SAMARA, RUSSIA – THE HEART OF THE NATION
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.