On February 19-25, 2023, another integration sports camp took place. This time they went to Zakopane – “the winter capital of Poland” in a joint programme of YMCA and the MONSTERS sport club.
Obviously, the camp implemented a sports plan, but the items on learning about the culture of Poland and Ukraine, learning languages, as well as supplementary sports and games played a significant role in the program. The Polish-Ukrainian composition of participants, candidates for leaders, staff and volunteers made the event integrative in a natural way.
This winter camp was another element of the implementation of the integration program of the YMCA Europe Mission in Poland. 18 participants (11 Ukrainian children) from Warsaw and four adult guardians, including a Ukrainian volunteer (the mother of one of the participants who need special care) spent the last week of winter holidays together in the Polish Tatra Mountains. The time was spent on useful, healthy but exciting activities.
The program included skiing, games on the snow, a cable car ride to Kasprowy Wierch (a prominent summit in the Polish Tatra), a trip to Morskie Oko (mountain lake), learning English, interesting presentations, and competitions with prizes.
All that was accompanied by the spirit of integration and care for mental health, however, these two aspects were not expressed by words – they were just happening. The methodology of working with children developed in the MONSTERS club once again proved its effectiveness. Also, it looks that this approach is in tune with the values adopted by the YMCA.
On February 24, the anniversary of the aggression against Ukraine, the camp was visited by the Secretary General of YMCA Europe, Juan Iglesias. It was an on-line visit, but it made an impression on the participants.
The children had learned quite a lot about the YMCA beforehand, they had also made small projects (videos) with greetings to YMCA, and a quick response from Mr Juan was found to be a very nice touch.
A very nice and symbolic impression was the gift of YMCA Setubal: wristbands. That was another sign of being a part of a bigger plan.