During the last week of July 2018, a 4-day summer camp was conducted at Bao Ninh Resort for 62 children from 7-22 years old and 8 staff of YWAM Mercy’s Van Hoa, Tan Linh and Phu Chau community-based Children’s Homes.
I thought I could not swim. At first, I came down to the pool with fear, then I realized that most people did not know how to swim like me. After few days of learning, I’m confident that I now know how to swim. I can do it. I’ve done it!
After conducting a quick survey on the group’s swimming ability, the children were divided into 5 small groups at different levels under the direct instruction of Aqua-TOT teachers. The children received instruction for two hours each morning and afternoon.
Most children had little swimming experience. Girls and young boys learned frog swimming techniques, and the older boys learned how to swim the freestyle stroke. They were also instructed in safe rescue techniques to assist someone who is drowning.
I did not know how to swim, but on only the second day of training with the instructor, I knew how to swim frog style. When I first swam to the other side of the pool, I was extremely happy.
Sixty-two sets of swimwear were donated to the children. Because this was their first time wearing swimwear, the children were very shy. However, their embarrassment was quickly overshadowed by the attractiveness of the AquaTOTs instructors’ lessons. After 4 days, the the children and their instructors became friends.
Now, it is fun when I remember again. The first time down at the pool, I choked on the water. I was scared and crying loudly. My teacher, Long, and everyone, gently reassured me and taught me how to get used to the water.
This trip, the most fun is to swim. The pool had such clear water. There are many brothers and sisters swimming together. Mr. Alex [camp organizer from the German Embassy] carried me on his back and I floated on the water.
I’m the youngest of the group so I got the most care from the teachers and staff. I learned to take a breath in and breathe out in rhythm under the water. I can do frog swimming!
Besides learning to swim, summer camp is also a chance for the children to have fun together. A number of beach games were organized to add joyful moments to the sometimes intense learning hours.
We also took part in several “flash-mob” dances prepared by children themselves. Imagine, over 70 people dancing together at the pool! It is not just a fun way to warm up the children before getting in the pool, but also attracted the attention of guests in the resort who watched and cheered with us.
The children also made summer memories simply walking together on the sand or playing with the Long-Chong beach grass, which is special to this region.
We cannot fail to mention the miracle of finding a pool during the busy summer tourist season which met the AquaTOTs technical requirements to ensure quality swimming instruction for a big group like our Children’s Homes. Bao Ninh Resort is rated 4 stars and there are 2 swimming pools. The resort manager, knowing about our trip purpose, gave us priority for using one of the pools. That very much contributed to the success of the training.
Of course this Summer Camp would not be possible without the help of our donors.
We would like to thank the German Embassy, the Kneipe Club Hanoi, Messer, Hafele, Rieckermann, Poggenpohl, B. Braun, Football Total, the V-star Club, the HAT FC, the VFF, HERO and MOFICO for joining with YWAM Mercy Vietnam to provide this wonderful opportunity to our children-in-difficult-circumstances living in our three Children’s Homes in Ba Vi District.
Our eldest boys were taught to swim by Mr. Dat. Learning to swim freestyle is very hard but I like the feeling of surfing in the water. I feel like a fish. Knowing how to swim is great!
After a week of intense training, I found myself weak. Sometimes, I even lost to the younger kids in races. I decided I’ll practice sports now to improve my health.