Fabulous news from YMCA Mission in Poland, as twenty-one Polish and Ukrainian children participating in a joint sports program of the Monsters Club and YMCA Europe Mission in Poland left the hustle and bustle of big city life and went to Olsztyn (220 km to the North of Warsaw) between 10 and 16th of July, 2023.
Here, surrounded by lakes and forests, the kids found great conditions to strengthen their physical and mental health and develop sports skills.
They also could develop specific social skills, needed when being part of a team that is diverse in terms of nationality and language. The program of the camp reflected the motto of the YMCA: body-mind-spirit (which means the harmonious development of a human being).
They were familiar with the YMCA methodology as all of them participate in the integration Polish-Ukrainian program that has been run in Warszawa by the YMCA Europe Mission, and for most of them that was not the first camp organized by YMCA and their partners in Poland.
The camp’s itinerary was incredibly diverse and engaging, offering a wide array of activities. Apart from the regular sports and recreational pursuits, the program encompassed a visit to the University Equestrian Centre for bonfires and horseback riding, an enlightening encounter with masters of Chinese martial arts, a captivating guided tour through Olsztyn’s historic district, retracing the footsteps of Nicolaus Copernicus.
Additionally, there was an enjoyable coach trip to the open-air museum in Olsztynek, “English Everyday” sessions featuring entertaining games and competitions in English, cinema outings, thematic presentations, and a plethora of other enticing attractions. Participants were treated to a truly enriching and memorable experience throughout the camp.
The entire event unfolded in a warm and welcoming atmosphere, with joy and positivity prevailing throughout each day, as evident from the wonderful photographs.
A team of dedicated professionals, which even included a child psychotherapist, spared no effort in ensuring that every child experienced a sense of ease and belonging. The main focus of the camp program was to empower and ensure that every child felt at ease, as they were upskilling, diversifying their knowledge, and practicing various sporting programs with a dedicated team of camp leads.
This camp was of significant importance for rebuilding the YMCA movement in Poland.
In May 2023, another event was organised with polish – ukrainian beneficiaries in Lipno.
This time the members of the Czarny Orzeł Club have paid a return visit. The Polish-Ukrainian team counted 11 people and participated in the training on YMCA methodology in action – it looked like they enjoyed it and were interested in further cooperation. It was another step towards developing common standards for organizing sports camps for children and youth.
YMCA Europe Mission in Poland has been implementing the Polish-Ukrainian integration program in partnership with the Warsaw-based sports club for children, Monsters.
The program, which began a year ago with a pilot project called “Polish-Ukrainian City Camp (Sport & Culture),” has been successfully providing integration after-school and camp programs for Polish and Ukrainian children and their families.
The camp is a part of YMCA Camp Europe initiative within Roots for Peace framework.