AWO children’s free time in Hasenloch: How 63 children and the new management team brave the heat in Giengen

The 35th AWO Children’s Camp at Naturfreundehaus Hasenloch has been in full swing since Monday, the first time for organizers Simon Eberhardt and Jennifer Roscher. The AWO District Association social teachers have previously participated in the holiday camp in Heidenheim, but according to them you cannot compare. In Giengen there are different structures and processes, the big difference is that you do not move in your own place, but “rent” from a nature lover. The fact that one can already talk about the successful premiere of Rocher and Eberhardt is also due to the conscientious renunciation of their predecessors Inge Stoch and Udo Werley of the AWO, who organized leisure on a voluntary basis for many years. “We kept in touch a lot. There were details we couldn’t even figure out,” Jennifer Rocher says.

Supervision from 8 am to 5:30 pm

The 26-year-old admitted that she was “positively excited” right before the start. Experience has shown that unexpected problems will arise on the first day. In fact, everything has been running smoothly so far. However: “You can’t say ‘stress-free’ in a sentence that includes ‘kids’ free time’ and certainly not with ‘the first day of kids’ free time’,” says Simon Eberhart with a laugh. A working day only lasts twelve hours plus. Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., but things need to be cleaned up before the end of the day, discussed in the team and preparations made for the next day.

An Established Team: Jennifer Rocher and Simone Eberhardt run a children’s camp in Jengen for the first time.
© Photo: Markus Brandhuber

Good news: Already on the second day some kids signed up for the next week. This year, for the first time, there was the possibility to register for only one week. “But most of them took the two weeks,” Rocher says. This week there are 63 kids, as of Monday there will also be about 60.

Weather and Food Concerns

In the lead up to the free time, the young organizers were concerned about the weather and the food. The caterer, which supplies BSH’s canteen and from the start also AWO children’s free time, was initially going to accept for this year, but then was canceled again due to staff shortages. For everyone’s convenience, the caterer was able to make this possible.

On the other hand, the weather meant it was almost as good with sunshine and temperatures. “We can consider ourselves lucky to be here in Hasenloch, as it is certainly a few degrees cooler than in downtown Giengen, and where many trees provide shade,” says the 31-year-old. The AWO team regularly reminds boys and girls of sunscreen and drink and insists on wearing a hat. “If you don’t have one, we’ll give you one.” The good thing: In the heat, kids will voluntarily stay in the shade and if drinking turns into competition, enough fluids will be consumed.

Water games to calm down

That afternoon with temperatures well above 30 degrees, water sports are on the agenda, but it’s too hot for soccer matches or action games. With the prospect of calming down, cheers erupt in the throng of children, but a few “Oh no” can also be heard. Kids, who don’t like the wet item very much, can “cool” in the shade instead.

“The nice thing about children’s free time is that little ones can do whatever they like to do.” The supervision team might consider a program – so they recently did a full day workshop with batik, cress heads making and juggling balls making – but if the kids are looking for something completely different, just reschedule.

Rocher and Eberhart have the active support of volunteer moderators. In order to provide them with security, they received pedagogical and above all legal training. What exactly is meant by duty of care? How do you deal with younger children and how do you deal with them? Above all, it is important to know that this event is not primarily about education, but about fun.

Parental afternoon next week

There must be a lot more of that next week, say on the famous Father’s Day Thursday. The organizers are looking forward to talking to the parents and giving them the opportunity to meet the people who take care of their children. There was just enough time on Monday for a short round of tariffs.

News overview for Heidenheim on Friday 5 August 2022

Simone Eberhardt and Jennifer Rocher are the new management team

It is not yet clear if the Roscher/Eberhardt duo will be in charge of the children’s camp in Hasenloch next year. After all, employees of AWO are also involved in other projects. But what they can say for sure, assuming Corona and the global situation allows it, is that the 36th edition will take place in 2023.

Simone Eberhardt and Jennifer Rocher are the new management team

I made great strides

For the past 20 years, Inge Stoch, president of the local AWO association in Gingen, has organized a children’s camp in Hasenloch. About half that long she could count on the help of her deputy Udo Verli, who took up the pedagogical department as a teacher.

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