Deaf Life8th August 2014

Our CODA visit to Sign Circle

The CODA team had a great time at this year's Sign Circle event in Preston

by Marie Dimond

On the 25th-28th July 2014 we descended upon Sign Circles fields of green and in the beating sun we pitched our temporary home. There were many familiar faces and our journey across the fields took us hours not minutes as we bumped into someone else to chat to and catch up with.

After a relaxing evening watching the fire show we awoke with the dawn, boiled water for tea and set off to unveil our stall. We were able to offer one to one support and information on a much more personal level face to face with the community as well as offer a bit of face painting and nail painting to the children and parents, all in line with Sign Circle’s hippy spirit.

There were 9 COCA-CODAs (Children of Deaf Adult), children from our KODA (Kids of Deaf Adult) workshop in Derby, at Sign Circle and all of them came to visit our stall. Some even staying to relax and entertain with us in between the many activities available throughout the weekend. A couple of them even stayed long enough to help man the stall giving their experiences of our activities and telling stories about the wonders of KODA workshops.

Outside of doing the stalls and workshops we enjoyed participating in the art and craft activities made available, watched the Dog Show, apparently the most popular dog name is “Oi”, and howled with laughter at the evening entertainment with drama from Mrs Deaf Boys, beautiful poems from Richard Carter that took your breath away and Improv comedy that made us proud to be CODAs and part of this vibrant and visually stimulating culture.

We had 12 children join us for the taster workshop we ran on Sunday afternoon. Nearly all of whom had never been to KODA workshop before and so were keen to see what the fuss was all about. After a few ice breaker games running around after a balloon and a game of strategy we had a short question and answer session which blew us away as they showed us how much they knew about Deafness and being a CODA. This made for a fruitful art and craft session where the children created pieces that represented their unique identity as Children of Deaf Adults. Particularly the Origami Fortune Teller that highlighted the issues CODAs might face but also the solutions that would make for happier healthier CODAs!

It was one of our most successful stalls since we began our Awareness Campaign, in June 2013, funded by Awards for All and it was a lovely way to round off the year. We went home with 30 new members and many Deaf parents from across the UK completed our KODA survey. It was an ideal opportunity to have a stall at this prestigious event as many campers had travelled from far and wide to be there and so enabled us to provide our suppport nationally and in the years to come internationally as we host the 2015 CODA International Conference CODALAND.

The team from CODA UK and Ireland in attendance were very busy chatting to everyone who came to visit our stall but they still managed to find a little time to have a space hopper race! Think they still need some practice in time for KODA Camp at the end of the month!

Article by Marie Dimond

posted in Community / Deaf Life

8th August 2014