As the new KEEN term starts, I cast my mind back to the end of last term. To finish it off, KEEN Oxford were invited to a session run by KEEN London (East). Attended by a few of the regular volunteers of KEEN Oxford, this was a chance for us to learn about how they run their sessions and to discover more about how the charity’s model has expanded beyond Oxford.
The session was their equivalent to AllSorts which was full of energy and enthusiasm. In contrast to at KEEN Oxford, there was only one session mixing athletes of all ages together. Access was only available to the one hall and compared to AllSorts the athletes were not divided into different groups. Most athletes were paired with at least two volunteers and the session was run by a single leader.
To begin, instead of the KEEN Oxford tradition of “duck, duck, goose”, we played a few warm up games which haven’t made an appearance at AllSorts for a while; these were “Rhythm Master” and the “Bean” game. The Rhythm Master is a fun game where one athlete is chosen to be the ‘Rhythm Master’ and one athlete the ‘Rhythm detective’. The rhythm master then chooses what movements they will carry out and the rest should copy. During the game the rhythm master will change their movements and the others must continue to follow. It is the job of the detective to try and work out who the rhythm master is and they have three guesses. I was very impressed by ability of the detectives, especially one athlete who managed to guess correctly within what seemed a matter of seconds. Clearly, everyone must know each other very well!
The Bean game is much more physical and energetic. The idea is that the leader calls out different Bean commands, each of which have an associated action. Upon calling out each Bean command, the athletes must perform the action. Examples include Runner Bean where you must jog on the spot or Baked Bean where you curl into a ball shape. How many different Beans can you think of?
Once the warm up was finished, the session burst into life. It was frantic and wild, with athletes running around and volunteers chasing after them. You’d have thought the volunteers needed eyes on the back of their heads to keep track of who was doing what. But amongst the chaos there was a sense of organisation because everywhere you looked there were different games taking place. These included “Sleeping Lions”, “Stuck in the Mud”, “Musical Statues”, “What’s the Time Mister Wolf”, “Dodge Ball”, “Cricket”, and “Basketball”. Yes you did read correctly, dodge ball was an activity which we played. Soft balls were used and volunteers were on high alert for any accidents. I am glad to report we had no casualties and the athletes (and volunteers) had loads of fun trying to avoid the many bouncing balls.
As the session drew to a close, it was clear to me the sense of warmth and friendship throughout. Thanks KEEN London. We had a blast and we welcome you to visit us in Oxford.