„YMCA Europe is a working fellowship to strengthen movements where people grow in body, mind and spirit.“


23rd April 2018

This is the second year when leaders of YMCAs Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova are initiating an area Camp Conference and organize it through support of YMCA USA and YMCA Europe.

This is an event aimed at motivating and educating young leaders in the sphere of camp program through sharing experience, obtaining new knowledge and skills, thinking about the program development. This is one of the events working for movements strengthening in the area of so called "Eastern Platform" of YMCA Europe.

The 2nd Camp Conference of YMCA Europe Eastern Platform happened 29 March - 01 April 2018 near Minsk. It united 49 participants. This year it was a privilege to have as a key note speaker a director from Frost Valley YMCA Morgan Theze. He shared his experience in the spheres of "Camp Culture", "Character Development", "Camp Counsellors recruiting and education". The participants voiced that Morgan managed to cover not only the most significant things, but also to highlight some brilliant ideas within these themes. Thus, many were inspired by the systems of "head check" and "heart check" when recruiting right people for a camp.

The Conference was organized in the forms of common plenaries and parallel workshops, seminars, trainings, discussions. These are some of the topics which were in the program: family camps, camps of personal development, active camps, how to create a role playing game in a camp, how to run teambuilding in a camp, camp traditions, psychology of childhood, first aid, conflict resolution, TenSing in a camp, presenting existing camp venues, preparation of camp counsellors, group dynamics, etc. The evening programs were devoted to communication between the participants through "Human Library" and intellectual game "What? Where? When?".

The Steering Committee of the Conference consisting of Tina Larionova (YMCA Russia President), Tatiana Kotneva (YMCA Ukraine Program Secretary), Evgenya Pochepko (YMCA Belarus Board member) and Olga Lukina (YMCA Europe Regional Assistant for movement strengthening and project management) initiated creating a memorandum from the participants of the Conference voicing appreciation and importance of the opportunity to unite youth of "Eastern Platform" countries through different conferences, forums, seminars and other events devoted to strengthening of the movements in different spheres. At the same time the participants agreed that it is very valuable to find representatives so to join the Camp Group of YMCA Europe. The Conference consisting of 49 people voted unanimously for this document and supported the idea to run the next local Camp Forum next year.

The evaluation papers say that the event was of high importance for the participants and their YMCAs. Leaders of "Eastern Platform" of YMCA Europe are thankful to YMCA Europe and YMCA USA for the opportunity to provide education for big number of youth at a peaceful space where they can communicate in common language. This is a precious moment at a current fragile world.

Author/Source: Olga Lukina