I haven’t posted in a really long time and I’ve been meaning to share my experiences about my job at Motif this summer. The Motif, which was held on July 12-14, is an annual celebration of all the different cultures we have in Moose Jaw and this year was the 39th annual festival. Every summer, Moosejavians look forward to the wonderful food and entertainment provided in this celebration. The Motif also brings different cultures in Moose Jaw together and allows them to share their customs and experiences with each other. The whole thing is a wonderful learning experience because you learn about traditional dishes, dances, music, practices, etc.
I worked at the Motif last year in the Children’s Area, but this year I had more responsibility. I was the area manager of the Children’s Area this year, since I had experience from the previous year. The Children’s Area is a space for children to do crafts that were relevant to the theme of multiculturalism. Parents would drop off their kids while they looked around the festival or the parents would stay with them there. The area manager was responsible for interviewing employees, planning out the crafts that the children would do, calling cultural groups to ask if they would lead crafts, buying materials and managing the area and staff. Interviewing people for the first time was nerve-wracking, but it was a great experience to have! It was an opportunity to work on professionalism and management skills.
Sunday proved to be the busiest day of the weekend. The opening day on Friday brought a decent amount of children and Saturday was not as busy because it was storming most of the day. Since Sunday was the busiest, we had multiple children at different tables doing various crafts. I made sure to have some backup crafts ready for children that would finish the planned crafts earlier or for the children that were not as interested in what was planned. It was sometimes hard to attend to the various needs each child required since there were only three people working in the Children’s Area and the busy environment of the Motif was a factor, also. For example, we were located by the stage, so it was hard to address the whole group. This would be easier if we had volunteers helping during the busy times. A problem that came up during the weekend was that the children would work at different paces and would require different levels of assistance. The age range of the children was about age four to twelve, so I would now put younger children together at a table and the older children at another table. This way, you can go at a faster pace with the older children and at a slower pace with the younger ones.
We always have a piñata as our celebration on the last day of Motif and this resulted in some problems last year. We had one piñata for all ages, and a child ended up getting hurt. This year, I purchased two: one for the younger children and one for the older children. It ended up being a little chaotic because a lot of children showed up. It was an improvement from last year, however. I suggested that there should be a sign up sheet next year, so the Children’s Area staff can regulate the amount of kids that participate. That, or just purchase even more piñatas! 🙂 I don’t feel bad about it turning out chaotic, though, because the only way you’re going to learn is by failing a couple of times!
The Children’s Area is always a positive, fun and educational place for kids of all ages to enjoy and I believe that the Motif in general has a great impact on them. Children are educated on how people from different cultures cook, dance, sing and speak and they also learn the customs and traditions of various cultures. The Children’s Area also has a positive impact on myself because the experience I gain from Motif makes me a more confident and well-developed teacher to be. I am always learning new things from my experiences and this job confirms my choice to become a teacher. I was glad to bring in some new ideas to improve the Children’s Area this year and to discuss some new suggestions for next year. The kids that come to this area always leave excited and happy and that is the most rewarding thing to see! One thing that I did this year was displaying work. If a child didn’t want their craft, I would hang them up around the area. This made the kids feel special and appreciated! The Children’s Area is always a great experience and I have no doubt that next year will be even better!
Here’s some examples of the crafts we did: