Summer Camp 2011 - report

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ROOF Summer Camp 2011

Serving the Children of Belskoye-Ustye Orphanage, Porkhov, Pskov Region (All photography by volunteer Katharina Tjart, unless otherwise specified)

CONTENTS Thanks and Attributions.............................................................. 2 The Orphanage............................................................................ 3 Camp 2011.................................................................................. 4 Our Team 2011........................................................................... 6 Something New: Specialists’ Visit 2011...................................... 7 Something New: Swimming Pool 2011...................................... 9 Financial Report........................................................................ 10

Contents & Attributions

Appendix 1: Meet Our Team...................................................... 11 Appendix 2: Special Days & Events 2011.................................. 14 Appendix 3: Group Photo Galleries 2011.................................. 28 THANK YOU, FRIENDS!! ROOF wishes to thank Tchibo Russia, Campbell’s Russia, Dominanta, all our private donors and Pfizer’s matching program for funding this year’s summer camp. We also wish to thank Director Elena Vaschenko, the entire orphanage administration, the Administration of the Pskov Oblast, the Federal Migration Service of the City of Moscow, The Russian State University of Physical Education, the Ronald McDonald Fund, and all our volunteers, for making summer camp 2011 possible!

Photo by: Jessica Lee


Together, we aim to create a model for reforming psycho-neurological children’s homes across Russia... ...until they are no longer needed

The Orphanage

“Belskoye-Ustye Psycho-neurological Children’s Home for the Mentally Under-developed” is a very special place. A couple years ago, it became the first of 151 psycho-neurological orphanages in Russia to open a school for its children, who range in age from 4 to 19. For 12 years, ROOF has sponsored educational programs for Belskoye-Ustye, and the cornerstone of these programs has been its international, educational summer camp, which always brings new friends, new ideas, new sponsors. Children from psycho-neurological orphanages are not sent to summer camps like other orphans, so ROOF brings summer camp to them for the month of July, each year. The 80 children of Belskoye-Ustye are divided into 9 groups, based on age, sex and approximate developmental level. Not all of the children attend the newly opened school, but those who desire to learn are generally given the chance. We have come a very long way in 12 years. Although children from psychoneurological homes are generally transferred to adult mental institutions at the age of 18, special programs pioneered by ROOF and now run by ROOF and Rostok (another local charity) help keep 1 in 5 young adults from Belskoye-Ustye from this fate. The orphanage’s administrators and staff are committed to enabling and preparing as many of the children as possible for a life outside the institution, and the continued commitment of ROOF is crucial in helping them achieve an environment which stimulates the children’s interest in life, rather than building a sense of entitlement in them.


The ideal combination of rigorous service to neighbor and peaceful rest in beautiful nature, camp is addictive – many volunteers become regular visitors

Camp 2011

“The children are helping us as much as we are helping them.” Perhaps we hadn’t realized that the children would also help us, when we planned for our first summer camp in July 2000. In the sports hall of the Belskoye-Ustye children’s home there is a large, painted slogan that says, “O Sport – You are Life!” Something similar could be said of coming to Belskoye-Ustye to serve these children – this service creates Life itself in us. Base camp is a large house next to a pine forest in the hamlet of Baranovo, 1.5km from the orphanage. Some volunteers camp on the property and others live dormitory-style in the house. Although there is time to swim or pick berries, volunteering at the summer camp is at least a full time job. When not engaged in activities with the children, volunteers are most likely found planning those activities back in Baranovo. We work in pairs or small groups, each assigned to work primarily with two of the nine orphanage groups. Over the month a volunteer gets to know the children in the assigned groups very well and also takes part in frequent, large-group activities involving all the orphanage children. Six days a week, volunteers plan two activity sessions per day (morning and afternoon), returning to Baranovo for a meal between sessions. Volunteers are welcome to spend less-formally organized time with the children outside these hours, and are invited to take part in all activities from morning exercises (8am) until supper time (8pm). Volunteers are encouraged to confer with the orphanage psychologist and other staff.

Photo by: Marina Nord


The month-long camp combines standard days and special activities

A Day at Camp 2011

A ceremonial gathering opens the day; each group announces its name and slogan for the camp – then we hear the plans for the day.

Timetable for a Standard Day

Special Days and Activities in 2011

8:00 - Rise and shine •• 8:30 - Breakfast •• 9:20 - Volunteers set out for the orphanage •• 9:45 - 10.00 Group roll-call, announcements •• 10:00 - 11:30 Morning planned activities 11:30 - Staff consultations, optional free time with children 14:00 - Lunch •• 14:30 - 16:00 Preparation for afternoon activities •• 16:05 - Volunteers set out for the orphanage •• 16:30 - 18:00 Afternoon planned activities •• 18:00 - 20:00 Optional free time with children •• 20:00 - Supper; planning activities for next day ••

Photo by: Georgina Leslie

Ivan Kupala (St. John’s Day) Travel Day Concert/Variety Show & Polonoye Village Fair Health Day with specialist visitors from Physical Education Institute (Moscow) and the Ronald McDonald Fund Hikes for Groups 3, 7 and 9 Reports on each special Nature Day activitity – prepared by the Day of Professions volunteers themselves – can Sports Day be found in the Appendices. Shopping Day Post Day


28 people from 9 different countries...bound by a common cause

Our Team 2011

ROOF’s international team taps the strengths of many different cultures’ approaches to working with special-needs children.

In summer 2011 we were 28 people from 9 different countries: 25 adults, 3 children, 10 Russians, 10 British and 7 Americans, as well as single representatives of France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Poland and Canada (don’t try the maths – there were several volunteers with dual-nationality!) Though all but two of our foreign volunteers were Russian speaking to different degrees, we were nevertheless short on Russian volunteers in 2011 – especially as a few of our Russians only worked at base camp and were not part of the team going into the orphanage. Please meet our 2011 team in Appendix 1.

Summer Camp 2011 marked the starting point of aggressive work to expand ROOF’s volunteer visits to Belskoye-Ustye so that they will be year-round; we are now actively recruiting volunteers in Moscow and across western

Russia. We are committed to making year-round weekend and week-long visits a reality. To this end, our 2011 summer camp volunteers have pulled together to describe each child in Belskoye-Ustye orphanage, including personal talents and challenges. Armed with this information, we hope to recruit just the right volunteers to work with specific children and in specific groups. Detailed information on groups and specific children is available to prospective volunteers.

Photo by: Marina Nord


Something New – Specialists’ Visit 2011

Adaptive Physical Education leverages the link between movement and mental development... Experts from the Russian State University of Physical Education, working with the Ronald McDonald Fund, visited the orphanage and led a seminar in Adaptive Physical Education.

A two-day visit in middle of July 2011 is only the beginning of a relationship which ROOF hopes to foster between the Russian State University of Physical Education and Belskoye-Ustye Psycho-neurological Children’s Home. Natalia Rubtsova, Head of the Department of Adaptive Physical Education, wrote her PhD dissertation on Adaptive Physical Education and has a career of experience working to stimulate mental and physical development in disabled people by properly understanding the relationship between bodily movement and cognitive activity. In her seminar for orphanage staff and summer camp volunteers, she spoke of many inspiring events from her own personal practice, including helping patients with backbone injuries – condemned to lie flat for the rest of their lives – to sit, and even walk again. Natalia was joined by three other specialists, including the Head of the Ronald McDonald Fund in Russia, Ilya Buriy. Together, the specialists gave lectures and practical seminars to introduce orphanage staff and volunteers to the methods of Adaptive Physical Education. The McDonald Fund organized the camp’s Health Day activities, at which – in addition to amazingly fun sports games – the specialists had an opportunity to work briefly which each child in the orphanage. ROOF looks forward to hosting the specialists again at Baranovo, as they have agreed to return to Belskoye-Ustye to design a special program of therapy for each child!

Photo by: Andrew Williams

Photo by: Georgia Williams

Photo by: Georgia Williams


Specialists’ Visit Photo Gallery

Photos in this Gallery by: Andrew and Georgia Williams


Thank you, Tchibo Employees!

Something New – Swimming Pool 2011

Although Belskoye-Ustye is located at the fork of two rivers, stricter safety standards were keeping the children out of the water despite the scorching summer...

Summers in Belskoye-Ustye are almost always scorching hot, and air-conditioning is a luxury rarely heard of in rural Russia. Because of safety concerns, ROOF and the orphanage both want to say a big thank you to Tchibo’s Moscow employees, who came to the rescue by passing the hat and collecting enough for the orphanage to buy a swimming pool. During the summer camp the correct pool was chosen, purchased in St. Petersburg, brought to Belskoye-Ustye and assembled. Although we don’t have pictures of the children using the pool since it was only just assembled at the end of the summer camp, the children will have benefitted during the month of August, and the pool is there for future years. The orphanage administration is also currently seeking permission to rope off a section of the beautiful nearby beach, so that the children can again swim in the river in future years. The swimming pool, however, will also be very useful for Adaptive Physical Education purposes during the summer time.


Finances: 2011

Hot meals for volunteers ( July 1-31) Transport* Base camp salaries** Volunteer medical docs and visa registrations Materials for camp activities Household supplies Specialists’ visit*** Maintenance of the base-camp house Communication BASIC SUMMER CAMP COSTS Swimming Pool for the Orphanage

New well for drinking water in Baranovo

Equipment investment for Baranovo House**** TOTAL COSTS & INVESTMENT

151,216.66p. 115,613.02p. 47,000.00p. 30,338.00p. 25,790.30p. 24,864.51p. 16,700.00p. 4,145.00p. 3,699.00p. 413,366.49p.

$5,214.37 $3,986.66 $1,620.69 $1,046.14 $889.32 $857.40 $575.86 $142.93 $127.55 $14,254.02




61,435.00p. 592,401.49p.


$2,118.45 $20,427.64

* Includes cost of train tickets to and from the camp for volunteers, local transport to deliver food and goods to the camp, and bus rental to take the volunteers sight-seeing in Pskov Oblast for one day (Pechory, Izborsk, Pskov). ** Cook, Purchaser/Deliverer, 2 Groundsmen and the Volunteer Coordinator. *** Train tickets and hotel stay for the Head of the Department of Adaptive Physical Education (University of Physical Education, Sport and Tourism), the Head of the Ronald McDonald Fund (Russia), and two of their helpers. **** Refrigerator, microwave, ladder, marquee (for meals), kitchen equipment.


Mathilde de Germain & Stas Kuznetsov.

Appendix 1 Meet our team: 2011

Mathilde is a student of Public Law at the Sorbonne in Paris and a fluent Russian speaker. She is a long-time scout leader and ROOF summer camp veteran. Stas is a graduate of Belskoye-Ustye orMarina Nord. phanage and is now caretaker at ROOF’s Baranovo Head of the 2011 team, Marina House. has taught English in China and organized tours for groups around Russia. A modern-languages Adam Sriskandan (right). enthusiast who currently has an Adam is in his final year as a student of modoffice job in Moscow, she comern anguages (Russian and German) at Oxford plained that her Korean (!) got in University. Before coming to Belskoye-Ustye he the way of her (fluent) English. had spent time studying Russian in Yaroslavl. After university, Adam intends to study law.

Vladimir Sukhov.

Georgia Forth (right).

Photo by: Georgina Leslie

In the past, Vladimir was a ROOF student in Moscow, and this was his second time volunteering. His current job is at Starbucks in Moscow, but he would like to work fulltime for ROOF. He has two godsons in Belskoye-Ustye.

Georgia is a Russian Studies and English Lit student at the University of Edinburgh, with considerable experience working as a specialneeds teaching assistant. As her mother is a clinical psychologist, she has taken a keen interest in analyzing the psychological and other cognitive struggles of children in Belskoye-Ustye (e.g. autism).

Timothy Patitsas.

Liza Chirkova.

Photo by: Georgia Williams

Liza is a student of PR at the Northwest Russian State Academy of Civil Service in St. Petersburg. In 2011 she was participating in her fourth consecutive summer camp in Belskoye-Ustye, and her experience, never-ending creativity and mirth were all invaluable to the entire team.

Photo by: Georgia Williams

Professor of Ethics at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Seminary in Boston, USA, Timothy was one of three ROOF Board members who participated as camp volunteers in 2011! 11

Georgia Williams.

Photo by: Georgia Williams

One of ROOF’s founders and current Chairman of the Board, Georgia first visited BelskoyeUstye in March 2000 and helped organize the first summer camp in that same year.

Anna Williams.

Photo by: Georgia Williams

Andrew Williams & Theo.

One of ROOF’s founders, Andrew holds degrees in Music (Oxford), Education (Cambridge)and Theology (Holy Cross). Theo was our youngest camp participant in 2011.

Chloe Barnes & Elizabeth Williams.

Anna (blondie on the right) and her Chloe is a 2nd year Russian and linguistics sister Elizabeth (pictured to the right student at the University of Oxford who is also interested in training as a speech and with Chloe Barnes) had great fun participating in activities with Group language therapist. As the eldest Williams child, Elizabeth was a great help this year 2 and in orphanage-wide activities. in Group 2.

Georgina Leslie (left).

A fourth year student at Kenyon College who has previously come to Russia with both Harvard and Middlebury language programs, Georgina has experience working at youth camps and teaching learning-disabled children.

Arielle Tselikis.

Photo by: Jessica Lee

Jessica Lee.

Photo by: Jessica Lee

Jessica is a third year Psychology and Sociology student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in the USA, and hopes to earn a PhD in Psychology. She is also a member of the US Air National Guard.

Photo by: Georgina Leslie

Arielle graduated from Hellenic College in Boston, USA in 2011. She has considerable experience both of charity work and of working at summer camps in the Greek Orthodox Church in America. Arielle intends to go on to study law.

Ilya Chistyakov.

Photo by: Georgina Leslie

Ilya recently started working as ROOF’s Executive Director. His higher education was in Economics, but he had over 10 years experience working as Deputy Director of another youth organization before joining ROOF.


Larisa & Nikita Ilin.

Katarzyna Gorska.

Photo by:Marina Nord

Kasia is from Poland and has just completed a degree in Modern Languages (French, Russian) at Oxford University. In 2011 she is returning to camp for the third time.

Photo by: Jessica Lee

Larisa was the cook for our 2011 summer camp. Her son, Nikita, who has learning disabilities following a childhood illness, was a tremendous help at base camp.

Philippa Mullins (right).

Katharina Tjart.

Philippa is an Oxford student in her final year Katya was our camp photographer who speaks fluent Russian. As a veteran rein 2011. Of German descent but turning to help us in Belksoye-Ustye for the born in Russia, she came back to third year running, Philippa knows the childiscover her Russian roots. She is dren well and her help is extremely valued. studying politics in The Hague.

Elena Nikolaeva.

Sergei Kudzik.

2011 was Sergei’s 4th year returning as a summer camp volunteer, and his experience and enthusiasm were invaluable to the team this year. He lives in nearby Pskov, where he works at the Pskov City Youth Center, organizing leisure activities for children.

Sergei Andreev.

Sergei is the ROOF project manager in Porkhov and a house parent at ROOF’s “Abilitation Center,” which provides housing for Belskoye-Ustye graduates, to keep them out of the adult institution.

Photo by: Jessica Lee

Lena is a student of the Pskov Pedagogical University and is studying to be a Mathematics teacher. 2011 is her second year as a summer camp volunteer.

Timothy Martin.

Tim, who recently completed his tour of service as Second Secretary at the Canadian Embassy in Moscow, was also a volunteer at ROOF’s first summer camp in 2000!

Photo by: Jessica Lee

Daniela di Gioia.

A linguist by education with degrees in Slavic Languages and Russian, Daniela took time off from her work as a sales manager at IBM to come to ROOF’s summer camp. 13

The Opening by Mathilde de Germain

The opening is a key moment in the summer camp. It gives the momentum to the other activities of the holidays, and announces what is unfolding in July: dances, new friends, adventures.

Appendix 2 Special Days & Events: 2011

The opening is important because of the show prepared by the volunteers, but more so as the first contact between the children of the orphanage and the volunteers. When the volunteers arrive at the orphanage, a group of children is already awaiting them outside, with their educators. Previous volunteers are surrounded by shouts of joy and hugs. The children don’t forget any one who has been before and call each one by his or her name! New volunteers are not forgotten: “What is your name? Are you from Moscow?” Many emotions are invoked all at once and are almost overwhelming. The gloomy grey of the orphanage building is hidden with bright frescos and games areas. A stage where the volunteers will perform the opening piece is splashed with colors, as the sounds of children’s excited voices fill the air, crying out their introduction: Sasha, Valia, Galia, Tania, Tonia, Oksana, Ioulia… The children sit in front of the stage, while volunteers put on their costumes and set the stage. This year, the volunteers have written a fairy tale about a trip around the world. Once upon a time… Adam, a new volunteer, starts traveling around the world to find people willing to help the children of Belskoye Ustye develop their gifts. American cowboys are ready to practice acrobatics with children. In Africa, a joyful tribe assisted by a Russian translator saves Adam from a tiger. In Asia, he is cured of his wounds by local sages. Back in Russia with all his new friends, Adam is hosted by Russian-speaking “babushkas” who also join the team. The volunteers go to the orphanage, where they eventually meet with the children! On each continent, Adam is welcomed with a dance, and by the exclamations coming from the children in the audience: “They dance so well!” The final dance, set to the Village People’s hit “YMCA”, is a camp tradition. It ignites something in the children’s minds. To the volunteers’ surprise, without being asked, children stand, and start to dance with them! They know the movements better than the volunteers themselves. The children have become the main actors and the volunteers are now the captivated audience. The show ends. The children thank the volunteers and go to lunch. Some stay and the Orthodox priest responsible for the orphanage gratefully says to the volunteers: “The summer camp is like a flower in the desert for these children”. The other volunteers have already returned to Baranovo, where they live, in order to organize the next activity: the holiday of “Ivan Kupala”. On the way back, their flashy and exotic clothes catch in the eye of the drivers. Two local farmers stop and engage in a discussion. “Who are you? Why do you wear folk hats? … How could we volunteer?”

Photo by: Jessica Lee

Orphanage Director Elena Nikolaevna, who makes ROOF’s summer camp possible.Thank you!

Photo by: Jessica Lee


Ivan Kupala Day by Vladimir Sukhov

The day called Ivan Kupala has its roots in the pagan midsummer holiday, and has been associated with the Church holiday of the birth of John the Baptist (24th June). In Russia the holiday is celebrated on the 7th of July, as a result of the fact that the Russian Orthodox Church still uses the Julian calendar, which currently lags 13 days behind the Gregorian. The celebration of Ivan Kupala is associated with the tradition of creating elaborate headdresses made out of grass and traditional dances and games in the open air.

Special Days & Events: 2011

This time, because of the short time scales we had for celebrating the holiday, volunteers spent a day weaving the elaborate grass headdresses for their groups. Even those who had never made Ivan Kupala wreaths before found fun in the activity according to their varying tastes. One group went looking for various grasses in the fields filled with grass and flowers while another sat weaving wreaths. In the afternoon we set out for Belskoye-Ustye for the second time that day‌ For me, the most pleasant and unexpected aspect of the holiday was the personal initiative the children of the orphanage showed in suggesting their own favourite games, to which they eagerly called their old and new friends among the volunteers. This, certainly, was the most gratifying part of the day. The restraint of the more inexperienced volunteers faded upon meeting the excitement of the children, who literally sparkled with joy! Finally!! If this holiday was organized with the goal of better acquainting the children and the volunteers, it certainly achieved its purpose very well! Photo by: Marina Nord

Photo by: Georgia Williams


Travel Day by Chloe Barnes

Originally, our camp was to have four themed weeks (north, south, east and west) to introduce the children to the idea of different cultures and ways of life across the globe. Especially as the camp hosts many foreign volunteers from different countries, this had seemed like a very good idea. Ultimately, it proved difficult organizationally to segregate activities into four discrete weeks, but Travel Day preserved the idea of introducing the strengths and beauty of different cultures. On Travel Day, the children from each of the orphanage groups toured four different “stations,” where they were offered the opportunity to play various games and engage in interesting activities. Station 1: Africa One of our volunteers, Kathi, from Germany, has visited Kenya and is learning Swahili. Kathi taught us a traditional Kenyan game, in which each person has to jump a pattern around a series of obstacles wearing a traditional Kenyan wrap and holding a long, stick-like percussion instrument between his legs. The patterned jumping makes a pleasing beat, and the children who were able learned the Swahili words for “hello,” “thank you,” “good” and “very” as they played the game. There was a lot of laughing as the children tried to remember the proper jumping pattern and hold the instrument between their legs. Those who are in wheelchairs got a chance to play the instrument and wear the wrap without jumping. Pedagogical Goals: The station exercised the children’s sense of rhythm, their coordination and their memory (both muscle and verbal). Station 2: Asia There were two games at the “Asia station,” and the children got the opportunity to try one or both. The first activity was to push a tennis ball with a stick through a maze dug in a sand box. The second was a 3-D maze made of string, which the children had a climb through without touching any of the pieces of string. The children especially enjoyed the second game, though some of the boys were so keen to win that they had trouble calming down to really understand the rules. The maze game was so popular, though, that it was repeated on the Day of Sport. Pedagogical Goals: Hand-Eye coordination (or whole body-eye coordination!), quietness/calmness of the body, problem solving.

Special Days & Events: 2011

Station 3: The Sea

One of the outside walls at the orphanage is painted brightly with colourful sea creatures. At the sea station, there were two games. In the first game, a volunteer impersonates sea-creatures from the wall, and the children have to guess which creature is being imitated. In the second game the children are tangled up and one child is given the task of sorting out the knot. The children enjoyed both games, but especially the second, in which their determination was particularly impressive. This game was repeated several times throughout the camp, because it proved excellent for encouraging the children to take turns, given that the children themselves nominate the “next” problem-solver after each round. Pedagogical Goals: Team-work, taking turns, problem solving, thinking skills and analysis. Station 4: Russia The activity, at the Russian station, was to colour Russian dolls. This was the last station, and the activity was geared to calm the children’s mood after three quite active stations. In addition, this station gave the children something to keep as a memory from travel day (since the children took their coloured dolls away with them). In retrospect, perhaps the activity should have been something other than colouring, as the children do get to do a lot of colouring on a day-to-day basis. The flip-side of this is that familiarity (both a familiar country and a familiar activity) helped to calm them down. A few children refused to participate in the doll-colouring activity. Pedagogical Goals: Accuracy, neatness, ability to participate in methodical activity, colour identification, composition.


Children’s Concert by Philippa Mullins

During the summer camp, a concert was held featuring children from various groups, volunteers and carers. The children prepared a variety of items with the help of their musical instructor, Maraghita. Oksana, Kristina, Lera, Natasha (all members of 6th group) performed a traditional dance, and the new musical group Bel’skoye Muzikanty (The Belskoye Musicians, which includes 8th group, excluding Artur and Roma, Natasha of 3rd group, Tonya of 6th group and Sonya, the daughter of the musical instructor) performed vocal and instrumental pieces (a recorder, a xylophone, a triangle, shakers and a toy saxophone were all used). The concert closed with a khorovod – a vocal number with original words – performed by Tonya and Yulia of 6th group and Natasha of 3rd group; a dance performed by Lesha and Anzur of 8th group; and a musical performance to Malen’kaya Strana (Little Country) presented by Anzur and Lesha of 8th group and Natasha, Yulia, Lera, Oksana and Kristina of 6th group. Children that were not directly involved in the performance on stage participated as spectators. In addition, two staff members sang and six of the volunteers volunteers performed an Indian dance.

Special Days & Events: 2011 The concert’s significance and effect could be enhanced by working on the principle of encouraging wider involvement. While it was laudable that the concert appeared to target and work upon specific strengths of certain group members (for example, Anzur and Lesha’s dance talents were harnessed and developed in their dancing the twist together), it unfortunately appeared to follow a more general trend of allowing those who are less capable in these skills, who refuse to participate fully, or who are disruptive to fall somewhat by the wayside. These people are shut out of the performance, thus not permitting it to be used as a valuable learning experience for them, but rather strengthening their self-identity as ‘incapable’. Such is especially the case for Artur, who was, with Roma, the only one of group 8 not to be involved in the performance, continuing his trend of avoiding involvement in activities and his difficulties on concentrating and focusing on one task.

Perhaps one solution to this problem could be the shift of focus from result to involvement and process. Such a shift in attitude could be gained by an increased number of smaller concerts allowing the orphanage to feel less presThe event was held to give the children further experience and thus confidence sure to aim for ‘result’ and to showcase their children each time and therefore in performing publicly prior to their performance at a festival celebrating the freeing them to allow wider participation. Within the performances themanniversary of the founding of a neighbouring village, Polonoye. This event and selves, more widespread intergroup work would also be pleasing. their preparation for it helped develop the children’s memory and concentration in the learning and practising of their various routines. Furthermore, it developed their skills in coping with public presentation, which requires them to deliver in a professional manner, performing to their best at a specific moment in time rather than when they wish. Team-work skills were also targeted, and it is especially notable that the items presented at the concert were not strictly presented by just one group, but were presented by children of different groups, thus helping children work together with others they might not usually work with. The concert also importantly included both volunteers and carers, whose participation added significance to the way in which the children perceived the concert and thus the importance of their performance. The children generally performed both confidently and competently and the resultant performance was of a high standard. Children felt more secure in their capabilities and felt that their hard work and achievement had been given more value by public performance. Less positively, a high level of rocking back and forth was noticeable in most of the children of the Bel’skoye Muzikanty group as they were playing their instruments.


Polonoye Village Fair by Georgina Leslie

Special Days & Events: 2011

A group of children, teachers, and volunteers went to a nearby town for a few hours to participate in the annual celebration of the anniversary of their village’s founding. The children had a variety of song and dance numbers, all of which they had previously performed in the concert at the orphanage. The day as a whole was a great opportunity for the volunteers and children to come together. Being outside the usual setting meant that volunteers got to interact with children they did not usually work with and to form closer bonds with those that they knew. Because the children were quite nervous about performing in front of such a large crowd, they came to the volunteers for support and reassurance, which meant that a slightly different kind of relationship was formed. The children got the chance to go a bit further afield and have a different experience from their every-day lives which was obviously refreshing and exciting for them. It was also a great chance for them to cheer each other on as they watched other groups performing.


Hikes by Georgia Forth

Special Days & Events: 2011

One morning most of Group 3 and Group 9 went on a walk. It had already been postponed twice due to adverse weather conditions (once because it was too hot and once because of torrential rain) but that morning the weather was fine. We assembled in the Sports Hall and bags of provisions and rugs were shared out for children to carry. Everyone was given something. We were all very excited. Valery Nikolayevich (who is in charge of Sport at the orphanage) sprayed everyone with insect repellent and made sure that we were all in long trousers and hats and then we were good to go. We set off through the forest, with Tim and Natasha pushing Gelia and Tanya’s wheelchairs over challenging, uneven terrain most of the way. Natasha was very determined and did not complain or claim she could not do it once, although even Tim was finding the task practically impossible. Several children collected berries and ate them along the way. Eventually we arrived at a huge clearing and began setting up. We laid out all the picnic rugs and then Valery Nikolayevich and some of the children set up a campfire while everyone else sunbathed and played ball games. Then the children took it in turns to toast bread and cook sausages over the campfire while a cauldron of tea boiled. Then everyone sat on the rugs and chatted while Valery Nikolayevich and the carers handed out sweets, biscuits and cups of tea. Lena did peoples’ hair, Natasha read a newspaper and Olya from group 9 and I bonded over not liking too much sugar in our tea. Then it was time to go home. Ira played a game where she pointed out all the tiny frogs on the way back, which was good because Group 3 had been asked to notice as many things as possible on the walk so they could make a poster about it in the afternoon. The main educational aim of the walk was to provide novelty and to give the children an enjoyable experience outside of the main grounds of the orphanage and the usual routine. The poster idea underlined this by encouraging the children to be more observant and aware of what was happening. Overall the walk was successful as fun was had by all and a reasonably good poster was made. Next time it might be good if the children collected physical things as well as experiences to create more tangible memories and make the point clearer for certain members of the group.

Photo by: Marina Nord 19

Nature Day by Liza Chirkova

Special Days & Events: 2011

Goals of the Activity:

•• To acquaint the children with the surrounding natural environment (forest, wilderness); •• To learn about forest animals (by looking at them); •• To go through a serious of challenges in game form. We ourselves became animals, with the help of a magical gypsy lady, acted by Liza Chirkova. Sandy-coloured Elephants, Fidgety Parrots, Enchanting Pandas, Bunny Rabbits, Mischievous Zebras:

We looked for berries with the help of a forest gnome.

We competed in dexterity with a fox and a wolf !

We helped a hare (zaika) do a puzzle (mozaika) – zaika-mozaika!


Nature Day continued...

And found a way out of the forest with a butterfly.

Special Days & Events: 2011

Results: •• The children received a host of new impressions from the forest on a summer’s evening; •• Role-playing games with animals developed imagination and expanded horizons; •• The children showed keen minds and physical strength to pass their forest tests and continue along the way. Some Observations: •• The children learned about new, exotic (to them) animals with the help of costume games – these animals were very different than the livestock the children usually see in Belskoye-Ustye! •• We had: exotic parrots, chameleons, zebras, pandas, to name a few. The children didn’t only make their own costumes, but enjoyed each others’ costumes at the dance party after Nature Day. •• Nature Day wasn’t just wonderful, but really quite amazing. The children had such grand fun imitating animals and were “over the moon” at the painted faces of the volunteers. After our walk through the woods we had a dance party and in the photographs you can see a crowd of satisfied, smiling faces :)

To view Liza’s beautiful, multi-page report with original formatting, please go to:

Photo by: Marina Nord 21

Sports Day by Adam Sriskandan

On Saturday 23rd July, the entire day’s activities were focused on sport, as a conclusion to the week’s focus on being physically active and engaging in outdoor pursuits. The basic format was the same as our usual ‘Prazdniki’, featuring some volunteers on stations, while others accompanied the various groups as they toured the stations. Obstacle Course . This station made use of the existing tyre course and mini maze at the entrance to the orphanage. Children ran the parallel courses against each other, and the emphasis was on speed, as well as spatial awareness, as the children were required to negotiate the various obstacles. There was also a team-skills building element as they were encouraged to support and cheer each other on.

Spider Web . Back by popular demand, this station involved using skipping ropes and elastic to create a labyrinth of strings within a climbing frame. The children queued up at one end, and then had to negotiate the space and make their way to the exit without touching or tripping over any of the wires. This station focused on similar developmental skills to the obstacle course, but the emphasis here was more on precision and accuracy than speed. This was particularly noticeable in the older groups, where once a wire was tripped, they were more than happy to go back to the start and try again; what mattered was doing the whole thing accurately. Younger groups tended to be less vigilant, and just ploughed through much of it, while eighth group in particular saw the task more as an opportunity to bounce off various bits of elastic. Nevertheless, it was clearly enjoyed by all, and provided a serious but approachable challenge for the older groups.

Special Days & Events: 2011

Pioneerball . On this station, the emphasis was on trying to improve the quality and the team spirit in that game. Thus, children were dissuaded from simply launching the ball as far as they could, and encouraged to throw it to a person. Moreover, once the ball came over the net, a general rule was that the first throw had to be a pass to a team-mate, to help the children work together. This sort of attitude can help those that normally feel left out join in with the activity, such as children who are physically small for their group, and encourage those who tend to dominate to look out for their fellow peers. Although it is perhaps difficult to enforce this in general playtime, the activity showed that it is worth putting the effort in; a game is ultimately a lot more fun for all when more people are actively involved.

Dancing . At this station, the children were taught a simple, but crucially new (and therefore slightly more exciting than the Macarena or YMCA) dance, and encouraged to perform it together. This station was important, as it allowed those who maybe did not enjoy the pure ‘sport’ stations to engage in something active, which was also tied in with developing an ear for music, rhythm etc.


Sports Day continued...

Special Days & Events: 2011

Skipping Ropes . Here children were shown how to skip or given an opportunity to show off their skills by having the number of skips they could do counted, depending on ability. There was also a kind of obstacle course, involving running a course while dodging, avoiding or stepping over skipping ropes. The race element engaged most of the children, but some (especially boys) were more interested in simply brandishing the skipping ropes above their heads and swinging them round manically. The two children in wheelchairs were included by wiggling the ropes for the other children as they completed the course. Dodgeball . This station, along with pioneerball, picked up a game that many of the children are familiar with. Two ball-throwers (usually two volunteers) attempt to hit the children, who run around in the middle, with a soft ball. This particular game throws up several problems for certain groups, especially ones where there are mixed abilities, and the notion of staying within the court again called for self-control, which was not present in all groups. However, this game in particular probably saw the children at their most active, and even when they did run off, chasing them with the ball all around the playground seemed to give them a lot of fun. Stations also included Relay Racing, Basketball and Football. General comments / Issues that arose

Of all the prazdniki, this one was probably the one which looked least like a prazdnik. Stations were not really organised or thought through, and no-one had posters for their stands. Thus, the special feeling of prazdniki like Den’ Puteshestviya was lost, and the whole atmosphere was more like a standard day’s play ‘na ulitse’. The stations themselves were well-enjoyed, but a particular problem was the amount of time spent on each station – football took a lot longer than the skipping rope relay, for example, and this proved an organisational issue.

Photos marked J.L. are by: Jessica Lee

On a personal note, I don’t understand why more of the prazdniki like this one are not arranged as a kind of ‘shotgun start’, with each station filled at each time. There was not particular order, but by doing each group starting one by one in the same place, the result is that the older groups are restless and bored by the time they get to start, and there is rather a lot of hanging around. One specific issue brought up by another volunteer was that her 9th group girls, two of whom are in wheelchairs, were not able to participate in the obstacle course. While I sympathise with this point, I feel that targeting the obstacle course is unfair – the majority of these stations would not have been feasible for a child in a wheelchair to complete. On the one hand, it is an obvious issue with a ‘Day of Sport’ but on the other, we should perhaps have been more aware of this problem, as it is specifically those who are less able, and less mobile, whose levels of physical activity need to be raised. After all, the paralympic sports demonstrate that with some research and innovative ideas, sport can be and should be accessible to everyone.

On the whole, the day was enjoyed by the kids, and participation was generally enthusiastic. While the stations themselves were perhaps a little samey, and the general atmosphere lacking, the fact remains that the children spent an entire day engaged in healthy, outdoor sporting activity, improving not just the basic skills of running, jumping, catching etc. but also receiving more of an awareness of associated concepts such as team-building, working together, taking turns and being rewarded for good work. The next step has to be to continue this level of work while simultaneously integrating the theories, ideas and if possible, tools of the Ronald McDonald Fond to ensure that the physical development of the children is taken as seriously as it should be. As a brief aside, concerning sport, a particular highlight of my experience of the camp was getting to know Valery Nikolayevich, and seeing the impact of his work with the children. He is a great asset to the children, and the person best placed to adapt and continue the good ideas from the Day of Sport.





Day of Professions by Sergei Kudzik

Special Days & Events: 2011

Description of the holiday: During our camp we organized a variety of holidays with special activities. One of them was a day of professions. The essence of the event was that children were traveling on a special route, along which they found various stations. At each station there was a volunteer who modeled a certain profession. As they passed from station to station, the children were taught a variety of useful skills such as bandaging (nurse), the names and characteristics of different types of grains and pastas (cook), the difference between plants that are suitable and unsuitable for food, etc. Pedagogical purpose: These activities had a real pedagogical purpose, as the skills taught by the volunteers will be of practical use to the children in their lives. “Simple pleasures...”: The volunteers did some very serious work ahead of time to prepare each of the stations for the children. Ultimately, the stations were an occasion for play as well as a chance to learn some very useful skills. Of particular interest was the station dedicated to the profession of Driver. Vladimir Sukhov, the volunteer in charge of that station, had the children split into pairs. One child from each pair was blindfolded and the other had to verbally, and with physical prompts, guide the blindfolded driver as he led him through a serious of obstacles! This station’s activity was aimed at developing a trusting relationship between the two people in the pair, as well as exercising verbal skills. To view Sergei’s beautiful, multi-page report with original formatting, please go to:


Shopping Day by Philippa Mullins

Special Days & Events: 2011

The event was composed of a morning session and and afternoon session. In the morning session, the children rotated around seven different game stations at various locations around the outside of the orphanage in their groups. After each activity, the children were assigned points by the volunteers manning the stations reflecting their effort, application and achievement. Children were either given 50 or 100 points, which translated directly into the amount of ‘roubles’ they were given to spend in the second half of the day. In the afternoon session, the children went shopping with the ‘money’ they had earned at one of two shops in the orphanage. The seven activity stations:

1. Whose shoes? Children removed their shoes and they were mixed together. They had to run to the pile of shoes, find their own pair, put them on, run back to the starting point and sit down in the least possible amount of time.

2. Costume relay race. The children had to race in fancy dress and balancing certain objects. 3. Guess the price! Children had to differentiate between a series of objects, positioning them correctly in price order or identifying the more and less expensive object out of a choice of two. 4. Shoot the ball into the box. Children had to throw balls into a box from a set distance. A competition set-up was used to find a winner, with each child getting three throws and then the most successful children throwing again from an increased distance to decide the winner.

5. Guess the profession! In this game, children reviewed the professions which the activity stations had dealt with on the Day of Professions. Each child was given a piece of paper with a drawing representing a certain profession and had to correctly identify the profession and collect objects relevant to it from a series of other cards which they were presented with.

6. Match the object with the shop. A selection of objects was laid out across an open area on the floor and the children had to run and collect the objects and put them in the correct shop. For example, books needed to be collected and placed in the area representing the bookshop. 7. Pass the ball. Children had to stand in a line and work together to pass the ball alternately over their head and between their legs as quickly as possible.

Photo by: Marina Nord 25

Shopping Day continued...

Special Days & Events: 2011

Event Purpose The event aims to teach children the link between work and earning money (through their careful application during activities). It stresses their autonomy as they may chose to spend the money as they wish at the shop and aims to teach them how to make a transaction in a shop. It works on their number skills as they have to handle their own money, making up the appropriate sum with their ‘banknotes’, paying the appropriate sum and calculating their change. The shop activity also teaches them to budget and plan their spending in order to be able to afford the object they would most like to buy. Interesting and Unexpected Results The ‘Guess the price!’ station was very difficult for the vast majority of the children, who appear to have little to no experience with money and with the concept of value in such terms. Some children even found it hard to identify the more expensive of two objects when faced, for example, with a choice between an expensive camera and a tiny bag. Toilet roll was particularly commonly incorrectly ranked as more expensive than other objects, reflecting that the children appear to be using a system of valuation based on an object’s practical use in their world. Room for Improvement: In order to make clearer the link between good work and effort and earning money, more preparation should be done with the children in the days leading up to the festival. Rather than children only being awarded points of the day of the festival itself at the activity stations, points could be awarded both by the group’s main volunteers and by their carers for their behaviour, involvement and attitude. In order to help children better understand value and how to handle a transaction in a shop, role-plays could be carried out with the group and brief discussions could be held about value. The map provided showing the location of the various activity stations around the orphanage was used with enjoyment by the children and is perhaps an idea that could be widened to all festival days which include such stations. Such maps encourage children whose reading skills are still at a lower level to read to ‘decode’ the information they are being presented with (labels on buildings or a key) and are also interesting as they introduce the children to a new way of conceptualising the place where they live and a new view of the institution. Using a map is a stimulating task which, if used consistently, could improve orientation and information decoding skills.


Post Day by Sergei Kudzik

Special Days & Events: 2011

Description of the holiday:

In the final week of the camp in Belskoye Ustye we held a holiday called “The Day of Post.” The essence of the holiday is that children, with the help of volunteers, make postcards for two days. On the final day of the festival, an improvised mailbox was organized by the volunteers, in which every child put the cards he has made and addressed. These cards then go to the “Postman” (one of the volunteers) who, in turn, receives assorted cargo and carries it to the recipients. Pedagogical purpose: The post festival contributes to several pedagogical objectives, including: the development of motor skills, writing skills, imagination and structuring ideas. Pedagogical method: Firstly, children are invited by volunteers to make greeting cards (personalized for each child). In the process of creating greeting cards, the children begin to think creatively and develop their imagination. Moreover, they develop their fine motor skills: the children sometimes have to work with very fine detail; some of their cards are very ornate! The second stage of the festival is letter writing and signing the cards. This may not be the most interesting aspect of the holiday, but it is the most fundamental from a pedagogical perspective. Some sign postcards by themselves, some dictate letters to volunteers, while others (mostly the youngest of the group) trace out letters written for them for volunteers. In the first two cases, the children’s mental activity is focused on structuring thoughts and finding the correct ways to express them. Tracing helps the children memorize the alphabet, which further helps the children in acquiring writing skills. “Simple pleasures…” When we announced to the children that Post Day was coming, they were very happy. And it is justified! From year to year, camp to camp, we have a good tradition of exchanging letters between children and volunteers. The children just love receiving letters from the volunteers, and this is where the idea of the first Post Day holiday came from!

To view Sergei’s beautiful, multi-page report with original formatting, please go to:


Appendix 3 Group Photo Galleries: 2011

Groups in 2011

In the summer of 2011, Belskoye-Ustye was divided into 9 different groups. The descriptions of each group given here are imperfect, but are the best short characterizations we can offer. Groups 2 and 10 were little children (4 to 6 years old), with Group 10 showing the more severe difficulties (only one girl in this group can walk). Group 3 was made up of older teenage girls with more obvious difficulties, Group 4 was older teenage boys with more obvious difficulties. Group 6 were the older teenage girls with less obvious difficulties, and Group 1 were the older teenage boys with less obvious difficulties. Groups 7 and 8, were 8 to 15 year-old girls (7) and boys (8). Group 9 is another group of teenage girls, 12 to 19 years old, including 2 girls in wheel chairs. This appendix contains group photo galleries from the camp for each of the groups. Child descriptions are not part of this public report, but are available to the orphanage administration and, upon request, to prospective ROOF volunteers, who would like to more closely acquaint themselves with the challenges faced by the children and those who work with them.

Photo by: Andrew Williams



Photo by: Jessica Lee





Photo by: Jessica Lee

Photo by: Jessica Lee


8 9

Photo by: Jessica Lee


Group 1 – Pirates

Photos by: Katharina Tjart, Chloe Barnes

Group Photo Galleries: 2011


Group 2 – Penguins

Photos by: Katharina Tjart, Chloe Barnes and Georgia Williams

Group Photo Galleries: 2011


Group 3 – Little Angels

Photos by: Katharina Tjart, Chloe Barnes

Group Photo Galleries: 2011


Group 4 – Phoenixes

Photos by: Katharina Tjart

Group Photo Galleries: 2011


Group 6 – Cleopatras

Photos by: Katharina Tjart, Jessica Lee

Group Photo Galleries: 2011


Group 7 – Cornflowers

Photos by: Katharina Tjart, Jessica Lee

Group Photo Galleries: 2011


Group 8 – Racers

Photos by: Katharina Tjart, Jessica Lee, Chloe Barnes and Georgia Williams

Group Photo Galleries: 2011


Group 9 – Smiles

Photos by: Katharina Tjart, Marina Nord, Chloe Barnes and Georgia Williams

Group Photo Galleries: 2011


Group 10

Photos by: Katharina Tjart, Chloe Barnes

Group Photo Galleries: 2011