Every week from June to August, around 300 kids and 100 young leaders do activities outside.
YWCA-YMCA Alnäs in Uppsala have empowered young people for a very long time. Not even the Covid-19 pandemic during summer 2020 and 2021 could stop them from doing what they do best: empower young people. This year is not different.
Every summer, YWCA-YMCA Alnäs change and adapt their activities to the needs of the children of the local community. And this year, the horrible ongoing war in Ukraine made them adapt the activities not only to the children in the local community, but also to the children of the world.
Thanks to the collaboration with Uppsala Municipality, grands from different foundations and donations from private individuals, YWCA-YMCA Alnäs had the opportunity to give three children a free week at our summer camp.
To make sure the children had a good week where they could feel safe, YMCA made sure to have a young leader with Ukrainian mother tongue. The young leader, Iryna Tsiukalo usually work as a volunteer at Refugee Support Uppsala, helping people from Ukraine being in the same situation as herself.
After one week being participants on the Parkour Camp, the organisers asked the children what they liked the most with being at Alnäs.
One of the boys liked the food the most. The girl told me that she liked “the swimming, the parkour and jumping the trampoline”. “I want to start this activity after the camp”. Her brother agreed with her but said that he liked to swim the most.
When they were asked if they had a good week, they all said yes. “We liked being here and want to come again sometime”.
Irina enjoyed being a leader at KFUM Alnäs. She came to Uppsala earlier this year together with her mother, leaving her dad and all her friends back in her hometown in West of Ukraine.
“I have never tried parkour and it was really fun to be here, meet people and learn something new” Irina said. She also told me that she thinks it has been important and good for the children to be here. “They have so much energy from what they have experienced and when they are here, they can direct that energy on the activity. I could really see that they liked being here”.
Before we said goodbye, the organisers asked Irina if there was anything she wanted to say to the world about the situation in Ukraine. She sat quiet for a long time. Then she wrote in Ukrainian on her phone that translated it to English:
“I just want people to always be kind to each other. To help. This situation showed that people can make some contribution and support one another”.
On behalf of KFUM Uppsala and KFUM Alnäs, we would like to thank all people that made this week possible for these children and Irina. Thanks to Irina and Refugee Support Uppsala for helping us finding a young Ukrainian leader. Thanks to all the stakeholders, donors, and financial supporters to YWCA-YMCA Sweden.
By having the possibility to offer free participation for children who needs it the most can really make a difference – for the child, for the community and in the world.