Scout Camp at Zánka for Disadvantaged Children
Minister of State for Family and Youth Affairs Katalin Novák visits the camp “Ready for Life with Scouting” at Zánka on 21 August, organized by the Hungarian Scout Association for children in need. This year 1250 children can spend one week in five turns in the Scout-themed summer camp, realised within the framework of the Erzsébet programme for the third year in a row. Approximately 3000 Hungarian disadvantaged children and students (between the age of 8 and 18) could glimpse into Scouting thanks to the “Ready for Life with Scouting” camps in the last two years. In another camp called “Ready for Life with Scouting in the Carpathian Basin” – which is also organized by the Hungarian National Holiday Foundation –, the beneficiaries of the Scouts-in-Exile associations, nearly 450 Hungarian children living abroad, can spend their summer holiday at Zánka in two turns.
Tradition preservation & adventures. These were the slogans of the “Ready for Life with Scouting” camp at Zánka, on the shore of Lake Balaton. One week that focuses on values, discoveries, challenges and community building. The goal of the summer camps of the Hungarian Scout Association is to provide meaningful, adventurous and community building summer programmes for children, who are not given this opportunity otherwise, due to financial or others reasons. The Erzsébet programme ensures the necessary support.
‘It was really exciting to start this work. It was a novelty for us as well, that Scout leaders organize camps for children, who have not met Scouting before. It was a great pleasure to see how well the Scout methods work with young people between the age of 8 and 18. They participate in the programmes really enthusiastically’ , said Dávid Bence, the programme director of the “Ready for Life with Scouting” camps.
The vast majority of the participants are disadvantaged children. The children in need get acquainted with the foundation of the Scout lifestyle under the supervision of experienced, young Scout leaders.
‘It was a great pleasure to see the children running around; they master this way of life rather quickly and they like it. The programme is especially great, since disadvantaged children get closer to Scouting. In addition, they can do all this in a spectacular environment, on the shore of Lake Balaton’, said Barnabás Buday, the President of the Hungarian Scout Association.
One of the most important characteristics of the camps is the small community system. In the small communities, similarly to Scouting, six to eight children form a patrol and they are supervised by a patrol leader, who is a few years older than them. The patrols, organized into units, participate in programmes, which are led by the unit leaders. Units are organized in age sections, which makes it possible to take into consideration the age section characteristics when organizing programmes.
‘Children learn to cooperate, collaborate and play together in small communities in our camps. One of our most important educational methods in Scouting is 'learning by doing'. Everything that we teach, we do together with the children‘, said Balázs Solymosi, the Chief Commissioner and Training Leader of the Hungarian Scout Association.
Every day starts with the hoisting of the flag in the “Ready for Life with Scouting” camps and there programmes till the campfire in the evening. Themes are indispensable in terms of the Scout camps. Camp programmes are based on the theme, so children become characters in a story. The theme this year is the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin. Units participate alternately in the programmes in a revolving stage-style. Dragon boats, obstacle course, swimming, sport’s day (football, volleyball, méta (traditional Hungarian ball game), basketball, badminton, cricket) await the participants. Activities: fire lighting, use of knots, encryption, making articles for personal use out of environmentally friendly materials, archery. On the folk revolving stage it is going to be possible to acquire the basics of smaller crafts besides learning folk songs and dances.
This year 1.2 million children can enjoy the summer holiday. According to the data of the National Association of Hungarian Parents, despite the existence of the municipal day care the number of “locked up children” can be estimated to several hundreds of thousands, who are left alone all day long due to the work of their parents. Only 10% of children from the age group 7-10 go on organized holidays, because their parents do not have money for the more popular camps. The camps organized with the educational system of Scouting in mind, under the supervision of trained leaders provide a solution for this social problem as well as the families in need. The Scout summer camps are the cheapest forms of camping today besides municipal day care.