Article written by: Stella V. Grahek, Tamara Gajski, Pia Zevnik
Slovenian Falcon Youth Union is a non-formal educational organization whose main purpose is to ensure that children and young adults are empowered, respected and most importantly well informed about their rights. We try to achieve our goals through different activities such as summer camps, creative workshops, excursions, seminars, sporting events and conferences.
As mentioned beforehand, conducting a summer camp is one our primary ways in educating children and young adults. That is why we have organised our second seven-day summer camp for young adults and children, who are interested in participating. By doing this we bring together those of similar mentalities and give them the opportunity to think wider, explore new concepts, and connect with new people in an amazing environment, where they also have the chance to spend some time near the sea. They are assigned into three different age groups, so that we can better tailor specific workshops to their interests and capabilities. To bring forth a sense of acceptance and to give them a voice in decision-making, they are put in charge of choosing their own names and making their own flags to represent them.
The whole week we were supporting and encouraging our young adults and children to get involved in the decision-making process. For that purpose, we introduced a suggestions box that is always accessible for everyone. As such everyone can write down their suggestion, anonymous or not, and submit it to the box. Every day before dinner the suggestions are read in front of everyone, then discussed and at the end we vote whether to implement the suggested changes or not.
Our day started early in the morning with a salute to the flag and singing of our anthem. Then it was time for socialising on the beach and in the sea, which it was all about having fun -volleyball, cards, swimming and so on. In the afternoons, we had workshops, through which we tried to bring our participants closer to understanding the important issues like global conflicts, violence and refugees but at the same time the importance of solidarity, democracy, equality, peace and children’s rights. Of course, after each activity we had some time for a discussion through which we further explained the activity, what it meant and how the children and young adults perceived it. After the initial explanation was done, a debate was opened up and everybody could contribute. We also talked about our future and their power to create social changes, by helping to build a peaceful impartial and unprejudiced world.
Big ideas were also shared on our last night together at the camp through our traditional Falcons talent show, which was prepared, and lead by our participants.
We worked hard to create an inclusive, educational and fun seven days for all of our participants. As it was said before, one of our goals was to encourage them to think and see wider. Also to show them the world they live in trough socialists glasses.
Due to a very successful camp this year, we are already ecstatic about next year’s camp and cannot wait for the start of its planning.