Starting Service! – Gecko Inc.

After the long hiatus of service within OSC, last week the whole school started service with some of us moving to different services due to lesser people signing up for certain groups. I was moved into Gecko Inc from RCCI, which is a service that aims to help students with subpar swimming skills gain comfortability in water. I was appointed as a co-leader with Ritheek, who was a leader in this service group previously and since this was my first year in this service group, he made sure to brief me well, and most importantly the entire group well. Below are some of the details of the service: (LO6)

  • Service Description

The Gecko Inc. service group focuses on helping disadvantaged Sri Lankan children to develop basic water safety skills. Considering the fact that Sri Lanka is an island, a child’s ability to feel safe around water is critical to preventing drownings. 

  • Mission Statement

The Gecko Inc. service group focuses on helping disadvantaged Sri Lankan children to develop basic water safety skills.

  • Vision Statement

To ensure all children can feel safe around water.

On the first lesson as service started, Ritheek guided us through the usual agenda of how service would run if the students were to be present. This included the warm-up out of the water, then how we would chaperone them towards the showers, and finally help them get into the pool slowly. In the pool, we also went through how to help the kids who are uncomfortable in the water, then we went through the basics of teaching them to swim (holding onto a board and kicking) and we also went though how to correct the form of kids who will use improper form. This taught us all new things, especially with controlling someone who doesn’t know how to swim or is uncomfortable in the water. (LO2).

For the second lesson, Ritheek was not present, however during that lesson I took control of the service plan and we decided to not get into the pool and I instead chose to teach phrases in sinhala to guide the kids around the and in the pool. (LO4). Most of the kids we are expecting struggle to understand english, so communication is difficult without the use of sinhala. This was why Ritheek and I took the initiative to teach our service group members easy sinhala phrases and words to use around them. Below in figure 1 is some of the phrases/words I taught. (LO3).

Figure 1. Sinhala Phrases/Words

As we can see in figure 1, I wrote the sinhala sentence in english followed by the english translation, and also on the bottom of every phrase I wrote it phonetically to make sure everyone would be able to understand and reciprocate it back to me. I also made sure to include greetings and small talk in sinhala so that the kids could feel comfortable around us. I also wrote phrases which included “Lets go shower,” “Get into the pool carefully,” etc.

For the future, I hope that we can apply what we learned in the first lesson with teaching these students how to swim or get comfortable in the water, and what I taught in the second lesson with the phrases and words for the betterment of the service and the students abilities when we become full face to face.

 

Learning Outcomes:

(LO4: Show commitment to and perseverance in CAS experiences.) – As we see from above, we see commitment to the project especially when as I took over the service group when Ritheek was not here and taught the group sinhala phrases. Commitment was also seen here, because I had to pre-think of different phrases and words we could use and bring it for that lesson.

(LO2: Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process.) – Our whole service group developed new skills on our first lesson learning how to teach and help the kids in the water. As teaching people isn’t my forte, it was quite challenging to “practice” teach each other the things we learned that lesson.

(LO3: Demonstrate how to initiate and plan a CAS experience.) – This was seen when I was planning for the sinhala lesson to teach our service members.

(LO6: Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance.) – Finally with the last learning outcome, we see the engagement to issues of global significance especially because our service description is, “The Gecko Inc. service group focuses on helping disadvantaged Sri Lankan children to develop basic water safety skills. Considering the fact that Sri Lanka is an island, a child’s ability to feel safe around water is critical to preventing drownings.” As it is a big problem in Sri Lanka and also around the world especially in countries surrounded by water or contain a lot of water bodies this signifies the global significance.

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