Hello and Happy New (ish) Year everybody,
Naomi and Sean are wondering just how much longer we can keep greeting people with Happy New Year? Naomi plans to keep doing it until at least the end of the first week of Feb due to when Chinese New Year falls.
Anyway today was the first All The Skills gig of 2011 and what a fantastic start to the year it was. Naomi returned to the British Red Cross offices in Bolton to lead a cheerleading workshop with a group of female refugees and asylum seekers.
We started the session with a shake out and learning to count in the many different languages spoken by the ladies. There were people there from China, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Italy and Pakistan and it was great that everybody felt able to contribute and teach each other something.
The group then learnt a number of cheerleading positions and movements before putting them together into 2 short chants. As well as learning new performance skills, learning the positions and chants were also a fun way of practicing their English speaking skills.
Learning the cheer routine to music was the part of the session the ladies seemed to enjoy the most (probably because Naomi kept forgetting her own choreography much to their amusement!). There was much enthusiasm and plenty of smiling faces which carried over into the last section where participants created and performed their own cheer routine in groups.
The ladies are always a pleasure to work with and very welcoming. Naomi hopes she can visit the group again soon. In the meantime it is the men’s turn to experience an All The Skills workshop next week. Ben Cottam who runs the men’s group for the British Red Cross in Manchester has booked a creative writing workshop for next week where refugees and asylum seekers develop their writing skills in a fun, creative and imaginative way.