International Youth Camp Tramplin 2014 – With an eye of an EVS volunteer (Rudolf Ondruska, Hungary).
It was only coincidence, but my very fist act of being an EVS volunteer in Yoshkar-Ola was to participate in the Tramplin Youth Camp. Although I have received a leaflet with the basic information, I had so many thoughts and questions in my head. How will I cope with the children? Will I be interesting enough for them? Will be my Russian knowledge sufficient? Or in general, what should I expect?
Now, in retro-perspective I can say that it was one of the most memorable episode of my life and I would like to share my thoughts and experiences.
Tramplin is a Youth camp for children with difficult social background. The duration is 10 days and it takes place in the nature – usually in a forest, next to a lake or a river. Far from the civilization, but this makes it even better.
The main purpose of the camp is to help the children with the socialization, encourage them to talk, to open themselves, to make new friendships and to have an active rest in the nature. Tramplin is rich in cultural events but in sports (rock-climbing, swimming, volleyball etc.)
The staff of the camp is responsible for the entertainment of the children, to come up with ideas in order to amuse them all day long. My task was similar – mainly to introduce my country (Hungary) it’s culture, habits, and to have as many conversations and games with them as possible. And also, to help the staff of the camp with everything, which is at the moment needed.
For the 11 days, It was not a single moment when I felt bored. Right after the short introduction, the action has already started. At the beginning, I have participated in the team-building, together with the Russian volunteers. This helped me to get in the proper mood and the ease the initial cultural differences.
After 2 days, when everything was set, the children have arrived and the real „work” had begun. What I had I done exatly? Well, maybe it is not too much if I say: Everything!
Been a Russian nation hero, took part in a musical (I was singing in Russian), been a hedgehog in a game with animals (photo attached) but these are just the most memorable ones. I was participating in every game which the Art Group had came up, and although I’m not really a talented person in such I was dancing and singing more than in my whole life before. And also if it was needed – I have helped the Technical Group in their daily work. Cutting wood, carrying stuff, doing simple physical work. It was a nice feeling to work with my own hands, I wasn’t discouraged by such work at all.
How I will cope with the children? – the first days were a bit hard, it was not easy to keep their attention, but this is something one can practice. Even if someone is not an expert (as me) can get along with them, is he/she wants to. I was not prepared enough, but probably no one can be completely.
Will I be interesting enough for them? – I think my attemt to do so was successful. Although Hungary is not the most exotic country, you can still say a lot if interesting stuff, which the children will really like and they will ask you anything, which they would like to know. And just be prepared with some games, and (photo) material to show them.
Will be my Russian knowledge sufficient? – More or less, it was enough. My level is B2 according to TORFL which allowed me to have conversations without translator. But if you can’t speak Russian at all – do not be discouraged! The staff off the camp speaks English and they are ready to help and to translate all the time. And also, to play games and to smile you do not need to speak at all 🙂
I have received a lot of positive energy from the children. It was just so good to see them. They are talented, many of them can sing, dance, they are really creative. Most of the boys do sport (some of them even on the highest level) and live a healthy lifestile. The children I have seen in Tramplin can easily be a role model for the young generation and I hope this will happen. I really hope that I could gave them something in return.
The only downside I can mention, that this year I was the only volunteer so sometimes I felt alone among all the Russians. But this can be beared and the staff of the camp really made and effort to support me. Also, it’s up to you as well how you spend your time – one should always look for ther opportunity to be active.
To summarize, I stongly advice to visit Tramplin for everyone who has the opportunity. You can recieve a lot, and have the opportunity give a lot. It’s far from Europe, but it is an unique place with a beautiful nature which is worth visiting for sure.