This and many other memoirs remind of the summer camps organized by the Latvian Children’s Fund, where ten, adventurous days are spent by children with special needs, children from foster families, children who have suffered violence and children from socially disadvantaged families. In order for children to have the opportunity to experience unforgettable and inspiring moments this year as well, the people of the Latvian Children’s Fund are already working, despite the fact that the near future of all of us is currently in uncertainty.
The Latvian Children’s Fund has been organizing summer camps since 1992. Last year, in 2019, thanks to donors and supporters, 23 summer camps were organized, where 600 children from all over Latvia could relax without a participation fee.
In order to organize and run the camps, their leaders start thinking about the next year almost immediately after the end of the already organized camp. Working in the camp is the heart of all leaders, educators, caregivers, doctors and class leaders.
“The camp cannot take place for a couple of weeks or a month. In a month, maybe you can, but then it will be a “tick” … These camps are different in that the agenda should be planned so that there should be no time when there is nothing to do. Children with special needs are not able to fill their free moments on their own, so more or less, but there must be some activities, ”says one of the camp leaders Gunita Meiere.
Gunita is a project manager and teacher of history and geography at Kuldīga Technology and Tourism Technical School, as well as a teacher at Ēdole Primary School, but she has been running summer camps organized by the Children’s Fund for 22 years. In order to be able to organize a camp in Liepāja by the sea again, where children feel very good, Gunita has already reserved a place for this year’s summer camp in January.
“Although I understand that life will never be the same for us before, I am not a big pessimist and I am convinced: the camp must be! That’s why I have all sorts of thoughts in my mind about what will and how.
The theme of this summer camp is still a mystery, but the names of the previous camps show that all ten days of the camp are full of amazing events. The usual agenda of children’s camps: morning activities, meals, workshops, daily activities, etc., are “dressed” in a unifying theme: “Dragon Flight”, “Wonders of August”, “Island of Treasure”, “Ship of Miracles”, “Secrets of the Insect World” etc.
The idea of the topic is often told in front of the camp site. Last year, the camp led by Gunita took place in the recreation complex in Bernāti.
“There is a very beautiful ancient pine forest by the sea. That’s why we chose the theme of the camp “Dune Pine Story” – a legend that we could then “play” in different ways. Thematically, all our lives and activities took place around this one chosen pine. In the morning, the children were left with letters from the dune pine. The letter stated what today’s task was. We draw, glue and create works from various pine materials. We went on excursions, the destination of which was also set by the pine. We drove, researched, found out. At the end of the camp we showed the parents a whole performance. We were “inhabited” by pines from all sides. “