Children happier than usual to go to summer camp
Friday 11 September 2020
This summer, Young Caritas organised four camps involving 96 children. Not all of the originally planned colonies could take place, namely those that were to take place abroad (cf. Italy, France, Spain, Austria) and those planned for July, as the ministries only gave the go-ahead for the colonies at the beginning of July. That said, as soon as the green light was given, Young Caritas relaunched all the children registered for the three colonies planned for August and those on the waiting lists. The demand to participate in one camp was so great that Young Caritas decided to add a fourth camp for the month of August. Organised from the ground up in just a few weeks, the "Young Astronauts Space Camp" for children aged 8 to 12 was a real success.
A look back at the challenge of this camp with Vanessa (on the right), co-responsible for the camp, and Elisa (on the left), animator.
HOW WAS THE "YOUNG ASTRONAUTS SPACE CAMP" BORN?
"Some of us had to go with groups of children in July or abroad. These summer camps unfortunately didn't happen. As a result, Young Caritas proposed us to organise a camp that was not included in the initial programme and gave us a few weeks to organise everything. With my colleagues, we started right away and designed a camp that allowed us to easily integrate the guidelines related to the Coronavirus. The theme of the astronauts, isolated in their rocket, is particularly fitting. The children got caught up in the game...and so did we. »
WHAT HAS BEEN PUT IN PLACE TO STOP THE CORONAVIRUS?
"We took part in a training course organised by the Service National de la Jeunesse on the measures to be put in place to protect children and monitors, instructions which we then passed on to our colony. Thus, during the entire duration of the camp, the group was considered to be in a sort of "bubble". All contacts outside this bubble were made with masks and were recorded in a tracing booklet. The reception of parents was also reviewed in order to maintain the "bubble" effect as much as possible. For example, parents were no longer able to access the dormitories. An isolation room has been set up in case a child or an animator has symptoms. Barrier gestures were discreetly integrated into daily life and the various games. We have also opted for a maximum of outdoor activities and have left aside all contact games. These are just a few of the measures we have taken. We have tried to make sure that the children do not become too aware of all these constraints. »
HOW DID THE CHILDREN EXPERIENCE THE COLONY?
"This year, more than in other years, the children were particularly happy to be at the camp. After months of confinement and isolation, the children were happy to be able to play outside again, in the nature, with other children, with complete carelessness. We could see that they needed to escape from their daily lives which had become too restrictive and to have a little more freedom and we let them do so".
WHY DO YOU ENGAGE YOURSELF AS A SUMMER CAMP MONITOR/ANIMATOR?
Vanessa and Elisa :
"Although we are both students in fields that have nothing to do with children, we like to take care of them and make them happy and have lots of memories. At the same time, we also have a lot of fun at the summer camps. We make a lot of friends. It's not all work! (smiles) For us too, each time it's a highlight of the year, days so intense that we will never forget them in our lives! »
"A big thank you to all the monitors/animators of Young Caritas. In the last few months, you must have shown an incredible sense of responsibility and flexibility. Thanks to you, we have been able to organise summer camps without any problems or cases of contagion. Without you, all these children would not have had the time of their lives. A big THANK YOU also to all the monitors/animators who volunteered to help the Maisons-Relais in their reopening in May. THANK YOU!
Nick Clesen, in charge of Young Caritas