Nesebar Seaside

OSI-Bulgaria

20-26 August 2017

Our Bulgarian partner Cedar Foundation recently established a home for 14 youth from traumatized backgrounds.  While the home itself, and the staff, are truly fantastic, it's been a challenge establishing a sense of family unity amongst these youth, and a great challenge for the youth themselves who each already have so much weight to carry.  This week-long camp was organized as a means to provide an unforgetable experience for these youth, as well as a means to help them see the best of each other, and to establish a sense of teamwork, unity, ...family.
First, some of these youth had never been to their beautiful Bulgarian seaside, nor had they ever experienced a proper holiday, and this camp is already their greatest childhood memory.  The fun started with a scenic train-ride, a few hours, from Kazanlak to Burgas.  The youth shared rooms in a pleasant seaside hotel.  Each day included plenty of time on the beach, walks in the beautiful, historic, cobbled town of Nesebar, lessons at a martial arts school, meeting new friends at the evening camp 'disco', and lots of fantastic food.
But these days full of fun were also interlaced throughout with specially-designed activities to help bond the youth to each other.  From being assigned a 'secret friend' whom each especially looked after througout the week, the 'circle of trust' game on the beach, team sports, special quizes, staff-led evening discussions, small-group research/presentation of historic sites, and uniquely, karate lessons at Kyokushinkai Karate club where, besides the physical exercise, the master gave our youth great lessons on discipline, self-confidence, and perseverence; interestingly these lessons were a camp highlight for our youth (perhaps fostered by the pastry-shop visits after each lesson).

Photos

Acknowledgements

We are grateful for the kindness and generosity of Tracy Bennett and yet again to our dear friend Nicholas Tummillo for providing what is, for some of these kids, already their greatest memory.  And besides the memory you have provided them, you've helped to make our home and our family more unified as well.  Thanks Tracy!  Thanks Nicholas!
"I liked the camp mostly because we were all together, -our family.  I liked the games on the beach, especially 'Circle of Trust'.  I was very impressed with the karate training because actually I learned useful things for life.  And I liked the missions and the treat after them."
-Vanya
"For the first time in our lives we see the sea!"
-Georgi
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