Such words were particularly popular among 40 participants of the forest camp "Sure Start: Together Towards Success”. Being a part of the social integration programme for the young people soon to leave residential care, the camp was held on 25-26 May 2013 on a campsite in a beautiful forest nearby Kyiv Sea. As a supporting team, we involved young volunteers and social workers for the joint activities. The event has become the logical culmination of a series of meetings of the youth clubs "How to Become Successful".
Our aim was to create new opportunities for the participants to develop self-reliance and life skills needed for the independent living.
The agenda was busy and consisted of various tasks and challenges enabling young care leavers to enhance their communication and adaptation skills, abilities to work in a team, to plan and to achieve goals.
For two days, participants have been exploring tourist life, participating in sports challenges and overcoming obstacles in teams. For many of them, it was for the first time that they learnt how to build a “mini-house” in woods, how to go over imaginary rivers and canyons using ropes with full camping equipment or how to cook dinner on fire. Young care leavers learnt how to navigate by compass, provide first aid or go kayaking.
The teams performed their tasks in individual and joint efforts, which made them more united, supporting and stretching out helping hands to one another. During the camp, the participants were doing quizzes, playing games, meditating, dreaming, fantasizing, learning new things and rethinking the familiar ones. For example, is there anything more precious than money in life? The answers were very spontaneous and straightforward. It appeared that the most treasured possession was their families, friend, good health, love, happiness, freedom and even ... sincere smiles of others. Finally, we invited young people to make a team collage depicting personal dreams and plans. Such bridge between present and future has inspired the participants to think about their future, setting themselves up for tomorrow's lives. We thank most warmly all of you who donated to support this fantastic project helping Ukrainian care leavers to begin independent life outside institutions.
I liked that we were overcoming various difficulties, but we stayed as a whole team. (Oleksandr, Ivankiv Region)
The camp was fun: we were having competition in teams, cooking our own food. Especially I liked when we gathered around the campfire in the night and talked about everything that we were looking for and was awaiting us in the future. (Yurii, Bila Tserkva City)
I liked the forest camp because I made many new friends and had a fantastic time. (Sergiy, Ivankiv Region)
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