The first village our volunteers visited this summer was Litke. This was the third time that we organised a camp in this village in the county of Nograd. Our visits during the year and our three year relationship with the village resulted in more children signing up for the camp than before, with increased confidence. Beyond the returning campers we had several new participants.
We often divided the team into “small” and “big” groups due to the large headcount and the variation in age of the participants. However, we also had collective games and projects. As part of a project spanning the whole week the children made up an original olympic game. They came up with their own rules for the game, it was also their task to prepare the accessories, and finally everyone could try each others brand-new games. We also had shorter activities besides the week-long project. We started a campaign for the renovation of Litke’s community centre. We spoke to the relevant village officials about the funding needed for the completion of such a project, and how we would go about securing it. Also, everyone could draw their ideal community centre. We began a mail correspondence, where the children had the opportunity to write to children living in other villages that Knapsack Camps visits, so that they might find themselves future pen-pals. Everyone wrote about themselves with great enthusiasm in their letters. Some of them filled a whole page with writing, others adorned their letters with drawings. The always popular experimentation could not be left out. We created non newtonian fluid by dissolving starch in water.
In addition to the numerous activities, we also had a lot of free conversations with the children about topics that interested them. Many of these conversations took place late in the afternoon on the football field, where we were invited by the locals every day. In the course of the football match we could connect with past campers, and older villagers as well.
We took our leave of the children and the village on Sunday with a barbecue, which the children, their families, and other locals are all welcome to attend. This has become a tradition over the years.