During July and August 2016 volunteers from Orphans’ Future organized two summer camp programs for seventy-eight children from orphanages of Ternopil region. The first camp, "Kindness and Mercy", was conducted from July 25th to August 5th in Yabluniv, Husyatyn area for fifty children from the Berezhany, Hrymayliv and Zalischyky orphanage boarding schools, with activities organized by volunteers from the Netherlands (WALO). Another camp called, “Success”, was held in Berezhany for twenty-seven children from the orphanages of Nove Selo and Berezhany from August 15th to 20th by volunteers of Orphans’ Future, Irina Vakalyuk Yuri Koshil, Ivan Abramets and Andriy Nazarenko. The Camp "Success" was conducted with financial support from the Global Fund for Children.
During the ten days of the camp "Kindness and Mercy" children had fun with new foreign friends from the Netherlands and Australia. Our Dutch friends from the charity organization WALO, which was set up specifically to help underprivileged children in Ukraine, again organized an exciting summer camp experience for the children. As in previous years the great variety of activities at the WALO camp put smiles on the faces of many children. There were engaging crafts where children learnt to make their own masks and bracelets which they proudly wore for the rest of the camp. Every day, volunteers from the Netherlands taught new games to encourage children to adopt an active and healthy lifestyle with a wide range of sporting challenges including volleyball, soccer, badminton, tug-of-war and obstacle course relays. Best of all was the excitement and energy of water games at the lake, with inflatable and a soap slide, followed by ice creams on the way back to camp. In the evenings the activities did not stop with a game of Bingo in which every kid got a prize, a disco night with costumes and glow lights and some memorable evenings were spent toasting marshmallows at a campfire.
In addition to games and competitions, children were treated with delicious sweets from the Netherlands, and the children's mealtimes were enriched by the new experience of imported peanut butter, jam, choc hazelnut spread and chili sauce as well as milk provided by the WALO team from local producers.
By the end of the camp all the children had formed some lasting memories of a wonderful summer holiday spent with the volunteers from WALO. They had also received several gifts of toys, sports equipment and t-shirts on which they could write their names. But in a camp that was well-named "Kindness and Mercy", by their care and attention to the children, their new Dutch friends gave each child the best gift of all - to know that each one is special and loveable. Thank you WALO.
The camp "Success" lasted for five days and volunteers of Orphans’ Future created a positive atmosphere for the children at Berezhany. Organized recreational activities resulted in a very exciting time for the children who thoroughly enjoyed testing themselves in the challenging and fun competitions provided as well being able to display their considerable ability in creative artwork and their talents as performers of song and dance.
Each day's activities were focused around a different theme;
1. Day of Colored Inks involved fun games with water using water guns and a water ball;
2. Day of Sports with physical challenges using balls, jump ropes, frisbee;
3. Day of Tourism and Ecology provided a competition with tourist tents where everyone had the opportunity to feel like a tourist (backpacker) and independently put up a tent. As tourists mindful of ecology, they learnt to collect and sort garbage and identify recyclables at the camp ground.
4. Day of Art and Creativity in which the children showed their abilities to create their own artworks. Their creative ideas and imagination were put to work with poster presentation teams creating artworks on the themes of "My Summer", "My Dream", and a poster competition for "Save the Environment".
5. Day of Talent gave the children the opportunity to put on display their many and varied talents in the area of the performing arts. They were able to tell poems, sing songs and perform dances with great style and enthusiasm. Each performance was accompanied by thunderous applause, giving the performers the encouragement and recognition they deserve.
In addition to each day's theme activities, every morning at the camp "Success", Irina Vakalyuk and Andriy Nazarenko conducted classes in English and after five days, children learned from 20 to 30 basic words.
Every evening, children sang and enjoyed a karaoke with disco dancing
An added incentive for active participation at the camp were so-called "Ertelyky", which are like mini merit award coupons, with the logo of the Orphans' Future Foundation. Each child earned "Ertelyky" for participating in the various activities of the camp and which later were exchanged for different prizes.
At the end of the camp program all children were awarded with souvenirs and sweet prizes, and the most active children received medals and T-shirts from the foundation.
The summer camps of 2016 brought positive emotions and created many wonderful memories to orphans and children deprived of parental care. The children look forward to lots of fun and excitement again at next year's summer camps as well as, most importantly, the care and attention from the volunteers which assures them that they are loveable and capable, talented and important in themselves.
Thank you again to the volunteers from WALO charity group (The Netherlands) and to our own Orphans’ Future volunteers (former orphanage graduates) for your heart to make a positive difference to the lives of orphans in Ukraine.