“Sometimes, one-three talks by the fire are more efficient than scores of talks within walls of cabinets and social centers”


28.07.2014, Ternopil region
Recently, Caritas Ternopil organized a summer camp for 15 children, aged 12-18 years old, from large, low-income and crisis families. Tent camp was located near picturesque Dnister River in Gubyn Village of Ternopilska oblast.

Work with crisis teenagers and youth has been conducted in local Caritas for over 14 years. Specialists in social work pay considerable attention at organization of leisure and summer recreation: “For more than one year we have successfully implemented program “School of extreme survival” that combines leisure and educational program, and also socio-therapeutic camps. We think that this school is our special achievement – after years of experience we have ascertained that sometimes one-three talks by the fire are more open, efficient and effective than scores of talks within walls of cabinets and social centers.”

Objectives of school for problematic youth – to acquire skills of work in teams, survival and adaptation to difficult situations, correction and rehabilitation work, learning of history, geography, flora and fauna of native land, careful attitude towards nature and cultural heritage of own country.

Nataliya Kotsyuba, coordinator on assistance to children, youth and families, retells: “While compiling a camp program, we thoroughly analyzed work for the last years and brought to notice difficulties our children and youth faced more often. In particular, we emphasized respect to each other and people around. We also took into account age, gender and psychological peculiarities of our group. Each activity, task and even games had educational, entertaining and pedagogic elements. It is also a kind of tradition that children introduced their proposals on camp rules and also made up adequate punishments on breaking of these rules.”

While working in a team, children-clients of local Caritas learnt to establish relationships with each other. It wasn’t always easy, and there were often opposite characters, different family upbringing, distinct views on achievement of objectives, temperaments and ways of behavior. However, children and camp organizers mostly faced and put as objectives tolerant attitude towards thoughts of others and explanation of own position on a reasonable basis, responsibility for own doings and accomplishment of identified goals. It is said that there were also some conflict moments that drew a tent camp together, encouraged optimization of communication, finding out of special methods to improve psychological climate between event participants.

“Work with problematic families became a separate field of activity in our Caritas in 1999. It started with rendering of material assistance to children-orphans, kids from crisis large and low-income families by means of clothes, shoes, food products, and later this activity involved organization of their leisure in form of summer camps. Afterwards, there was a mobile work with children and youth directly on streets.

Nowadays, local Caritas takes care in general of 91 needful families and over 200 children and youth in high quality and complex manner. We provide medical, psychological, information and legal assistance and protection. Apart from securing of basic needs, great attention is focused at spiritual, creative and psycho-social development. We want to believe that these days in camp helped our clients to better understand themselves and also taught them to behave respectively with people who surround them. All these things are part of gradual and complex work for the benefit of crisis kids,” Natalya Kotsyuba finishes her story.

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