The Belgian Youth Camp in De Panne was a real success; 19 youngsters from all over Europe …
(RO, TU, HU, GE, CH, CZ, SVK, ITA and BEL) came to the Belgian coast to enjoy mostly each others company, but also the nature, the history and evidently the sea, the sand and the dunes.
Main activities in the camp were in the morning leadership training, group work, social activity and the environment. In the afternoon play time under the lead of Sportievak with special games as cub throw, archery, bubble foot, wall climbing, mountainbike raid and finally swimming.
Midweek was a history day with visit to Ypres with the city, the Menin gate and the Flanders Field museum with Belfry tower climbing. The day was finished with a walk in the Tyne Cot cemetery, the greatest Commonwealth cemetery with its 12000 pale white graves from soldiers In the age range of our youngsters.
On Wednesday we were received at De Panne Town Hall by Lady Mayor Ann Vanheste. On Thursday we had the visit of a wide range of sponsors, among them the freshly elected Vice Presidents of KI and KIEF Daniel and Chris and Governor Belux Marie Paule. On Friday we decorated Kiwanis Dolls.
What did we learn at this camp ?
We think that after having lived the camp and its activities, we should insist on the fact that Kiwanis’ main purpose is “Serving the children”. This should mean that we want to help and serve all the children, regardless of their nation, health, financial situation or social status. It is true that some children need us more than others, but nevertheless we can make a difference in everybody’s life.
The Kiwanis Youth Camp may not be entirely a social project (for some participants it is), it is not strictly about helping children in need, but it is surely about serving the children, making a difference in their lives, and by consequent making a difference in the world. It may seem very small, but a lot of good come from little things.
The Kiwanis Youth Camp provide a healthy and safe environment where youngsters from all over Europe learn about each other, about respect, about accepting and embracing the differences. They learn that differences can enrich us, not divide us. During the camp they improve their communication skills, they open their minds and surpass their limits.
The most important thing, in my opinion, they learn that together they can make a change. They discover that teamwork is not always easy, but it is efficient and sometimes the only way to solve problems that seem impossible at the beginning.
Maybe the effects of the youth camp are not tangible in short time, but in a long time, we have no doubt in our mind and heart that the youngsters who lived such an experience will be involved in helping the others, in a very well organized way (like Kiwanis Clubs), or in any other way.
To our idea the positive changing we saw from the participants remains the principal experience. Remind the presentation of R, the speech of T, the strong positions of I after recovery, and so on …. those youngsters were no longer shy and wanted to express themselves. Isn’t that wonderful ?
So thank you to anyone who made this camp realisable, thanks to the J Club staff and to I, Ex3, R, Lx2 and P for their precious help to make this effectively done !
Carmen Baban and Vincent