A month in “Lelecoland” passed quickly and happily. The summer camp was organized for child beneficiaries by Charitable Foundation Caritas Poltava with the financial support of the European Union and assistance of International Alert. Ninety children, Caritas wards from Kharkiv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv, Kramatorsk, Mariupol, Kyiv and Poltava, attended the summer camp.
The camp is unique by unifying children from the east, center and west as a place of integration of child thoughts, opinions, emotions and vision of the world. Moreover, the project showed us that all children are the same with common problems and needs. They want to be happy and enjoy their life.
“The time we spent in the camp was absolutely awesome. Every day was special and exciting. Many thanks to Caritas for organizing such holidays for us! We will always remember and look forward to new camps!” Bohdan shared his impressions of the holidays. “LelEcoLand is a marvelous camp where I had a wonderful time. I found a lot of new friends there and got the chance to take part in different competitions, which were held every day. The spectacular nature and clean air of a pine forest gave a real zest to the stay in the camp”, Anastasia said.
During each shift, children were offered hippotherapy trainings, which included not only horse riding, but also direct communication with horses and care about them. Such practice helps to destress, relieve tension, fear and anxiety and develop such personal traits as attentiveness, tenderness, response rate, become more confident and get rid of aggression, excitability and aloofness. Cartoon therapy sessions were also held for children. This is a special kind of art therapy giving a kid the possibility to speak out and be heard. Children created their own performances, learnt to develop their acting skills, public speaking and creativity.
Sessions of art, music and physical therapy, creative workshops and pottery classes were an integral part of a camp life. Special attention was paid to improvement of child health and fitness. Every day waited the children with acting lessons, songs and hiking, such competitions as “The world and I”, “Suit from materials at hand”, “Emblem of my city”, “Ukrainian wreath”, relays races, football matches, basketball and volleyball games, the “Life music” evening, the release of “Times of Caritas” program, forfeits with different tasks, drawing competitions, sand sculptures, music therapy, search of treasures and a great variety of interesting tasks to develop children’s creativity.
During the shift, kids were eager to get acquainted with Poltava region and enjoyed the ethnographic excursion “Along the paths of my native land”. The particular feature of the camp was family warmth of communication, warm-heartedness of staff relationships and happy memories of the time spent in the camp, because “LelEcoLand is the place which lends the wings to the children. This is a platform for the active youth”.
Bonfire and guitar songs marked a memorable ending of the camp life. Children could not find words to thank for the wonderful summer holiday. Everybody was touched how camp shifts passed so fast and made a wish to meet their friends in LelEcoLand next year.
“Children spent every day in the camp not just in accordance with the schedule, but first of all they developed. They found new friends, learnt to be friends and build relationships by overcoming conflicts and misunderstandings. The whole process was organized in a way to give every child the possibility to show their talents, discover new interests and hobbies”, Viktoria Syvak, art therapist of the camp, says.
“Search of new ways and working practices was extremely important due to a big number of participants, who were children of IDPs and kids in difficulties. That is why one of the objectives of the camp was to develop and spread a new form of child rehabilitation and socialization by including into camp activities different forms of therapies: art therapy, cartoon therapy, hippotherapy, eurythmy, etc. These methods help children to discover their true selves, not be afraid of showing their emotions and vision of the world, feel wanted and be heard by others”, camp psychologist Kateryna Shevchenko says.
“I am very happy we have managed to bring happiness to kids’ daily routine and sparkle kindness, tenderness and mercy in their hearts. I hope we will be able to arrange in the future something interesting for children who need our attention and care. Children are our future. We need to make every effort to bring them up healthy, strong, talented and happy”, Director of Caritas Poltava Father Volodymyr Rakovetskyi summed up.