Horizons Scholarship Programme | Holiday memories

For the Horizons Scholarship Programme, August is the time we all get together: our team, our beneficiaries from all over Poland, our coordinators and invited guests and partners. Again, we spent 11 days in the Olsztyn Lake District at the Perkoz Camp & Resort in a charming forest location by Lake Pluszne Wielkie. The meet-up was unique as it was the first time in a long while that we had an opportunity to spend that time all together in person in a group of almost 150 and, most importantly, in safe conditions, true to our ‘Safety First’ motto! 

Our beneficiaries had a variety of activities to choose from during their stay at the Horizons summer camp. We were able to provide them thanks to the presence of our multi-skilled coordinators and with the support of our partners. On the initiative of the Starak Foundation, our strategic partner on this programme, and drawing on the experience of the Polpharma Scientific Foundation, the participants underwent a first aid course, including CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) training. This is one of the essential rescue procedures that everyone should know and be able to perform.

In preparing our holiday offer, we could also rely on the engagement of the Kosciuszko Foundation, which invited US volunteers of the Teaching English in Poland program to our summer camp. Throughout the stay, our foreign guests taught English in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere in a non-school format, providing a closer look at American culture and customs. 

The Horizons summer camp is also an opportunity to build an ethos of civil society engagement in our beneficiaries. By working with the Polska Debatuje Foundation, focused on developing the Polish debate community, a workshop was held on the art of debate and addressing problems through constructive discussion. Meetings in individual groups culminated in a debate with the Horizons beneficiaries on the core curriculum for secondary schools. We were absolutely impressed by their public speaking skills, including those gained from the workshop.

That was also the time for a journey back to the roots of our organisation. As every year, a knowledge competition about the Foundation’s patron, professor Roman Czernecki, took place preceded by memories shared by Marek Michalewski. Igor Czernecki, the head of the Foundation’s Governing Council, also made an appearance at Perkoz and, obedient to tradition, challenged teens to chess matches. He also held a discussion on the roots of philosophy based on Plato’s dialogue Euthyphro. 

The EFC Foundation’s founder, Andrzej Czernecki, put an emphasis on developing not only the mind, but also the body. Hence, our schedule featured numerous sports activities for our summer contenders to take part in every day. Just like before, this year’s highlight was sailing lessons taught by a team of instructors. We sailed small Optimists and nimble Omegas but also two-masted DZ training ketches. It was as much a great pleasure as it was a great challenge! Luckily, there were many enthusiasts of the sport, and, on top of that, some of the group obtained a sailing licence. And those who preferred other sports could go for kayaks, SUPs or water polo, all under the watchful eye of lifeguards. Many tried their hand at zip-lining and archery, which provided many occasions for togetherness and great fun.

Indeed, there were plenty of opportunities for socialising. Daily cycling trips, numerous bonfires and discos, walks and sports competition events all helped to strengthen relations between the campers. This was of massive importance as we invited teens from Ukraine to our Horizons summer camp as part of our ‘Mission Nightingale’. We wanted those special and war-stricken young people to spend time with their peers in a comfortable setting surrounded by friendly faces. 

This year’s Horizons summer camp will stay in our memories for long. The sense of community, but also of diversity and mutual understanding evoked unforgettable emotions. Some of the memories were captured on a video that we will be happy to share with you soon.

Thank you for your trust and we are looking forward to future meet-ups full of adventure and inspiration!