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China 2015


Inaugural Conference of China Camp Education Alliance

At the conclusion of the symposium held at Gehua Camp in Qinhuangdao, China in April of 2014, the various parties who were present endorsed the formation of a China Camp Education Alliance. Educators, camp operators, educational travel groups, government representatives and ICF members recognized the need for and value of a fresh approach to youth development in China – one that incorporated non-formal education - the kind of intentional educational activity that is typical in camping formats across the world.

In just one short year, spearheaded by the IDEAS foundation in China, the 11 founding organizations have not only created the organization known as the China Camp Education Alliance but generated a very professional inaugural conference. Zhao Wei (Lily) of IDEAS serves as both first president and principal inspiration for the work of CCEA

Beginning with pre-conference programs held at Gehua Camp in Qinhuangdao, training included the first International Camp Director Course to be held in China. Connie Coutellier (USA), Andrew McGuckian (AUS), Tennant Kiu (SGP) along with Brendan Smith (AUS) provided the training. The program also offered other workshops in program design and camp development. Almost 90 participants were registered in these various trainings.

Moving to Beijing, the China Camp Education Conference took on a particular formal turn with a highly professional event involving almost 400 participants from all over China. Educators, government officials from the Ministry of Education, practitioners were joined by various international presenters and representatives from several countries’ camping associations. Blending beautiful cultural elements with keynote presentations, parallel sessions and a two-day exposition hall, this conference promises to be both an annual and must-attend event in East Asia.

ICF Board representation included John Jorgenson (CAN), Bill Oakley (AUS), Andrew McGuckian (AUS), Don Cheley (USA) and Valery Kostin (RUS). Michael Thompson, Scott Brodie, Steve Baskin, Andy Pritikin, Aleksey Zubakhin (RUS) were joined by other presenters and delegates from China, Australia, Canada, Russia and England.

Camping Fellowship
May, 22, 2015
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Samara, Russia - The Heart of the Nation

Samara 1

Each April, in the heart of Russia, a small collection of camp directors and educators gathers together to discuss various matters related to camping and youth development in their region. The executive director of this particular camping association is Natalia Shahova. Her work and the work of the association are typical of the work that is going on all over the world. It is hard work. As with many other camping communities, the volunteer base is small and the challenges are big. How to bring understanding of camp youth development to a bureaucratic oversight, to other education professionals and to a distracted public?

For the past several years, Natalia has managed to bring some outside support to help spread the word and inspire the camp directors in Samara region. This year, Svetlana Petrova of St Petersburg and Valery Dolgikh of Perm were joined by John Jorgenson from ICF for a series of events at schools, camps, and conferences to support development. The main message from all three of these presenters from outside the region is that you are stronger together.

Natalia’s work is supported and sponsored by other camp leaders and visionaries. Most notably, Marat Alyushev has recognized for many years what many of us have also discovered. He knows that the strength and success of any one camp is more assured when the community of camps is strong and successful. Across the world, volunteers have offered time, energy and leadership to this cause – locally, nationally and internationally. This work is work away from the enormous work in their own particular camp and contributes to a greater good. Each voice that joins the chorus brings a brighter and bolder future for camping and youth.

Samara Region is growing stronger with every successful event.


Camping Fellowship
May, 25, 2015
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Camp Robin Hood - A Legendary Camp
Like Marat Alyushev in Samara, Taras Kononets, and his wife Svetlana Slobozhanina, are working to make a difference in Russia and in camping. Having founded Camp Industry (a collection of distinct programs: Camp Robin Hood, Karolina Camp and Motor Camp developed over the past decade), they could have stopped there, to focus on their own site development, marketing and staff training. Instead (and in addition), they are active in camping policy development with the Russian Federation and they have founded the International Camp Counselors Course.
This year’s ICCC (the sixth year that it has operated was held at the Robin Hood/Motorcamp/Karolina camp site south of Moscow and welcomed camp directors and staff from camps in several other regions from Russia as well as a team of business students from a nearby university. The leadership each year has come from a wide range of international camp communities. Presenters from camps in Turkey, Germany, Canada, USA and South Africa have been invited over the years. They have brought fresh ideas to keep the growth of Russian camps equally fresh. Each presenter has also been overwhelmed by the quality, energy and commitment of the young people in attendance.
No director works alone and Taras has gathered around him an exceptional team of young camp directors and camp professionals - providing them with both opportunity and inspiration to make a difference in the world. 
This year's three day workshop included both keynote presentations and breakout sessions. Harry Cunningham from England with camping background in USA, Croatia and South Africa and John Jorgenson from ICF joined the great leadership team from Camp Industry. 

Camping Fellowship
May, 27, 2015
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