Harmony in Diversity: Recap of the Successful Polish-Ukrainian YMCA Winter Camp in Zakopane, Poland – January 13th to 19th, 2024.
Zakopane, often hailed as the winter capital of Poland, hosted a remarkable winter camp organized in collaboration with YMCA Europe and a key sports club for children in Poland. This marks the culmination of a two-year-long Polish-Ukrainian program under the umbrella of YMCA Europe Mission in Poland.
The camp, modeled after the best YMCA practices, drew inspiration from a century-old legacy of the organization in Poland.
With 16 enthusiastic participants from Poland and Ukraine and two certified staff, the event was a resounding success. A dedicated volunteer played a pivotal role in the preparations, maintaining constant communication from the remote headquarters in Olsztyn.
The week-long program was brimming with diverse and engaging activities. From ski training sessions and cultural excursions to language contests, English classes, aqua park adventures, and creative contests – every moment was filled with fun and learning.
The holistic approach included mental health strengthening sessions, self-defense and martial arts workouts, as well as entertaining movie nights.
The unique blend of Polish and Ukrainian participants fostered an inclusive environment, emphasizing that national differences are of secondary importance in building a diverse community. The camaraderie formed during the past two years is evident – the children from both nations genuinely enjoy each other’s company.
As this stage of YMCA Europe Mission in Poland, related to the war in Ukraine, concludes, there is an optimistic outlook for the future.
The aspiration is to continue and expand activities, not just limited to camping, within a revitalized Polish YMCA organization. Despite the challenges ahead, the positive experiences of the last two years serve as encouragement.
With the unwavering support of YMCA Europe and partners worldwide, the obstacles faced by YMCA in Poland will be overcome step by step.
The opportunity for the YMCA in Poland to be reestablished on a new foundation is promising. Let’s work together to turn this vision into reality!