Thursday, August 4, 2011

The youth camp “Everything is in your hands”...


... has concluded. The organisers are tired but very satisfied. We are happy about the programme, achievements and about the joy and enthusiasm of the young participants and their feedback about what they have gained at this camp.
We did our best to update our draugi.lv page with daily activities – but here is a summary of the events and how we all felt.
We think that the main reason everything went so well is because of the fantastic location – the sport and recreation centre “Atpūta pie Rāznas”. A big, big thank you to the manager Aleksandrs! We spent 6 days in an area with something for everyone to enjoy – the lake, forest, fresh air, sauna and much more. This youth camp would not have been as fantastic in any other location.
A total of 22 young people took part in this camp. Dainis was the youngest at 11 years of age and the eldest was our 26 year old “beading specialist” Baiba.
Each day was filled with many varied tasks, events, creative workshops, educational games and other work.
Unfortunately we didn’t get by without a disturbance, and two girls went home a day early. It is sad that for some their rebelliousness and impulsiveness were more important than anything else :)

But let’s talk about the daily events at the camp.
On the first day we were tired after a long journey: we travelled by train from Riga to Rezekne and were kindly met by a bus from the local village Kaunatas. We talked about the camp rules, got to know each other, made our own mugs and friendship bracelets.

The second day started quickly because Kristena, Elizabete and Svetlana (the girls from European Hit Radio) had arrived the night before and were ready to go. Everyone received their task, and were sorted into teams. Each team prepared a report about a variety of themes, and the best of these will be played during the radio program ‘Tostermaize’!!! We also discussed the importance of education, career opportunities and finding your place in life.
The second half of the day was just as busy with an orienteering exercise including a variety of questions based on history, literature and geography. Later we painted pots and made fragrant BB factory soaps :). At the end of the evening we were entertained with short plays about Little Red Riding Hood, and the Four Musicians of Bremene.

The third day was devoted to nature, geography and history. Sandra Ozols, the local biologist and gardening expert, took us on an excursion to the mountains - Mākoņkalns and Lielo Liepu kalns. On the way we saw different types of forest and plants, we measured large trees and discovered that you can predict rain by looking at fir trees. On returning to the campsite we planted flowers in our decorated pots. These can now be found on every participant’s window sill or in their garden. In the evening we had a quiz about the day’s events and the evening sauna was well deserved.

We visited the ceramic artist Aivars Ušpeļis on the 4th day. Where we moulded clay and learnt many new things about old Latvian traditions. Returning to the campsite we were met by Sanita from ‘Homo Ecos’, a Latvian environmental organisation. We talked about a tidy environment, what each of us needs to do so we can live in a ‘green’ country. Inspired by Homo Ecos we started to tidy our own territory. In the evening we played some games, and wrapped presents. These presents are for the ‘Saldus Sun’ charity market and can be purchased to support Emīlija. Little pets were created with care and love, and soaps and other small items were gift-wrapped – all for Emīlija.
In the late evening everyone was surprised by the arrival of a horse and the opportunity to ride it.
And then, when they were already asleep, everyone was woken to participate in a night activity - a mini orienteering game with a few tasks, the most important was to write a transcript of a J. Poruks poem. All teams completed the tasks well, especially the girls’ team who were alert and completed their tasks very quickly.

We travelled a lot on the fifth day. We visited the Aglonas church where the minister, Guntars, told us of its history, meaning and also of a few ghost stories. Many stereotypes were broken on visiting the war museum as it was very interactive. We could try on uniforms, hold weapons, and sit on a war-era motorbike with sidecar. Then to the Bread museum where we learnt so much about the history of bread, we milled flour, and baked and sampled delicious Aglonas bread!
In the afternoon we had some visitors: The Grūbe foster family who told us about family values and the importance of being together.
And then it was time for the most important event of the day – a hot air balloon took to the sky like a big, magnificent bird. Jete’s dad and his companions from Gaisabaloni.lv had brought it for us. The young people’s joy was boundless:) - the best part was that little Baiba also had a turn!
As it was the last night we did not escape without tears and mixed emotions. So much work had been done and so much was gained by participants and helpers alike.
During the evening picnic the young people lit lanterns and whispered their greatest wishes – what they can change in their lives and what they want to achieve. Letters were written to the camp organisers and carers. They created a collage showing their experiences, what they have gained and perhaps what they have lost during this camp. And then the evening came to a close.

The morning seemed all the brighter after a sleepless night and the trip home was defined by happy chatter and elation about the events of these few days....

These young camp participants have given us such positive emotions during these days – and we can’t thank them enough.

And here follows a long, long list of all those we wish to thank...
A huge thank you to all our donors, the BIKRAM YOGA attendees and owners, and especially the organisation „Charity.lv”.
Aleksandrs, Edgars and the „Atpūta pie Rāznas” sport and recreation centre group for their hospitality.
The EHR collective, especially Sveta, Elizabete and Kristena
The Kaunatas bus company and the driver Juris
The local cafe and their chefs
The shop ‘Žagatas bode’ for their beads
The Carnikava invalid association for wool and other items
Rīgas Butcher and the Rēzeknes meat factory for the picnic sausages
Mārtiņ bakery for the baked goods
Danon for the yogurt
Ādaži chips
BB Factory for soap making materials
Abi2 for the camp flag
L’oreal and especially Zane Brakovska for the hygiene products and sun screen
SIA GRETA for the disposable plates, and serviettes
DEPO for a variety of housekeeping items
Abakhan Fabrics Eesti for fabrics and other useful items for the creative workshops
SPORTLAND for the sports items
Saldus gotiņa for the sweets
Augļu serviss for the fruit
Office day and especially Ieva Ostrovska for the stationary items and other useful things
SIA ABA PREZENT for giving us a special price for the bags we used for the creative workshops
SIA MA-1 DATORI for the laptop used to continue palīdzēsim.lv work for the duration of the camp
SIA BITE Latvija for the mobile internet that secured palīdzēsim.lv operations for the duration of the camp
www.laternas.lv for the magic lanterns
SIA Arkolat for the cups

Thank you to our hospitable Latgale! Any doubts we had have been dispelled - we are now sure that we will love you forever! :)

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