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Tent camp for orphans in Crimea: first experience

July 9, 2008, 11:00 11132 Author: Albert Pavlov, translated by Inna Grigorjeva deti.zp.ua This tent camp for children was not only adventure. First of all it was a nice opportunity to check everybody’s ability to reach the goal in spite of all difficulties

We have been dreaming to organize the tent camp for orphans on the Black Sea seaside from the early days of our site foundation in 2004. And at last after 4 years we have realized our plans!

On May 2008, 20, we asked our maecenases for financial support of tent camp for 20 children from Volnyansk orphanage and 18 children from Zaporozhye orphanage #3. Fortunately at once two huge donators showed their great interest to our idea and agreed to finance it.

Children, teachers and volunteers thank our sponsors from the heart!

Zaporozhye brewery “Slavutich”, donated 19200 UAH;

Inna K. from Kyiv advertising agency , donated 14888 UAH;

Ludmila B. from Krivoy Rog , donated 150 UAH;

Valt Shults, USA, donated 43$

It seemed to us that the main thing was to find money. But it occurred that it was not the only difficulty connected with organization of the camp. It took about two weeks to negotiate all details with administration of the orphanages, travel and transport bureaus; it also took a lot of time to prepare all necessary lists and medical documents for children and their teachers, to receive permissions of the Regional Department of Education and Transport Inspection of Ukraine.

So, all necessary questions were settled and early in the morning, 12 of June, 2008, 38 children, 4 teachers and 2 volunteers went to the South Coast of Crimea by bus and about 5 o’clock p.m. children at last could admire a magnificent views of Black Sea and Laspi bay:

Sightseeing ground at the entry of the bay

After an hour we came to the place of destination – the sport-healthing camp “Smena” between Foros and Simeiz, not far from villages Ponizovka and Kaziveli. To children’s great surprise they knew that they were at the Southern point of Ukraine and at the other side of the sea there was another country Turkey.

The place where we put our tents justified our expectations completely. There was a mountain stream there so we could enjoy its clear cool waters. The bravest children began to bath in a so-called “bathes of youth”, original deepenings down the stream. Behind the stream it was the beginning of the mountainside of Aj-Petry mountain pasture covered with sparse growth on the lower part and a bushy natural growth on the upper parts. A beautiful view of the Crimea Mountains sides made us happy, especially in the evening lights of the sunset. Every evening nightingale sang its songs to us.

The beauty of the nature combined with civilization benefits such as stadium with sport apparatus, meal at the camp canteen (3 times a day), shop, medical aid post and discotheques in the evenings.

The tents are set up

The view of the camp from the mountainside

When the tents were set we informed children about rules of camping life, the measures of safety, collective responsibility and so on taking into account the age of the members of the trip, teenagers of 13-16, almost in equal parts boys and girls.

Our next important task was to explain children such simple thing that all of us must be as one family in our camp, must be friendly towards each other, don’t be rude. We warned all children about collective responsibility and in case if someone leaved the camp without allowance all of us would go to find him or her. Also we notified children if someone damaged the tent, the carpet or the sleeping-bag he or she must repair it by himself (herself).

Every day at 6.45 I and 18 boys got up and did the morning exercises. Especially It was great to run to the seaside, swim and come back our camp on the mountainside. Then we washed in the mountain stream. In spite of the cold stream water (17-18 degrees) nobody fell ill, so I could choose 10 most enduring boys to mountaineer.

Children had their meals in the Smena’s canteen:

The daily routine in our camp was following: one day we had a rest, swam and bathed in the sea, walked in the camp surroundings, and the other day we had bus excursions to the South Crimea’s Coast’s sights. Our first excursion was to the Yalta theatre of the sea animals “Aquatoria” and the city of Yalta.

I saw different shows with the participant of dolphins but to my mind the performance of the Yalta Sea animals’ theatre “Aquatoria” was the best one. Children were delighted with that walrus Sultan, fur-seal Vanya and two white whales did.

Some girls made photos with a beautiful dolphin.

After Yalta Sea animals’ theatre “Aquatoria” children visited aquarium and then had a walk on Yalta sea front:

On the Yalta Sea Front

Soon we returned to our camp to join not made by hands nature treasures: the sun setting by the mountain range, the gentle murmur of a brook, signing of the forest birds.

After supper several children gathered round the fire. We had a good chance to know each other better, to have a friendly talk at this nice moment sitting round the fire in the evening.

On our fourth day in Crimea I and 10 boys who showed the special physical power during our morning exercises went to the Isar Rock which is on the foot of the Bajdar-Kastropol Wall of Aj-Petry mountain pasture. We took enough supply of water and food.

Boys carried heavy knapsack by turns, turned back and were glad that they were rising higher and higher above the sea and the camp. On our way we found deserted cherry-trees garden where we ate plenty of ripe cherries.

Step by step the plants become more thick, wild and unusual. Between the trees we came across the rock with the height like 9-floor, children also found the cave on the foot of the rock.

After three hours of difficult rising on the forest depths we reached the picturesque rock Isar, as someone said it was the crater of the extinct volcano. As I was told on my returning home the ruins of Greek-Byzantine castle of X century remained on the top of this rock till our days.

On the surroundings of Isar we came across two picturesque lakes. Soon we came closely to the Bajdar-Kastropol Wall and went along it looking for a suitable place to rich the top of Aj-Petry mountain pasture. At last we found small aperture in the wall and rose on the pasture.

Isar Rock (photo by Vadim Petrakov)

Hard rising

Near the Isar Rock

Mountain lake

On the foot of the Bajdar-Kastropol Wall

On the top of Aj-Petry mountain pasture

Over the clouds

Back to the camp

Thus 15, June, 2008 the significant event happened for 10 boys from Zaporozhye orphanages: for the first time they conquered the first top in their life, for the first time they saw the land from the height of more than 1000 km. It is difficult to reproduce boys’ emotions when they could see neither sea nor the camp from the top of the rock because the land was cover with white clouds till horizon!

We hope that the trip was not only adventure which remained in children’s memory. First of all it was a nice opportunity to check everybody’s ability to reach the goal in spite of all difficulties. It was a great experience of team activity, an ability to divide water and food between all members of the team. It was the unity with nature that ennobles the human being in itself. And it is a great gladness and satisfaction when you have reached the top whether it was the top of the mountain or the definite life task. And we hope that these emotions are stronger than doubtful pleasure from cigarettes, alcohol and drags.

We came back home at 5 o’clock. Our walking-tour continued almost 8 hours.

While rising the mountain children couldn’t wait for their coming back but when they came to the camp in the evening they said me that they wanted to have more and more walking-tours!

The following days children visited another three excursions to Alupka and Vorontsov Palace, Foros and The Park of Foros, and on their way home children visited Sevastopol sea front and aquarium.

To sum up our trip we may mark the following:

- living close to nature in the tents excite children’s great interest, teach them to be satisfied with the small amount of things in different situations;

- it is not more dangerous when orphans live in the tents during any trip under conditions when the teachers and instructors concerned with organization of children activity are beside them, than when they live in buildings (this conclusion is important for administration of those orphanages who fear to allow the orphans to have trips like this).

- children from orphanages, even adolescents will be very glad to communicate with adults especially when these contacts are on equal terms with understanding of children’s problems and interests;

- in camps like this exists a real chance to unite children in friendship, the atmosphere of trips is very friendly and domestic and everybody understands his or her responsibility;

- it is advisable to divide children to the groups of 10-15 persons at the time of excursions because to work with big amount of children is risky;

- the more saturated the day with different kinds of activity the less time children have to smoke, drink and fight.

We are planning to organize the next tourist camp on the island of Khortitsa at the end of July – the beginning of August, 2008, and perhaps 5-days trip in Crimea at the end of the August.

If you want to help us to organize the next trips please contact with me by phones:

+3 8 066 513 34 35, +3 8 061 701-32-86 (Albert); e-mail: detizp@mail.ru, or transfer the money to our account.

Best regards!


Happy Child foundation - effective help to the most needy children of the Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, since 2004

They need help:
Oleksiy Marchuk
Oleksiy Marchuk

cerebral palsy, spastic tetraparesis

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Tymofii Lapkov
Tymofii Lapkov

Severe bronchopulmonary dysplasia. II degree respiratory failure

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You donated in 2024

$ 95 287

Our expenses in 2024
To 65 sick children $32 141
Medical equipment: $2 285
Humanitarian help: $28 611
To disabled children: $41 270
To children's village: $1 183
To orphans and poor children: $5 465
"Helpus" - help to adults: $17 690
Service expenses: $15 980
Total sum of expenses: $146 679

$6 864 886

donated since 2007