I have been in Eagle Butte for over six weeks and I realized that I haven’t talked about what I do daily. Most days we have some sort of schedule, but sometimes when we have events we work strange hours and do different things than we normally would.
I am supposed to be at work at ten in the morning. I’m sure all of you Avonworthians are jealous, but I still wake up fairly early to clean my room, do my laundry, and write in my journal. It’s the only time I have privacy, so I try to use the mornings to be productive.
In the morning, we have various jobs. However, every volunteer kind of has his or her “thing.” So, lately I have been working at the front desk frequently. I have been doing secretarial jobs like answering the phone and working directly with the people who come in to receive services.
I’ve really enjoyed working at the desk because talking to people, even if it is brief, has helped me understand how Eagle Butte works. I think I have also improved my speaking and conversation skills.
The other task I often do in the morning is make signs. The signs go outside to advertise for daily events. Cheerleaders: if you ever need a substitute sign-maker, I’m your gal. I have painted an unbelievable amount of them since I have been here.
I don’t always sit at the desk or make signs, but I do those jobs more consistently than others.
Then we have lunch. After lunch, the little kids arrive. That’s around 3:30. The kids are great. That’s so generic sounding, but each one is great in his or her own way. Some are funny, some are sweet, and some are crazy.
If I am not working with the kids, I supervise the teen center. That opens at 5:00. I still find it a little strange that I am the same age as some of the kids, but luckily they seem to think I am older simply because I work there.
I have written a journal entry every day I have been here, but I never actually shared anything about them. Just to get a snippet of understanding about them, I have copied some excerpts from my journal.
January 21, 2014 (my first full day)
I started introducing myself to the kids and within minutes I was their personal jungle gym. I literally broke a sweat from all the piggy back rides. They were crazy. Luckily Hannah (a staff member) knew how to handle them because they knew they could walk all over me.
January 25, 2014
This one girl wanted to play ping-pong, but it wasn’t even ping-pong. She thought she scored every time I missed so she just hit as hard as she could every time so it went over my head. It ended up being Amelia chasing the ball instead of ping-pong.
January 28, 2014
We ran a birthday party today. It was so much fun! We played pin the tail on the donkey, courtesy of Helena’s beautiful donkey painting, musical chairs, the gift unwrappy game, and a boy showed us a new game called train. You basically just pretend you are on a train. It was simple, but everyone loved it and they were all so well-behaved.
After that some of the older girls put some pop dance music on and we all danced to it. I must say, I like dancing when I know I won’t be judged. It was better than prom!
January 31, 2014
Today I exercised for the first time in forever. All I did was play basketball with the younggins, but it was full-court, so I did break a sweat.
February 21, 2014
These middle school girls were saying mean things to each other, so I had to deal with it. I thought I had a very good approach to them, but one completely shot me down. She said, “I get that you’re a girl, but I think we can handle this ourselves.” I was not ready for that response at all.
February 24, 2014
The Main was closed so we all went to the teen center. It was great! We played student vs. staff basketball. We sucked horribly, but it was still a good time. Graham and Tate were the only good players, and they made it close at some points in the game, but the teens were way better than us. What can I say? Basketball is life for them.
These entries definitely do not show the whole picture, but there are so many long stories I could tell that I can’t possible write all of them down. With my stay coming to an end, I have realized that I have grown extremely attached to certain kids here. I am going to miss them. I hope I can come back a couple times so I can see them grow up.
After all the kids are gone, we clean up. Then, my roommates and I usually sit on the couch and talk about all the crazy things that happened that day. Everyone always has a few stories to share.
That’s it. That’s the daily life of Amelia at the Cheyenne River Youth Project.