Monday, 31 March 2014

What does it take to be a Sugar Bay Counsellor?


What is a Sugar Bay counselor? If you've ever been to Sugar Bay before you will know that our counselors are probably the most amazing people out there. They have energy throughout the day, each and everyday, they are always positive and have smiles on their faces and most importantly, they know how to have fun and laugh at themselves.

But here at camp we don't just let anyone walk through the door and put on that famous blue shirt! For those who are lucky enough to get accepted, they still need to go through a two week training course where they will learn the in's and out's of how camp runs.

The selection process is very specific, after showing interest in the amazing opportunity to work with children everyday, they will send their CV's through to our Head Counselor, Tape. Applicants are then requested to send a motivational letter, and will also be contacted for an intense phone interview.

Once accepted, they will move onto the next stage, coming to training week! During this week trainees will see if they have what it takes to be one of our counselors!   

The first day, Sunday, is always my favourite - waiting to meet all the new faces, seeing everyone make new friends and learning about why they want to become a Sugar Bay counselor. We have a Sunday afternoon braai - what better way is there to get everyone nice and relaxed? Then just like holiday camps, we have opening night games where we all get to run around like children. 

After the excitement of the first night comes the hard work throughout the rest of the week. Here at camp trainees will participate in all the activities, from our ropes course to surfing on the beach - they do it all!

Trainees will learn from the PC's all about how things are run from games, to safety protocols and what we expect from them if they become a Sugar Bay counselor.


They then have training lectures with the managers. I give lectures on Child and Staff Psychology, and Tape teaches them all about the Theory of Teaching. Our director, Zoe, also comes to teach and qualify all trainees in First Aid and CPR, a qualification which is compulsory in order to work at here with all our special campers.

The fun doesn't end there. Trainees will also have their very own camp fire with stories, songs and smore's led by our own Rodger Dodger!

As you can tell, there is a lot for them to do, but it doesn't stop there. After completing training week, the trainees will come back to complete their shadow week at camp. During their shadow week, they will follow one of our top staff members around and learn all that they can from them! If they truly impress us after this shadow week, they will be selected to become a member of our Sugar Bay Team!

How are names selected? Over the years we have gone through several names, generally around a theme. So for example, last week we brought something different into the theme names: “ The Super 15”. So all our new trainee counselors are named after a lot of cool rugby gear! 

When I say that being a counselor is a lot of fun, you don't have to take my word for it. I went out and did some research on what the trainee's thought about this week and what their favourite part of the week was. Here's what I found...

Tube:” I honestly thought it was going to be boring and all theory work, but we had so much fun and really bonded together as a team. I loved the fact that I got to meet new people and that we worked together as a team.”

Jersey:”A lot hey! The obstacle course and Kayaking were my favourite, I would like to do more of those types of activities! The people I met, the perfect weather, only one rainy day and the food it was all amazing.”

To meet all our new counselors join us this holiday for our awesome camps: Australian week, and Fire and Ice week are all around the corner!

Also if you, or someone you know would like to become a counselor here at Sugar Bay, email for more information.

Thats all from me for this week! See you next week for more news in and around the bay! Remember it's your world! <3

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Our energetic bunch of newbies!

Oh sweet Wednesday, how we love thee!

What an incredible, sunny week we have had here on the coast! This week has been SO much fun watching our counselors training the newbies. If there's one thing I've loved, it's their energy.

When your kids come to camp, you want to know they are in safe hands and are going to have as much fun as possible, and well... let me tell you- this lot will not let you down! They have SO much energy and are so lively, giving 100% into everything they do.

Yesterday morning we had a stunning sunrise on the beach, we gave them beach talks, and spoke all about the ocean, the tides, our beach activities, and even did a little rock exploring! (Gotta' love low tide!!)

Of course, being the photographer, my favourite part was the way the morning rays from our beautiful Mr. Sun was hitting the water... Magnificient.

It makes me even more excited for our holiday camps when we get to take the kids out for early morning beach activities, the photos are EPIC!!

This is the life here at Sugar Bay.. This is our home, and our family, who are united as one to teach, help, and secure your kids when they join our family..

Until next week,
Keep safe, keep loving, and keep smiling!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Sweet Sunshine

Goooood morning Zinkwazi!

I trust you are all having a fabulous week and soaking up this wonderful sun before the rain comes in again?
But then again, dancing in the rain is just as fun as playing in the sun!
It's Kodak here! It's been a while since I've had a chance to update you, and share all my colourful photos with you, so let's start with my favourite- the SUNRISE!

Here in Zinkwazi we have had some beautiful weather and sunrises, here's one from yesterday!


I'm sure by now you have all seen my beautiful pup, Sunshine, here she is soaking up the beauty with me.. Look how big she has grown!

You'll never guess what happened yesterday...... A little lady from Sacred Heart school BROKE OUR CRATE CLIMBING RECORD!!! With 24 crates!! Lula Pam-Grant, big up's to you!

Other than that, we have been having so much fun fitting in every activity possible, and we're really going to miss these kids when they leave, they are just the sweetest bunch!

Much love from here at Sugar Bay,

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Because I'm Happy

Gru, Agnes, Edith, Margo and the MINIONS!!! Yes Sugar Bay is going yellow, and for what you may ask?? Despicable Me Week is coming to Sugar Bay this April Holiday! Probably the best animation film in a long time. It was even nominated for two Oscars at this years academy awards.

Let's take a sneak peak into what awesome things I've got planned for this week! To start us off, all of camp is going to be split into two teams.
The yellow and the purple team. These are going to represent the yellow good minions and the evil purple minions. These two teams will have opportunities to collect points throughout the week for the end of the week water balloon fight!

This week at camp the fun is not going to stop. Campers will learn how to speak Minionese and they will even become their own mad scientists, just like Gru in the experiments evening where they can blow up things and make fun and creative experiments.

In the middle of this week you as a camper will get the chance to go on a Sugar Bay Excursion!Campers will spend the day at Fun World, a mini amusement park on the Durban beach front and they will get to visit mini own too, the miniature version of Durban. This also includes a yummy lunch.

A big highlight for this week is going to be Agnes' Carnival, in which campers will be able to participate in a huge carnival, just like in the movie with a wide variety of carnival games where they can win prizes. Other classic evening programs with a despicable twist will be "Who wants to be a Minionaire?" and "Whose Minion is it anyway?".

But I'm not going to give all the surprise's away! To find out more about the week join us here at camp for an awesome minion-filled time!
For those of you who will be joining us, bring your yellow and purple clothes as well as your dungarees!!

Remember, Keep Calm and Love the Minions!! Sugar Bay... It's your world! <3

Paris... <3

Monday, 3 March 2014

Learning Without Walls

What is Community Service Learning you ask? This is where an educational institution partakes in a program, working together with a community organization whereby the outcome is mutually beneficial to both parties. In our case Sugar Bay recently hosted two American International Schools, AIS Johannesburg and AIS Libreville, and both schools requested that their students were involved in Community Service Learning for some of their stay with us.

We were very excited at the prospect and approached our local farm school, Bongimfundo, situated between Zinkwazi and Darnall. The Headmaster, Mr. Ramgathi welcomed us with open arms. The little school has 100 pupils, five classrooms and only four teachers and it is for this reason that the Gr R's and Gr 1's are together in one classroom, as are the Gr 2's and 3's, Gr 4's and 5's plus the Gr 6's and 7's. Bongimfundo barely manages on the rather limited government budget they receive and are therefore extremely grateful for any help in whatever form it may be given. With input from the very passionate Headmaster, the Sugar Bay Management team and Counselors put together a program of how to approach the learning project from a hands-on, practical perspective.

The AIS students were split into groups and worked the different classes (with a counselor and teacher present) according to the schools regular timetable and curriculum. The students soon became aware of the challenges they were up against such as the language barrier. In the English class of thirty six Gr 4's and 5's, there are only six pupils who have mastered the spelling and understanding of the 200 plus words in their text book. Mr Ramgathi recognized what the students were up against and split the class up into smaller groups assigning one student to each group. The tutoring of five or six pupils was far easier and a few of the AIS students showed some real teaching potential.

Singing and dancing is an integral part of the African culture and Biology became a happy and vibrant affair when one of the AIS students produced her guitar. While she strummed, the children sang and danced, at the same time learning the different parts of the body to the catchy tune.

In the maths class a more practical, hands on approach was used. One student was a great hit when she realized they were not making headway by writing addition, subtraction and division on the blackboard. She then called up ten pupils, stood them in a line at the front of the class and then added more pupils, subtracted some and divided the remaining pupils...all to an enthusiastic chorus from the rest of the class as they could see and understand the maths being created before them.

During the sports period, all social and cultural differences were forgotten in the excitement of a game of soccer, netball or the educational outdoor games we know so well at Sugar Bay. Pupils, students and counselors became one team in the throws of the outdoor activities. Lunchtime was also a time of sharing as everyone ate the regular lunch served at the school. Granted, it may not have been to the taste of some pallets, but no one went hungry.

It was very evident by the end of our Sugar Bay Community Service Learning program that the AIS student's participation at Bongimfundo Primary had a life changing effect on them. They came away with a better understanding of the social issues these young scholars, and the community face, plus a better understanding of themselves and the difference they can make. They were also challenged to use critical thinking and problem solving skills which in turn helped build their own independence, confidence and self esteem.

Apart from the fact that there are a few Bongimfundo pupils pronouncing their English words with an American accent, they received three days of alternative learning involving a more practical and hands on approach. The excitement, enthusiasm and participation they showed was testimony in itself as to their encompassing of the Sugar Bay Community Service Learning program. It was a delight to witness them grasping the intricacies of subtraction and division, or how to spell a word, or the fun of recycling and saving our planet.

Each day ended with assembly where all the children would gather and offer up their daily thanks in prayer, after which they sang their appreciation and praises to Sugar Bay and the AIS students, an amazing rendition that bought many a tear to the eye. These children have next to nothing, and yet it takes next to nothing to make them happy and smile...more than can be said for those children who want for nothing!

Kathie Day - Sugar Bay Resort Manager