Regarding this years’ ATA Summer Camp…

This year’s Summer Camp of the Youth Association from Transylvania started on the 3rd of July. Just like in previous years, there was a lot of interest and not without reason. The five days were very eventful, and our 36 participants were very sad to note the end of the camp on Friday.

Huh, where do we start… Our camp this year was built around fairy tales, every day we puppeteered and acted out nostalgic stories, and noted the lessons learnt from them through games and interactive tasks. On Monday, the day was spent getting to know each other, as not only were there new faces among the children, but the little ones didn’t know our 7 local and 8 international volunteers either. After the namecards were up, we divided the small ones into six teams. Each team was assigned a leader from among foreign and local volunteers, so the children could learn English throughout the week and overcome the language barrier together. The first task of the six teams was creating a unique logo and flag.

Since we puppeteered the stories every day, the children could also try themselves out in this ancient craft on the first day. The little ones completed pre-prepared sampled stories, and created their own puppets while deciding on their traits, characteristics. Main rehearsal – and LET THE PUPPET SHOW BEGIN! The six teams presented six short stories to their peers. Then we ended the day with our dance together.

On the second day, the little tried on the shoes of chefs, and under the guidance of Serife, our volunteer from Turkey, they prepared delicious chocolate biscuits in the morning. Small and large hands took their share of the work, beating eggs, pouring flour and kneading dough. In the end, delicacies that Gordon Ramsey himself would be envious of were prepared. But of course, no sweets before lunch! While the biscuits were getting golden in the oven, everyone moved to the Gyárfás garden, where we dedicated the day to sports. There was football, frisbee, and hide and seek, and by the time we retired to the Yellow House, nothing could have been better than our freshly baked cookies made by ourselves.

Of course, we didn’t linger on the third day either. We started this day at the Molnár István Museum, where the children could learn about the story of Ali Baba and the 40 thieves in the performance of Javi and Dani. For those who have already forgotten the iconic sentence, the tale of Open Sesame, the Persian protagonist had to utter these words in order for the treasure-filled cave to open. Well, as a result of this, our little participants also went on a treasure hunt in our city. As an association, we consider it important that the children of Székelykeresztúr get to know its famous places. For this reason, we set up the stations of the treasure hunt on these, as our list included the library, the station, the museum, the sports field, the Gyárfás garden, and the fountain. By completing the tasks in these places, the kiddos could put together the sentence that opened the gate to the golden cave. We can announce that all the little people successfully completed the challenge and each of them returned home with three golds at the end of the day.

We spent the fourth day with world-famous fashion. For those who have not yet received the information: Székelykeresztúr has today’s trendiest designers and seamstresses. We wanted to guide the children to the path of recycling, so they had to create clothes, jewellery, and accessories from paper. Although this may seem like a big challenge at first, as soon as they see the results, they realize how creative the children of our city really are. And who were the models? They all came from abroad! We ended the day with a fashion show, where we asked the opinions of the small designers and voted for the coolest outfit. We want to congratulate the Green Leaves team on their victory!

The fifth and last day was both the most diverse and the saddest at the same time. Sad, because on this day we had to say goodbye to each other, as we are closing this year’s ATA camp. At the same time, we were also preparing for an extraordinary challenge, as we set up an obstacle course on Sóskút. Our fighters had to dodge lasers, solve puzzles, and at the end, we rewarded them for their efforts. Each little participant received a gym bag packed with chocolates and candies. After that, we returned to the Yellow House with our participants and sang our song one last time, then closed our 2023 Summer Camp. We would like to thank the Harghita County Council for their support, without which this program would not have been possible. At the same time, we sincerely thank our local and international volunteers for their help.

Finally, nothing proves the success of our camp better than the opinions of the children themselves. Emma Mátéffy said this about our program: “I liked it so much that I want to be a volunteer when I grow up!” I think there is no better recognition than to encourage the little ones to do good themselves and dare to add to the community.

Marielle, our volunteer and organizer from Sweden, added the following regarding the week: “I’m proud and happy with the results of the summer camp week, because the children seemed to enjoy the activities just as much as I did! During the week, I made memories that I will keep with me for the rest of my life”.