At the end of August, a group of 18 volunteers who took part in Summer Camp returned to the orphanage for four days to lead a series of activities and master-classes around the theme of a circus — building on work done at Summer Camp.
The initative for trip came from volunteers, who paid for their own travel and board.
Volunteers put on cooking master-classes, soap-making master-classes, photography master-classes as well arts and crafts master-classes. Groups of children were also selected to take part in special master-classes to prepare for the main event of the trip — a real circus! The circus involved performances by all the kids and volunteers — including clowns, acrobats, animals and other performers! The sports hall of the orphanage was transformed for one day into a big top.
The trip played an important role cementing relationships between volunteers, orphanage staff and children after Summer Camp. At the end of the trip, all the older children and the carers came out to the nearby road to wave the volunteers off: a truly touching moment — and something that they have never done before.
For most of July, 38 volunteers (from Russia, Ukraine and the United Kingdom) took part in Step Up's 2015 Summer Camp at the Belskoye Ustye orphanage for mentally and physically disabled children — organising developmental activities, festivals, shows and sporting events for the 70 children who live there.
Using the integration center as a base, volunteers walked every day to the orphanage where they organized a hectic, exciting and engaging three weeks of activities for the children. Volunteers lived in tents and used the facilities of the house to prepare activities, costumes and materials for work with the chidlren.
A series of specialists from Moscow and Saint Petersburg also took part in the Summer Camp, arranging master classes for both volunteers and children. These included sessions on how to work with disabled children with an expert from a local center, a fencing master class, a culinary master class, a radio journalism master class, a DIY master class, and a musical master class conducted by an expert from the Anton Tut Ryadom center for autism in Saint Petersburg.
The Summer Camp was the biggest conducted by Step Up in recent memory and will serve as a template for the development of the integration center.
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