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11th Annual KID’S WEEKEND
December 05-07 2015
 
The Bangkok Kids Weekend, known in Rotary as KWE is a major event in our calendar. Each year for the past 11 years the Rotary Club has invited about 35 kids from the Mercy Centre in Bangkok for a 3 day holiday here on the island. These kids really do have a rough start to life, with many coming from broken homes or through losing parents to HIV / drug related problems. The Mercy Centre takes them in and gives them a good education, security, love and family life. If you would like to see more about the work they do, please check out their website at http://www.mercycentre.org/en

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To bring so many kids for a holiday needs a lot of organising and generous support, and this year was no different. To list every single supporter and donation would be impossible, so if I miss a few please forgive me a know that I personally, and all of us at Rotary thank you for your generosity and kindness.

The overall event coordination is a joint affair between the Rotary members ( as always much is done by Adele and Wally ) and a lady called Lorraine Clark. Many of you will know her from her many activities on the island. Lorraine has done this task for many years and in just a few days’ time she will relocate back to England, so may we thank Lorraine for all of her hard work this year and in years gone by.

If I run through the weekend in chronological order – maybe I can catch most of those who assisted in some way. The kids were brought by shuttle buses from Bangkok and met at Donsak by two ex-Rotarians Gary and Khun Ta to ensure a smooth crossing on the ferry. Gary and Ta also stayed with the kids for the whole weekend – lending a hand at every occasion, so a big thank you to them.

Gary in the pool

The main accommodation for the kids is provided by OZO Resort in Chaweng. The GM Ingo and all of his team do a fantastic job to make the kids welcome and provide them with excellent accommodation, pool, play areas and breakfast. Without the very generous support of OZO we could not hold the KWE.

Kids outside OZO

Once checked in, we give the kids a welcome bag with T shirts, colouring books and snacks. These were donated by Khun Warunee, Makro and SKAL, with thanks to the ladies who helped Adele to pack them all. After this the kids normally run for the pool, but this year the weather was against us and so a quick “40 winks” was in order after their long journey.

Then mid-afternoon we set off for Bar Ice, a favourite for the kids, as coming from Thailand they have never seen a room made of ice before. For them to experience -7C and to be dressed up in big coats and hats is really a novelty for them. Thanks to all at Bar Ice for helping out.

From Bar Ice we traveled to Prana Resort. This was the first time GM Mikhail ( Mike ) and his team have hosted the kids and what a great job they did. With singing and games for the afternoon followed by a great buffet dinner … everyone had a great time. Gifts of baseball hats and towels were also given … these became favourites for the kids as you will see in later photos. A great big thank you to Mike and all of the Prana team for making a wet and windy afternoon turn into something that was so much fun.

Sunday morning saw the sun come out, so at 8am we took the kids off to the OZO kids pool. This is a wonderful design suitable for the youngest kids to feel safe in.

Then it was off for a 30 minute drive around the island and up into the mountains to visit Tarnim Magic Garden. Here, the manager Khun Bee had very kindly agreed to let everyone into the garden for free and also provide free chocolates for the kids …

Following on came a visit to the Paradise Park Farm. ( PPF ) Just as we arrived the heavens opened, but then 5 minutes later the sun was out and so were all of the animals. PPF is full of birds and animals – all of which can be fed by the kids and for many they experienced a really unique and first time up close encounter with the doves, budgies, sheep, goats, deer and 2 big Iguanas. Some were scared to begin with, but soon all of them were feeding the animals with big smiles …
A big “thank you” to manager Khun Nong for letting all of us into the park for free.
 
 
Lunch was donated by many of the restaurants and resorts form around the island, many of who support Rotary through Fellowship Dinners each month. The food was coordinated by Martin the GM at Rocky’s and delivered to PPF. Everything was set up and presented by Nigel Mills from Frisbee Golf, and served up by the ladies at PPF.

 

After PPF, it was back to OZO for another hour in the pool and general messing around with rubber rings etc …

Following a quick change of clothes, we then headed for the Shamrock Bar in Lamai. Danny and the whole Shamrock team have been very supportive in the past and this year was no different. Great food and entertainment laid on by the resident band.

The kids were even invited up on stage to sing and dance along with some of the Thai songs …. A great experience for the braver ones.

Each year the kids also like to put on a small show for us, and this year we were treated to some Muay Thai exercises by the boys and dancing by the girls. Then came surprise visit by Santa ( which is strange as he seems to show up every year at the Shamrock around the King’s birthday ) … each of the kids was given a small gift, mostly donated by the ladies of Sisters On Samui. Thank you ladies…. Father Christmas was Michael from HHH after a little press ganging and he was helped out by Khun Warunee who made an excellent Santa’s helper. Both did such a good job they are already booked for next year, but we haven’t told them yet !

After a long day we headed back to OZO for a well-earned sleep.

On Monday 8am saw more fun in the pool at OZO followed by some games and lunch all provided by the Four Seasons resort Staff. We were scheduled to have a beach party, but the rain was coming down again, so a quick change to the plans which saw OZ make the Stacked Restaurant available for an art competition to make a picture frame followed by games around the trees outside. I have never heard so few children make so much noise, so they must have been having a good time.

A big thank you to Jeff the GM of Four Seasons and all of his team.

As with every visit of the kids, the weekend is over all too soon and it is time for them to leave Samui for the Orphanage in Bangkok. It is a 12 hour drive each way, but for the kids it is well worth it for a chance to see the clean air of Samui and for a short break to forget some of their problems. Whilst we can never put right their broken homes of stories of abuse, we can certainly put a smile on their faces whilst they are here in Samui.

Phil

President Rotary Samui

p.s.It takes a lot of hard work, money, donations of products, and services to make Kid's Weekend and our other projects a successful reality.  We are very grateful to all the people and companies who helped with this event; would you please consider a donation of any size to support further efforts like this in the future?   Click here to donate now (Credit Cards or Paypal transfers are accepted through Paypal's 100% safe & secure online gateway).