Summer camps for Caritas wards

Summer camps for Caritas wards

Summer is traditionally the time for rest, recreation, new impressions and friends. Every year, Caritas with the help of benefactors tries to organize camps for its young wards. These camps might offer different theme activities, but all of them are aimed at supporting children and young people in difficult situations. Qualified psychologists help the wards overcome communication problems between peers and manage various challenges. The type of camp is not important. It might be a long journey to the mountains or sea, hiking and camping or just a city summer camp. Children are always eager to share their impressions about the activities, which are carried out to make the holiday purposeful, useful and vibrant.

The wards of Caritas Kyiv had a rest and improved their health in the Carpathians. Just now, the third group is conquering the summits of the Carpathians. Upon returning home, all children admit a unique spirit of friendship and unity in the camp. Every day was packed with exciting adventures, trips to mountains, various contest and competitions in which children could show their creativity. The camp was even visited by volunteers from the USA who taught the kids English.

Over the last years, Caritas has become more geographically diversified in Ukraine by opening new centers in the east.  Moreover, a new category of wards has arisen. These are internally displaced children who require a special approach, psychological and integration assistance. That is why the camps have an integration component for children from different parts of the country to meet each other, learn more about cultural diversity and customs and find friends from other cities. Caritas Poltava with the support of the European Union and International Alert has organized “LelEcoLand”, a therapeutic recreation camp, which has become one of such camps.

The wards of Caritas Poltava, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Mariupol and Kramatorsk were able to have a rest during a ten-day shift, become friends, improve their health and enjoy excursions. Thus, the wards, visited the pottery capital Opishnia, enjoyed horse riding, tried their best to create cartoons and journalistic reports and spent each day wisely and meaningfully. As the camp was focused on children in difficult situations, the participants not only improved their health, but also underwent a psychological rehabilitation program based on leading therapeutic practices.

Unforgettable! This is how 30 children from Caritas Odesa Center for children and families characterize a 12-day holiday in Iltsi village in Ivano-Frankivsk region. During this period, they got the perfect possibility to improve their health and get acquainted with the unique Carpathian nature. For the majority of children it was the first trip to the region. The wards learnt more about Hutsulshchyna culture, visited the museum of Hutsulschyna in Verkhovyna, the National Museum of Hutsulshchyna and Pokuttya folk art named after Y. Kobrynskyi in Kolomyia, the unique Roman Kumlyk’ Museum of Musical Instruments, where children not only excitedly listened to the story presented by a daughter of the famous musician’s, but also played various instruments, in particular the hammered dulcimer and the three-meter trembita.  In the “House-Grazhda” Museum in Kryvorivnia, where Serhiy Paradzhanov filmed his masterpiece “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors”, children were told about the main characters of the novel and interesting moments of the film process. The trip to the fair in Yaremche was rather exciting.  Except for purchased souvenirs, children were entranced with rapid streams and waterfalls of the Prut river. Trips to the mountains gave children unforgettable impressions and intense emotions. They enjoyed unsurpassed beauty of landscapes, fresh air and the excitement after a sixteen-kilometer walk along the tourist trail to the Painted stone and back. And of course, sport competitions, a badminton tournament, table tennis, artistic events (the psychology day, the English language day, the theatrical skills day, the day of humor, etc.) and riding made the holiday unforgettable and will keep kids smiling for a long time afterwards.

Caritas Volyn wards also spent an unforgettable holiday in the Christian camp “Forest Fairy Tale” for children aged 8-14 years old, located near the tract Hriada, not far from Shatsk. The camp was organized under the project “The National Network of Centers for Children and Families”. Psychologist and social teachers worked with kids, who also received a spiritual assistance. Such camp is a good tradition, which over six years of its existence has given the possibility to more than five hundred children to have a holiday amid the picturesque nature. This year, the recreation center hosted forty two children. The range of activities included various competitions, amusements, master classes, rest on the bank of the Svitiaz lake, spiritual and psychological care, theatrical performances and dancing sessions. During ten days, the camp team facilitated friendly communication to help the kids make new acquaintances and discover new life experiences.

The Caritas Sambir-Drohobych Eparchy organized an integration camp in the Dovhe-Hirske village for children of the anti-terroristic operation fighters, IDP’s families and kids in difficult situations from different towns and villages in Lviv region.  Every day was followed by exercising barefoot, games, competitions, combat hopak trainings, quest games, kozak games, walks to the waterfall, mountains, lakes, dancing sessions, football games, interpretation of fairy tales, etc. This list can be continued, and children’s impressions after visiting the camp can be combined in a single word ‘Owesome!’.

Talented, creative, funny and witty! Participants of Caritas Bordy “Carpathians 2017” camp do not stop to impress everybody with their various talents. The theatre-forum is one of such events. Children extremely enjoyed the theatre productions of Ukrainian fairy tales and pleased everybody with creativity, ingenuity, sense of humor and creative approach. All the participants had the great chance to rest and open the wonderful Zakarpattia, adorned with fabulous mountains and lakes.

Young wards of Caritas Kamianske spent 10 unforgettable days near the sea. There were competitions, there were tears of frustration and happiness from achievements.  Nevertheless, all kids became winners, got memorable impressions and a lot of presents. One of the most exciting events was the quest game called “Ukraine is we!” Children demonstrated a high level of knowledge about their homeland in different areas: language, geography, sport, theatre and art.

The Caritas team understands that a short holiday can have a long-lasting effect on children. On June 27-30, the staff of Caritas Ternopil project “Mobile work with youth” organized a summer tourist and recreational camp for its wards. 21 kids from poor and crisis families and families with many children got the possibility to have a holiday with their peers. The main goal of the camp was to create conditions, under which children could show their independence, will, solidarity, responsibility and the ability to work in a team. The camp took place in a picturesque village Doroshivtsi of Zalischytskyi district in Ternopil region, on a bank of the Dnister river.

‘This year, we have an adventurous camp. Adventures started just after the arrival. Children had to wade across the river to reach the island where they lived in tents. An additional challenge was prepared by the weather. One day it was raining cats and dogs, and only with the help of joint efforts of all the participants we managed to prevent loss of camp equipment in the river. Once again, this case proved kids that we are stronger together, and it is easier to get into trouble when you are alone’, teachers say. Although, the camp did not lasted long, during these four days teenagers experienced a huge range of planned and spontaneous moments, which revealed them their weakness and strengths. The project team with the long-term experience of working with children knows pretty well that children learn the best when they need to experience any event firsthand. ‘We tried to create conditions where whey would be able to watch from the sidelines, feel the consequences of their actions and get a deeper knowledge of themselves. They returned home with suitcases filled with impressions and knowledge. What they are going to do with it depends solely on them. One day, the teenagers were offered to imagine they had been stranded on the desert island. Children had to build a hut from materials on hand that would survive rain, prepare a place for the long burning fire, make a spoon and find food. After that, they had to present it in a small play. Children’s creativity had no boundaries, and conditions on the island only helped bring to life their ideas’, organizers admit.

But even when the foundation did not have enough financial or organizational means to provide the children with the rest outside the city, the wards were not left without special summer events. “The garden of talents” is a Christian city camp at the Caritas Kolomyia-Chernivtsi Eparchy, which has been operating for the second year running. This year’s theme is art and creativity. Organizers have prepared an interesting program that combines children’s favorite entertainment and education. Camp participants are children of different ages from four to ten years old. Teachers gave children an insight into masterpieces of the world art and provided them with the possibility to try their strengths in various areas: fine arts, sculpture, music, choreography, theatre, cooking, design and literature. The art lessons in English have become a real spice of the Christian summer camp. The lessons are delivered by Nomeda Ciurlionyte, a Lithuanian artist, who does her best for the children to learn a lot of new things, enlarge their knowledge about the world around them and become art experts. Camp organizers are sure that during the shift the kids will not only purposefully spend a part of their summer holidays, but also discover new talents.

The children city camp also operated at Caritas Khmelnytskyi. Its main goal was a cultural development of young wards. During about three weeks, children and teenagers from poor, crisis and IDP’s families and families with many children had a funny and wonderful time, took part in various events, visited excursions to interesting places of the city and region. The day of the trip along the route “Golden Horseshoe of the Lviv region” has undoubtedly become most memorable. The teenagers were carried into in the Medieval world to the epoch of castles and temples. The big number of camp activities was aimed at discovery of kids’ talents, which involved a visit to the Eureka research and entertainment center, participation in art master classes, where children made trinkets, bracelets, applications from torn paper and learnt a wood finishing. The Cognitive Science Museum revealed the kids unusual natural phenomena, the kingdom of puzzles and intellectual games. Moreover, the teenagers visited the Museum of the 19th missile brigade of the military unit, where they discovered secretes of the military service, learnt the history of the missile brigade and its heroes. The camp was organized with the help of good doers, funds were drawn by the Ukrainian Philanthropic Marketplace.

Summer has not crossed the Line yet. A lot of exciting adventures are still waiting for Caritas young wards!