Twice, Alex and I have gotten to go camping at Hortitza. The first time, we went with some of our friends and teachers at the Lyceum, and 7 students went, too. The second time, we held a small camp for students at the Lyceum. Six students and six adults were present.
I really enjoy camping. In the woods, it is nice and cool, with a breeze often blowing through the trees. The lake at Hortitza is very refreshing on a hot day, and I like swimming and playing in the water. It’s always nice to sit around a campfire and relax, eat, play games, or tell stories. At night, I enjoy going out into the sunflower field and looking up at the stars that shine so brightly in the dark sky.
Our camp went well, although it wasn’t quite like I expected. Yulia and Jenya planned a schedule for our three days that included 6 hours of time when Alex and I would be teaching or leading games. We worked really hard over the weekend to plan things to do with the students. This takes a lot of work, since we don’t speak much Russian! During the actual camp, though, we didn’t follow the schedule, and Alex and I only lead about 30 minutes of activities. But, I think the students liked the songs we sang and games we played.
The biggest problem for me when doing something like this is communicating with others. It is frustrating when everyone is sitting around the campfire or eating a meal, and everyone is talking. Sometimes everyone will stand up and go do something that they were just talking about, but I don’t know what’s going on! I know this will get better as I learn more of the language, but it’s still difficult!
I was very proud of the students for spending an hour of camp time picking up garbage around the camp sites at Hortitza. I hope they understand how bad trash is for our environment and the Earth. Unfortunately, when we were leaving, a student threw her candy wrapper out the window of the bus. I was disappointed that all our hard work was so quickly forgotten.
Nonetheless, I enjoyed spending a few days in the forest, and I hope we can do it again!
Our group enjoying dinner in the forest.