“111 children, 37 group leaders, 12 sunny days and countless positive emotions” summarizes this year’s charitable summer camp of the Ukrainian Youth Association (CYM) held in Chernihiv, Ukraine.
This, the fourth such charitable camp in as many years was organized by CYM members for those children affected by the on-going war in Eastern Ukraine. Since 2014, over 350 displaced children, as well as children of parents defending Ukraine, have had the opportunity for a break from the effects of the war, to heal, learn about their country’s history and enjoy its culture, and to just be children.
CYM Global is credited with this initiative which was made possible with the financial support of the National Executives of CYM, the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Ukraine, and by generous donors’ contributions made online via biggggidea.com crowd-funding.
For two weeks, the sons and daughters of Ukraine’s warriors, children of displaced families, as well as those living near the battle lines, became one big family. Together they shared their warm smiles and kind hearts in support of each other and felt reassured that, despite painful memories of the war, everything would be alright.
The fact that these children came from various parts of Ukraine, confirms that Ukraine is one country for them all.
The educators and group leaders of CYM prepared a really interesting and full program for the campers, using every precious moment.
For physical conditioning – there were morning exercises, team sports, camp games and dragon boating on the Desna River.
For intellectual development – a variety of topics was presented such as the work of city councils and administrative courts. The children role played and learned skills of discussion and debate of their ideas during a simulation game and mock election called “Time to choose”.
Igor Zabolotnyy, director and artist of online and offline presentations, shared the secrets of creating a pictorial video or “art-scribing” and explained how simple pictures help to improve the perception of information by 89%.
Journalist, media expert, former editor of the history section of Ukrainian Week magazine, Roman Kabachiy, shared an interesting presentation on journalism and the coverage of both history and current day news in the media.
The media-literacy classes were reinforced by visiting the Chernihiv branch of the National Public Broadcasting Company, UA: Chernihiv. It was interesting for the children to feel the atmosphere in which the newscasters work, to visit real footage sites and to find out how television and radio broadcasts are produced.
On visiting Chernihiv City, the campers became acquainted with the work of various civic government bodies, and had an opportunity to meet with the deputy mayor of Chernihiv City, Oleksandr Lomak, who took them inside City Hall. He encouraged them to believe in themselves, to make changes not only in their own lives, but also in their city and country. The mayor of Koryukivka, Ratan Akhmedov, also spoke with the same appeal to the children.
Interesting practical and master classes were provided by real masters of their work.
Among them was Nataliya Bushay from the Chernihiv Paper Company, who showed the children how to make paper from cattails, and Alexander Vydra taught the basics of pottery and how to make clay products.
Special guests of the camp were the volunteer-trainers of “Hero’s Companion” and the specially trained canine-therapy dogs that help our warriors deal with Post-Traumatic Syndrome Disorder (PTSD).
It was so heart-warming to see the love the young campers had for these dogs! Their eyes just lit up and so much emotion emanated from their smiles! As the children hugged their canine friends, they too forgot their own daily worries, their losses and their pain. Their brave little hearts found some reprieve, at least for a while.
Talking. The children talked a lot – among themselves, with older friends, educators, instructors, seminarians, guests and journalists.
This helped them to find answers to their questions, to better understand the world in which they live and their place in it. It truly helped them feel that they are the architects of their future, which they deserve to create together!
As a souvenir of the time spent together, the children have great memories of new friends, shared pictures, visits from the International Charity “Samaritan’s Purse” and the creative workshop “Koza-Dereza”.
The farewell campfire was the conclusion of two weeks that were very well spent. No sooner did the 4th annual charity camp by CYM end, when talk and preparation for 2019 began! After all, both children and adults promised to meet again.
In addition, each camp, like every important event, changes its participants. Sometimes these changes are undetected by that person. But a keen eye of a mother with an aching heart can recognize it as soon as the children step over the threshold of their home.
“Thank you to everyone who worked with the children! I did not doubt that my child would like it, but he won’t take off the camp t-shirt for a second day!!! We just took all our friends to an open area to launch a rocket from vinegar and soda))) Our children are smarter than us, our children are better than us! Thank you! ” – This response was left on Facebook.
Oksana, the mother of sons Ilya and Anton, expressed gratitude for the positive emotions, knowledge and good impressions that the organizers of the CYM Non-profit Camp impressed upon her children: “I express the words of great gratitude to the organizers, sponsors, educators, administrators and everyone else who was not indifferent, and provided a wonderful rest for my sons!!! They have attended this camp from the very beginning! According to their words, Camp “Architects of the Future”- is the brightest, the best!!! This experience will forever stay with them!!! We hope there will be such a camp again next year!!!».
To find out more about this year’s camp, view the attached video ”How everything was”: