Mentor Diary Day 1 (Girls) – Mercury
First official night of camp!
After all the hustle and bustle of getting things ready, it was finally time for bed. All the campers set up sleeping bags and claimed their territory for the night, ready to get some rest. After Fajr namaaz, campers had another chance to get a good night’s sleep before departing bright and early for Lodge Hill.
The next morning we finally got going. On the coach there was there was a feeling of excitement and curiosity from everyone. There was a constant buzz of “Zainab Bai, are we there yet?” and “How long left Zainab Bai?” Two and a half hours later I could finally answer their questions, we had reached!
Namaaz and lunch were next on the agenda. The campers were then taken upstairs to their dorm rooms, where they had a chance to settle down and get to know their new roommates and mentors.
Since being in such a beautiful environment, campers and mentors wanted an opportunity to explore the grounds and have planet time. Exploring the grounds was extremely exciting as we saw many of the activities we would soon be taking part in.
Bed time finally arrived after a long day and all the campers went to sleep feeling excited for the days to come.
Mentor Diary Day 1 (Boys) – Saturn
Today was our first day of the Camp, a day that marks the beginning of a journey on many different levels. It began in the midst of Fajar Salaat where the Mentors and I wondered around the room waking our freshly welcomed campers up from their sleeping bags, scattered around the bayat-ul-salaah in the Watford centre.
In the morning thereafter, there was a lot to get done in a short amount of time. By the Grace of the Almighty, everything fell into place as the young people almost were able to take care of each other. Some campers were helping others to wake each other up, others were going around folding peoples sleeping bags, in the end, there was no need for assisting ice breakers as the campers were bonding outside their Jamaat, already leaving their comfort zone at such an early stage. In the meantime, some of the mentors and I were loading the coach with everyone’s luggage. The driver, Claude, also helped loading the luggage and all the food that we were taking.
In the coach, there was a very positive spirit; everyone was laughing, chatting away and enjoying the journey after we having recited several surah’s led by the campers themselves. My personal experience was made up partly by sitting at the front on the double decker, admiring the view, to then having an academic conversation with the alim and alimah about the constitution that the Prophet set in place in Madina. Conversation then drifted between the mentors facilitating our love to grow.
Curiosity, excitement and energy later peaked once we reached the camp site. After offloading everything, my planet went for an adventure in the beautiful forest, exploring the 32 acres of land we are blessed with for the following days. I enjoyed some friendly competition on the monkey bars, and felt that the group really connected given the change of environment where we were essentially ‘chilling’ in the woods. My co-mentor and I really got a deeper insight of the way the campers relate to each other and the roles they initially established amongst themselves. When discussing later that evening, we were so happy to see them bond in a way that the dynamics of our group had completely changed. Indeed, learning only takes place once behaviour changes, and inshallah we can see a lot of potential for change, growth and development.
Finally, on a personal note, I really enjoyed the food with our campers, most certainly it was cooked with love, served with love, and together, we ate it with love.
I have just spent the past two and a half hours reflecting the qualities and potentials that the campers have demonstrated with the admin team, and how we as mentor’s can develop these qualities. Learning from each other also helps us develop in order to reach our own potential, as well as building that potential. Now that we have all just prayed fajar together, and the sheikh has given us points to reflect upon, I am sitting here writing the mentor diary, thinking about how I will stay awake for the night duty, whilst reminiscing on the highlights of today.
Mohammed Ali Virani, Saturn Mentor