legend, Sankt Nikolaus once heard of a family so poor they were planning to sell one of their children into slavery.  Saint Nikolaus visited the family at night, and wanting to leave money anonymously for them, he dropped three golden balls down their chimney.  These landed in one of the children’s socks which had been hung near the chimney overnight to dry.  And so the tradition started.
In times since, oranges have been used to represent the golden balls given by Sankt Nikolaus.  Oranges were rare and precious in those days.
In a more recent example, one of our GAP parents who grew up in East Germany remembers that oranges were still considered a luxury when she was a child, and that to receive one at Christmas was a very special treat.
So the children are not getting “just oranges” – they are sharing a legend, a tradition, and some great German culture.   Sankt Nikolaus mentioned to the children today that they were also getting vitamin C from their oranges, and one of the children corrected him: Oranges start with vitamin O!