Camps @ Campus
Agastya’s attitude of inclusiveness ensures that there are programs for children and young adults from affluent city schools, as well as the core programs that were begun for the rural children. Students from as far away as Mumbai have come for exposure to the natural beauty of South India. School children from Chennai have learned, from the hands-on exhibits in the Discovery Center, principles that they were unable to grasp from their schoolbooks. Seeing, meeting, and getting to know their rural counterparts, children from the cities, who have to rough it on campus without familiar luxuries, are humbled by the simple joys of village children. There is much more than science learned here – and, as is always true at Agastya, the adults are not the only teachers.
Visitors who come for the Camps @ Campus experience get a close-up view of the workings of an NGO from the grassroots level. Dormitory-style accommodations make it easy to customize programs suited to any group within the mission and goals of Agastya. Programs may be geared toward the needs of students from schools and colleges all over India, as well as team-building experiences for corporate visitors. At the core of all programs is the objective of developing and increasing each student’s appreciation for community, science, and the environment through traditional camp events.
Among the activities available to a group that customizes a 1-to-30-day camp program is the opportunity to visit rural schools and see a mobile lab in action. Hands-on learning is available in the physics, chemistry, biology, math, astronomy, art, and ecology labs, and at the Discovery Center. Students may observe the sky through telescopes by night and study nature in the cool damp of an early morning walk with campus experts or visiting scientists. Night walks are also a favorite option, with the rare opportunity to glimpse unsuspecting nocturnal animal life.
Camps @ Campus can supplement the school curriculum and strengthen these students’ grasp on academic subjects, as well as their abilities to integrate lessons into their comprehension of the world around them. A variety of sports and other activities can sharpen their teamwork skills. A visit to Agastya can provide new experiences that bolster self confidence and build understanding between India’s urban and rural communities by first bringing the children together, thereby dispelling their prejudices, presumptions, and misconceptions of one another. Once understanding exists, there is a chance that empathy may follow.