Summer with Caritas


Every summer, Caritas centers pay considerable attention to recreation of their youngest wards as it is a perfect opportunity to improve health, acquire new skills and knowledge, meet peers and simply get away from daily routine.

Caritas Kyiv wards enjoyed a diversified holiday. More than 180 kids from families of IDPs, ATO participants and crisis families spent 2-3 weeks in summer camps.

55 young adventurers received a unique opportunity to rest in “Edelweiss” camp near Yaremche. An exciting programme waited for kids every day: games, quests, entertainment and dancing. Organizers also took care of organic and healthy food and also did forget that holidays in the mountains first of all mean hiking along numerous tourist trails. August 18, 2017 will linger in everybody’s mind for a long time. Children walked a twenty-kilometre route and conquered the highest peak of Ukraine, Hoverla. The programme also included ascending mountain Makovytsia, a walk along Dovbush rocks and interesting stories about his treasures and journeys. No wonder that young travellers told about their adventures and new friends with great excitement, and did not want to go back home.

This summer will also stay in mind of 24 Caritas Kyiv wards for a long time. Thanks to artist and activist Nataliia Anderson, kids received an opportunity to spend two weeks in a camp in Sweden. During 29 years, Nataliia has been inviting kids of different social categories from Ukraine, Belarussia and Poland to her family mansion. The programme was rather busy: energetic outdoor games, quests, creative master classes, walks to the forest and lakes, excursions to theme and water parks, and marvellous sea trips along Stockholm canal and a cruise to Finland coast. During the holiday, children discovered new creative skills and enjoyed Scandinavian fantastic nature. Everybody returned home with unforgettable impressions and new friends.

Carpathian holidays for teenagers, organized by Caritas Volyn, were absolutely fantastic. This time, a Christian summer camp was arranged in Yablunytsia village – an ecological heart of Ukraine. Due to project “National network of centers for children and youth” 28 kids enjoyed memorable and exciting holidays with busy programme and spiritual sessions. During camp shifts, children were involved in interesting classes, got the possibility to find out more about themselves and their friends, took part in quests which helped shape a team spirit and visited romantic evenings with friendly songs. Children also went on amazing excursions to Yaremche (a farm and Probiy waterfall), Bukovel (ascending the mountain and swimming in the Lake of Youth), geographical center of Ukraine and to a valley where kids tasted cheese and participated in master classes of playing different Hutsul instruments. Conquering Hoverla, the highest peak of Ukraine, was the main event of the camp. Ascending was far from easy, but everybody helped each other. After reaching the top, all understood that the view was worth all their efforts. “Thanks to this camp we found new friends and charges with new impressions and positive emotions, made our dreams come true and found a spiritual side of our life”, one of the participants mentioned.

More than 40 Caritas Volyn wards took part in a Christian summer camp “Forest fairy tale” at Svitiaz Lake, where they entertained and spiritually enriched themselves. Camp participants were children from families in difficulties and children of parents who died in ATO. Trainings, master classes, Ukrainian song competitions, miss “Snow White”, kozak contests, quests, watching films and swimming in the lake helped the participants have an active rest, develop spiritually, discover talents, find new friends, improve their health and get positive emotions.

Caritas Lviv wards went to another resort zone of Ukraine – the sea. They stayed in a camp, which received a name reflecting dreams of all its participants “Desired sea”. The stay was accompanied by all traditional features of summer holidays – amusing quests, concerts and just sea. Teachers and childminders did not forget about child development. A takeover day turned into a fascination initiative. Children and camp staff swapped their roles and responsibilities. Minders became “naughty and unsatisfied teenagers”, and teenagers turned into “responsible adults”. The experience was rather useful and gave the possibility to look at oneself from the outside. “It is difficult to be an adult. It is impossible to work with children”, “I realized I was not ready to take responsibility and be a grownup. It requires a lot of responsibility, and it is scary”, “Thanks for showing us how unbearable we can be”, children admit.

Traditionally, Caritas Ivano-Frankivsk gives its wards the possibility to improve their health and rest in a summer camp. This year, 88 children and 12 parents together with Caritas staff spent their holiday among picturesque mountains in Zarichchia village of Nadvirna district. All camp shifts were developed for children from different target groups: kids from poor and large families or families in crisis, from families of IDPs and ATO participants, children deprived of parental care, kids and youth with mental backwardness. The first shift welcomed wards of the Recreation and Social Rehabilitation Center. 26 children with disabilities and 7 parent played sport games, drew on the asphalt, made models and shapes from play dough, created postcards, discussed friendship and human values at trainings, walked extensively outdoors. Afterwards, children in difficulties took part in the relay of energetic and useful holidays. Intellectual competition “Club of the cheerful and sharp-witted”, entertainment program “Precarpathian flower and Carpathian young man”, theatrical competition, evening of talents, station game “Fantastic express” and many other creative activities waited for children. A master class of cooking verenyky became a wonderful surprise for camp participants. Prepared by the children, they tasted even more delicious. An excursion to Vekhovyna left unforgettable impressions, as mountains, covered with folk tales, legends and myths, immediately put their spell on you. An astonishing surprise was the Museum of Hutsul magic with its collections of various attributes of Carpathian healers and magicians. “First days were difficult as I was homesick. But then we quickly became friends and I understood that this camp will rest in my memories for a long time”, one of the participants shares her impressions. “My son is full of positive emotions and memories. I missed him a lot and it was difficult without his help at home. Nevertheless, I am so happy he had a rest. I am extremely thankful to Caritas for improving our children’s health”, mother of one of the wards says. The third shift was for backward children and kids with musculoskeletal disorders from Ivano-Frankivsk region. 23 children and four parents enjoyed the holiday, which was mainly aimed at communication, unification and active participation in joint events, because as it turned out, the majority of young people had never been to a camp. That is why, time spent outside their home and teamwork were something absolutely new for them. Children took part in master classes, played among beautiful nature, played football and even took part in a fashion show!

On August 16-26, 2017 a Christian summer camp “Whish for the great” for kids of Donetsk eparchy took place in Yaremche. 50 wards from Donetsk region, Kamianske, Dnipro, Zaporizhzhia and internally displaced children from different cities and villages of Ukraine got the possibility to have a nice physical and spiritual rest in the spectacular Carpathians. Camp “Whish for the great” was organized and held by Caritas Kamianske staff with the support of the Coordination Council on the issues of pastoral service in critical situations of the UGGC. During ten days, children familiarized themselves with Christian values. Except for educative meetings, participants of the camp visited various excursions and walked in the mountains. Children also conquered Hoverla as a part of learning how to overcome life summits. This camp for kids from occupied and front-line territories of Donbas and internally displaced kids was not just rest and recreation, it became a sort of rehabilitation from the war they had come through. Children left the camp with appreciation, tears of happiness from the positive experience and sadness as they had to say good bye, desire and hope to come back here one more time.

When it was not possible to organize a camp outside a city, Caritas centers were running summer camps. One of such camps was a shift of a Christian kid city day camp under the project of Children social center at Caritas Kolomyia. 50 participants spent their holiday here. A day in a camp started with dancing classes, followed by a prayer, games and master classes. During two weeks, visitors were able to get acquainted with Chernivtsi architecture, visited Voskresenetska mountain, Honey valley and the Prut river.

At the same time in a Carpathian village Dora, Caritas of Kolomyia-Chernivtsi eparchy held annual “Holidays with God”. A busy programme, developed by careful animators, created an unforgettable spirit in the camp. It included “A secret angel” initiative where children tried their best to show their attention and take care of a person, whose name they read on a card, which they had randomly picked up and “Dora’s post” – a small colourful postbox was installed at the door of each room, where children could put sweets, fruit, notes, their confessions, compliments and in such way show each other love and care. Every morning was started with morning dancing exercises followed by a prayer. Useful training sessions were also included into the programme. This year, animators did their best to organize various parties, in particular jazz and Ukrainian, and even Oscar party with a couples walking along a red carpet. All preparation were done in a friendly atmosphere, various details and elements were made during master claases to follow the dress code.

Moreover, children from Stryi, wards of the National network of centers for children and families, got the possibility to visit a recreation camp near the Black sea in Zatoka. As children say, it helped them to successfully get ready to school routine and plan next summer holidays!

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