Our STEP Youth Camp was a welcome experience for 27 young people from families who foster, are displaced or in crisis. We adapted our 21st Century Skills camp to meet the current needs. Although it couldn’t be a residential camp our team created a positive environment for young people, who responded enthusiastically:
Irina, 16, said “I liked absolutely everything! Great hosts and a good atmosphere. These two days were wonderful and I’m very, very happy that I joined the camp. The only thing is, I wish it could be longer!”
Serhiy Mayorov, our STEP Coordinator, explained:
“Teenagers have so little attention and communication in these times: there is high uncertainty, and an almost complete lack of support for education and training. Even a one-hour meeting with peers, which gives them the opportunity to escape from everyday life, whether that is in a refugee shelter, a hostel or their home, has a positive effect on them.”
The two days of activities were focused on Stress Management, First Aid, Online Safety and Communication, led by people who offered a high level of expertise. For example, Police led the Online Safety workshops which taught young people how to distinguish between fake information and reality, and to avoid information bubbles on the internet. There was an appropriate balance of quality work and time for socializing, which was key to a successful and meaningful camp.
What were the outcomes?
Nikita, who is 13, moved to Lviv at the beginning of the war with his mother and younger sister. After finding shelter in one of our hostels they moved into our Care Centre. At our camp we could see how Nikita is active, enterprising and ready to find new friends. He chatted with the Police and asked questions that interested him. He tried out some acting in the Stress Management workshops and enjoyed discovering a place outside the Care Centre where he can spend time.
Mariana, 15 and Andriana, 18, are two girls who attended from a large local family who lost their mother last year. They took all the household chores on their young shoulders and have little free time. Our camp was a good opportunity to learn something new, mix with peers, gain confidence in communicating with others, and have a break from caring and the worries of home.
“To sum up, the camp was cool, fun, interesting, and more importantly, informative. - And I found new friends at the camp!” - Sonia, 12
From May to August our goals for young people, including those who lost their homes to war, are:
- Youth Centre set up to offer regular activities and provide space for study and tutoring
- 20 STEP Life Skills workshops in refugee centres and partner organisations
- IT Career introductory course and skills development for 30 young people
Thank you to all of our donors who help us to make life better for young people who are affected by the terrible war in Ukraine.