A low-cost three-day camp for 17 middle and high school aged students aimed at teaching participant team-building and critical thinking skills to address issues that they encounter daily in their closest community – their school.

Project Title: ‘Motivation for Change’ Camp
Project Location: Smila, Cherkaska region in Ukraine
$180 in FLEX Alumni Grant Program Funding

On December 18-20, Bohdana Kozubenko ’08 co-organized an inspirational camp for 17 middle and high school students.  The Motivation for Change camp aimed to help participants identify, visualize, and implement their dreams projects by offering trainings to develop their presentation, debating, and team-working skills. The camp took place at Smila High School #2, which provided the venue, equipment, and meal preparation for the event.  Other project partners included the Grand Park hotel and restaurant complex, which hosted the award ceremony, the Smilyanska Narodna Rada, a citizen organization that supplied free refreshments, and several individuals who volunteered and provided in-kind support.

Camp participants were selected based on their answers to essays on the topic ‘Every New Day Is…’. Each new day in the camp was different and offered an exciting range of activities and classes.

Bohdana Kozubenko - presentsThe first day of the Motivation for Change Camp was dedicated to identifying the participants’ dreams. ‘Once students defined what they would like to achieve in the future, they created visual representations of their dreams in the format of a collages and discussed how to make them come true with other participants,’ shared Bohdana.

During the second day, participants divided into groups and worked on identifying existing problems in their school. The students address bullying, coping with excessive amount of homework, and organize inclusive school events. By the end of the day each group presented the issues and solution strategies in front of their peers and three representatives of the school staff. ‘It was very useful for the school administration to learn about school problems from the point of view of the students,’ noted Bohdana.

Bohdana Kozubenko - Debates-personalitiesOn the last day the participants took part in debates where they visualized how to grasp their dreams and then presented their final action plans to their peers at the plenary. The camp was concluded with an award ceremony where everyone received a participation certificate and shared his/her feedback.

‘The participants felt really inspired. Many emphasized that the teamwork activities were particularly valuable, because the activities allowed them to see other people’s perspectives and ways to tackle challenges,’ says Bohdana.   The camp was featured in a news report on local TV (minute 3) and a separate video was created by the organizers. Moreover, the school administration is now planning to conduct motivational workshops for their students and invite guest speakers to these events.

The participants have been keeping in touch with each other and the organizers via Vkontakte (photos of the project can be seen here). Bohdana intends to hold annual reunions for the participants and hopes to organize the Motivation for Change Camp will become an annual event. Bohdana also presented on her FLEX experience at the camp and encouraged participants to apply.