PROJECTS / Summer Camp 2000
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Summer Camp 2000

On the way to understanding and friendship - Report on the Summer camp 2000 for young people from Bosnia-and-Hercegovina, the Netherlands, and Germany – a project of CAMPUS15 – Youth Goes for Peace

Young people on the way to Europe

Curiosity, a splendid mood, and a lot of good will – this is what 35 young people arriving for the CAMPUS15 summer camp 2000 on July 26th in Bornheim, Germany, brought along from their homes.
The young people aged 14 to 17 came from all different countries – the Republika Srpska and the Bosniak-Croat Federation of Bosnia-and-Hercegovina (BiH), the Netherlands, and Germany. Usually, the young participants from BiH have few opportunities for personal meetings, but here they were able to enjoy a unique experience: Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks met up with young people their age but from the other, the “hostile” side of their home country, and at the same time they got to know peers from other European countries. Only three weeks later, at the great goodbye on August 12th, friendships had grown and peaceful dialogue had begun.

The aims

For the third time in three years, CAMPUS15 – Youth Goes for Peace, a private non-profit-organisation from Lohmar, Germany, brought together youngsters from different countries in its bid for peace and reconciliation. Young people who grew up in times of conflict are given a chance to build up respect and trust in their alleged “enemies”, and at the same to to meet other young people from Europe and discover a European perspective for themselves. All this has to happen in an enabling environment that lends the necessary support for such contacts.
And it happened again in the summer camp 2000. Under the leadership of Kirsten Spiekermann, an experienced adventure pedagogue with Catweasel Cologne, an international team of counsellors from BiH, England, and Germany took over the organisation of the common project. Together with the young people, a Camp Treaty was developed and signed, which laid the basis for three weeks of living under one roof.

Experiences days of companionship

The summer camp took place in the Youth Academy Walberberg near Cologne, a modern youth recreation facility near a large nature resort. From here, trips took the group climbing, raft building and rafting, swimming, hiking, and also on a whole day of fun at nearby Phantasialand. Adventure and games and team sports, including local teams from regional sports organisations on the official sports day, were also part of the programme. Even baseball was tried out with great enthusiasm.
During workshop week, the participants could choose between different creative activities: dancing, drumming, mask building and mask performance, as well as Tipi building. The construction of such a large Indian tent was guided by a group of social pedagogues from England. The young people also created their own newspaper, designed a large painting on one wall of the Youth Academy, and produced their own video about the highlights of life in the summer camp, of which each participant received a copy at the end of camp. During the “How we live” session, there were intensive discussions among the participants, which were channelled in the form of drawings or presentations for the rest of the group.
On several days, group discussions took place. German, English, and Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian were the languages in which lively communication was going on. The talks mainly centred on the thoughts and emotional state of young people. But even difficult subjects, such as loss of the homeland, death of relatives or friends and other personal strokes of fate were addressed.
A lot of efforts and enthusiasm went into preparing the big farewell party, which was joined by invited friends and sponsors of CAMPUS15. The consul general of BiH in Bonn, Mr. Sabeta Fuad, also took part as a distinguished guest.

Future

Once more, a summer camp made clear that there are common grounds for the young people from BiH. They all share the view that they carry no responsibility for what happened in their country. And they know that they have to become active in order to secure a peaceful future back home. In the end, they were united in their hope that this summer camp would not remain their only meeting. There is a surprisingly high willingness among them to join a reunion in BiH in the year 2001.

Funding and support

Summer camp 2000 was funded by the European Commission, the German Foreign Office, the Landschaftsverband Rhineland, the “Kuratorium: Help for the Balkan countries”, the LIONS CLUB Siegburg, several protestant church communities of the Rhine-Sieg district, the German Bundeswehrverband and EMITEC company in Lohmar. The Rhine-Sieg district, the German Telekom, the Kaufhof in Siegburg, the airline company AIR BOSNA, the media office of the German Bundeswehr in Sankt Augustin, the Youth Centre at the Probsthof in Bonn, the Rhine-Sieg Public Transport Association, the city of Bornheim, the Guard Battaillon Siegburg, the Medical Centre of the German Bundeswehr in Cologne, Catweasel Cologne, the German Alpenverein – Section Bonn, and many others supported CAMPUS15 in carrying out the summer camp 2000. However, without private donations, membership fees, comprehensive voluntary work and contributions in kind, the summer camp could not have been realised.


Media coverage

The following media reported on the summer camp 2000:
• Rhein-Sieg Rundschau,
• Rhein-Sieg-Anzeiger,
• General-Anzeiger,
• Lohmarer Stadtanzeiger,
• Der Weg (Protestant Weekly newspaper),
• Deutsche Welle – in the programme for BiH as well as the worldwide english programm
• Radio WDR 2 and WDR 5.

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