Summer of 2022. The mission is to provide Ukrainian children with sports, active and unforgettable vacations. The international charitable organization Parimatch Foundation took on the responsibility to do everything possible so that children who were directly affected by the war could distract from everyday life, find new friends, and sports hobbies, and recover mentally even in this very difficult time for Ukraine. Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Russia, the Foundation has launched the «Help to Ukraine» program and brought together efforts and partners in the areas of medical, psychological, social, and humanitarian support. The organization of sports camps for the physical and psychological rehabilitation of children is a special project of this program, which proves that there is a place for real joy, bright emotions, and summer drive even in wartime.
The foundation assumed all the costs, which are more than 6 million hryvnias, arising from the organizing camps in three countries Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Cyprus.
A total of 380 children of different ages from different parts of Ukraine, including the displaced children from Kharkiv, Donetsk, Luhansk, and Zaporizhia regions,children-athletes from the Mykolaiv region, children from large families in the Kyiv, Lviv, and Ternopil regions, as well as children whose parents have been injured in the war or are currently defending Ukraine at the frontline were able to visit summer camps organized by the Foundation. 270 children had a rest in one of the recreation centers of picturesque Zakarpattia. Thanks to the Foundation’s partnership with the BySport (Cyprus) organization, 60 children were able to visit Cyprus, and the Jaguar FC coaches and the Sport und Reisen Gommern UG organization contributed to the fact that another 50 children had the opportunity to go on vacation to Bulgaria.
The first summer camp shifts started in July. In particular, Zakarpattia could accept 3 camps which lasted 14 days each. During these two weeks, the camp participants had a great sports program: yoga, football, volleyball, dance, gymnastics, hiking, and swimming classes are planned for kids. They will be divided into groups according to age and sports training preferences and will work with a separate sports mentor and coach of the Vodogray camp. In addition, under the initiative, children can choose classes based on their interests: music, singing, drawing, journalism, blogging, web design, foreign languages, etc. These classes are suitable for both children and teenagers.
One more camp program feature is the patriotic upbringing of the younger generation. They will learn about the State, its structure, central values, and its achievements. Every new day in the camp will be dedicated to a new topic. It can be The Day of Spirit and Unity, The Day of Economy and Financial Literacy, or The Day of Elections and Democracy. Each camp participant will be involved in quests, conferences, concerts, etc. Each participant of the camp was involved in quests, conferences, and concerts. Mental health was also an important component of the camps, so the children were able to get rid of anxiety, stress, and negative memories.
Cyprus hosted two sports camps for Ukrainian children. The Cyprus camp’s activities included canoeing, hiking, cycling, swimming, Zumba, and even archery. Cyprus Olympians, athletes of the Kayaking and Canoeing Federation of Cyprus, and Yacht Club Kyrenia visited the camp to especially encourage children to play sports. Professional athletes turned into instructors for young participants of the camp just for a few hours so they were able to try a new sport.
The meeting with the players of FC Aris Limassol was the same interesting for children. The star footballers showed some of their tricks and conducted training on the sand of the seashore. And in Cyprus, the international humanitarian organization Hope4Children held two special events oriented ta play activities and art for children who survived war trauma. The specialists of the organization were impressed by the activity and concentration of the children at the training.
The Bulgarian camp took place in August and became a unique mix of an active sports camp and a beach vacation. The children trained, took part in various competitions, and also rested every day on the beach or in the water park, and got to know the culture and traditions of hospitable Bulgaria.
— Sport always helps in stressful situations, it is an emotional engine. But now the competition and just the training process, when the child is distracted from the outside information, it is already good. Children communicated a lot, had fun, and splashed out their emotions, — Denys Sukhoruk, president of the Jaguar sports academy, shared his impressions of the camp in Bulgaria. — In the camp, the children relaxed and changed their usual way of life, and environment, they began to reveal themselves differently, but the most important thing is that they rested, strengthened morally, and were distracted from stressful situations.
The Parimatch Foundation keeps doing everything possible to improve the health and well-being of society by providing children with equal opportunities and access to sports and education. That is why children’s camps initiated by the Foundation are focused on sports and physical activities.
— We are sure that sports will help to improve children’s mental health. While staying in the camps, the children will get psychological rehabilitation, which is the priority area of work supported by the Foundation. Therefore, all centers’ programs include art therapy and group works with children to overcome fears, stress, and aggression. We keep on working to ensure that such children’s sports camps become traditional, and their geography expands, — says the president of the Parimatch Foundation, Kateryna Biloruska.
We are sure that every day spent at Parimatch Foundation camps was unforgettable for children, and summer 2022 became calm, cozy, and full of love and support.