At the end of June, I helped at an ecology camp for my organization. We took about twenty-five youth ages 17-22 (we were hoping to get fifty) up to a camp about 60km north of the city. Our plan was to do some hiking, trainings on ecology, ecology competitions, and ecology KVN. That didn’t really turn out so well.
First, we had a projector, but no computer. Oops. Second, we didn’t really have a training space. We had a porch to one of the cabins we were staying in. Third, we had half the youth, so we didn’t have to split the program into two groups. Fourth, some of the youth seemed to not fit the original criteria. Eventually, we fixed things. We got a projector. We moved tables to the porch (after scoring the whole camp for ones that weren’t claimed by the campers). And we just cut the groupings.
From my American point of view, we did about twelve hours of training over three days. I guess that’s not that little, but it seemed like we had a lot of one hour breaks and a lot of pool time. I didn’t really see us learning too much about ecology and there was definitely not a running theme of ecology through out our days. In short, I was disappointed with the training aspects.
Other aspects were good though. We had a “discoteque” every night, meaning a dance. The camp puts one on for the kids, and we were able to attend. We competed against the counselors in KVN and tied. (I got to be Barak Obama during one of the skits arm wrestling my friend Aidos acting as Nursultan Nazerbaev.) We did go on a sweet hiking trek for three hours. And we got to lay outside one night and stare at the stars here (absolutely gorgeous and saw at least five shooting stars!) We played in the pool. There were apple trees everywhere to just pick fruit from and eat. And the camp was a truly scenic place, full of trees and a small river at the foothills of some mountains. I had a good time, but I wished the training aspects of it had been better.