Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Day 7 - We had a great time, let's keep in touch.

Day 7 began differently in comparison to the other days - the children were allowed to sleep in, and the morning gymnastics slot was empty. The night before was spent with the friends and tutors by the campfire. The morning looked like a childhood's dream, but the sense of the inevitably and rapidly approaching farewell was in the air.

The morning activities were as exciting as ever and brought smiles to the children's faces. For the last time at the camp, the children discussed the meaning of tolerance and what new values this word  has brought to them. It was good to see that the Camp Tree had blossomed, the Word Lane had built up long across the hall, and the envelopes on the Friendship Line had grown thick with letters full of kind words and best wishes.


The kids shared words of love and kindness by playing the compliments game - writing short messages to each other on a sheet of paper taped on their back. Later on the kids had to guess which sheet belongs to whom. Slightly confused, yet satisfied, the children read the wishes and compliments of their friends - all were pleased and happy!

Finally, five Best Campers were elected in the following categories: the most friendly, the most helpful, the best skills of English, the best sense of humor, and the most active swimmer :-). The elected favourites were presented with prizes of the Embassy of the United States, Vilnius Lithuania.

A group photo was followed by an emotional farewell, with lots of hugs and some tears... We have become great friends with shared experience, ideas and values. This morning's sadness was just a teardrop in the sea of joy of the future when we meet again :-)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Day 6 (2) - Teamwork: together we can do so much.

The evening of Day 6 was all about teamwork: three team games gave the campers an opportunity to demonstrate their teamwork skills and see what makes a successful team.

In the game "Stranded on a Deserted Island", the campers had to choose their team members, decide on just a few things that they could take with them from the "crashed plane" and think of a plan of actions to survive. The campers had to show not only lots of knowledge necessary for survival, but also good communication skills, patience, respect and care for their team members.

Then, the campers had a creative team task to build a Tolerance Tower. The teams could only use newspapers and sticky tape. The children were encouraged to build their tower as tall as possible. The teams proved to be highly creative and very competitive. They each chose a different strategy of making the constructions and showed that - as a team - they can really achieve impressive results.


The last game was probably the most appreciated by the campers :) "A Wet Towel" team game was played by the lake. Speed, cooperation and comitment won!

So sorry that the camp is ending! But the campers have made so many great friends and they are going to take such fond memories home!

Day 6 (1) - Learning the importance of tolerance in professional work.

Day 6 implies that the Baltic States "Teaching Tolerance through English" Camp is coming to an end.  The children feel sad - tomorrow they will have to say goodbye to their new friends, but the fun does not stop and they are still learning new things.

In the morning, the children focused on the international organiztations - EU, NATO, UNESCO, Red Cross and UNICEF - learning about their aims, principles of work and a variety of activities. Acting as members of the organization, they designed posters which showed how they understood the mission of the organizations.



In the afternoon, the children had guests at the camp. First, they met with the USG alumnus Andrew Mikšys, a photographer, who introduced them to the art of photography. Andrew shared his experience and his motivation to become a photographer and demonstrated his impressive works of Romani people. The children were very interested in Andrew's life and profession, and the guest himself was enthusiastic about answering all the children's questions. The kids learnt how important tolerance is in Andrew's work as people do not always react positively to a camera directed at them. To make a good picture of a person, a photographer has to be deeply sensitive, understanding and respectful.

Then, the kids were invited to learn more about  the communication skills in the work of journalists. The USG alumni Živilė Kropaitė and Vaidas Saldžiūnas, radio and print journalists, shared their professional experience and taught the campers how to begin, keep up, control and end a conversation politely. The children were presented with the opportunity to be journalists "on the street" and interview people about what tolerance is and how they see tolerance in their society.


Day 6 was rich with dear guests. The campers were happy to greet and talk to Sarah Talalay, the Cultural Atttache of the Embassy of the United States in Vilnius. The warmly special ceremony of awarding the Certificates of the successful participation at the Tolerance Camp was  joyfully rounded up by taking a group picture on the Lake Suvingis.


Yet, that did not mean the end of the Camp :-)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Day 5 - Tolerance is the responsibility which saves our rights.

Day 5 is here! The sun is playing on the water of the Lake Suvingis promising another challenging hot day; however, the campers are proving to be resilient to the heat and are actively participating in all the offered activities.

In the morning session, the children were introduced to the concepts of Right and Responsibility. Through discussion they clarified the meaning of the words and considered what rights and responsibilities they have at the Camp. They also talked about the human rights  and responsibilities in general and came up with two posters summing up their ideas. Thy then acted out situations in which people with mental and physical disabilities are involved, which encouraged their awareness of the limits that disabled people have and made them think about their responsibility to help.


In the afternoon session, the children enjoyed the company of the US Government programme alumna Danguolė Kiznienė. Danguolė shared her experience of studying in the USA and spoke to the children about democracy, equality and tolerance. She also told the kids the story of Martin Luther King.The children were invited to think about what dreams people may have and  what they themselves dream of. The children shared their dreams and opinions about what people have to do in order to reach their dreams. The truth is that just waiting for the dream to come true is not enough, and a person has to put a lot of effort into fulfilling his  or her dream. Martin Luther King was an inspiration to the people of his time, and he also inspired the children today. An impressive and emotional part of the session was when the children delivered their own speeches about their dreams and how they wish they could change the environment and life.

The evening session was dedicated to the themes of bullying and intolerance in schools. The children watched two videos showing that people sometimes treat each other badly and they discussed what would be the proper response in each situation. It is impossible to stay indifferent seeing how children feel after suffering from bullying and what its actual horrible effects can be. 

The evening session continued with the children talking about how different people actually are. Singing the song "Everyone's Different" together inspired the campers to create Tolerance posters and slowly brought the day to an end.

Tomorrow is the last full day at the camp. It's sad to think that the camp is almost finishing, but the campers stay positive and anticipate new activities of the following day. Kids never stop being optimistic :-)

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Day 4 (2) - Exploring the surroundings. Treasures of Merkinė.

Tis afternoon we had a very emotional moment - Ignas, one of our tutor assistants and volunteers, had to leave the camp due to personal reasons, and we were very sorry to see him go. We wished Ignas good luck and promised to keep in touch to let him know how things would go at the camp. Bye-bye, Ignas, we'll miss you :) 

In the afternoon, we went to Merkinė. Merkinė is located on four rivers - Merkys, Nemunas, Strauja and Stangė. We could admire the breathtaking views from the observation tower (25 meters high!) overlooking the junctions of the rivers. Merkinė is famous not only for its spectacular nature, it is also an important historical place. We participated in the photo treasure hunt, and by taking pictures of the "treasures" we learnt some important facts of the history of Lithuania.

In the evening session, the students presented their treasures from the Photo Treasure Hunt and voted for the best picture, which was not easy to do as all the pictures were beautiful and meaningful.

This has been another wonderful day, and we can't wait for tomorrow!