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Open World Alumni Hold Environmental Youth Camp on Lake Ilmen
July 30, 2006

Campers discuss creative ideas for youth initiative development
Campers at a restored well formerly overgrown by grass up to two meters tall
From July 10 to 30, 2006, in the village of Korostyn (Novgorod Region), the Healthy Lifestyle organization held an interregional environmental youth camp called Lake Ilmen Area – 2006. The project was developed and organized by Olga Boitzova and Tatiana Malkova, 1999 Open World alumni from Novgorod. The camp was sponsored by the Novgorod Regional Committee for Environmental Protection and Natural Resources; the Regional Center for Ecological Information; the Youth LINX Program; and the Novgorod Regional Committee for Youth Affairs, Sports, Physical Training and Recreation.

The project brought together about 70 young people (14 to 25 years old) from Novgorod city as well as several different small towns and villages around Novgorod Region. The youths included 20 volunteers who stayed and worked at the camp for three weeks, while the remaining 50 campers came for one or two weeks.

The project’s main goal was to provide local youth with an opportunity for active recreation through involvement in local community development. The project also gave the participants a new appreciation for the local culture, history and nature.

The camp program included campaigns for cleaning up the area around Lake Ilmen; working with tourists, hikers and campers (including taking surveys, talking to people about environmental issues, and putting up information boards); constructing a seven-mile environmental youth trail on the territory of the Ilmen Gilnt natural reserve ; cleaning up a pond near the local cultural and recreation center in Korostyn; and restoring “Priest’s Well” (building the shell, clearing the grass, putting up public notices, etc.). The camp participants also began restoring and remodeling the Shelonnik Center for Youth Initiatives, the future center for local youth groups.

In addition to taking part in socially relevant campaigns and events, the campers participated in ecological games, a training session on writing proposals for environmental tourism projects, and several workshops.

This camp is yet another excellent example of how Open World alumni use their leadership positions and skills to work with local youth for the betterment of their community.