Sõrve, Estonian Childrens’ Summer Camp

Kati Koreneff 14. dets. 2013

I often get asked “what it’s appeal? Why volunteer during your holidays to look after kids?” As a camper, Sõrve meant a week with friends, days filled with activities (loads of swimming included), sun, laughter, a week away from mum and dad, and somehow, the leaders even managed to get “jõuluvana” along and hand out lollibags!

Sõrve, Estonian Childrens’ Summer Camp

Then, as a leader, Sõrve was a week away, still filled with 'chock-a-block' days of activities, and meeting new and old campers and spending time with them. The same wonderful group of solid lifelong friends (who were brought together through chance and that has stayed together through choice) were still there, sharing just as much laughter as we did as campers. Becoming a leader also gave me the opportunity to give back to a community that gave so much to me as a child, and gave us the ability to learn about leadership and armed us all with skills that we have taken with us into our lives within the larger community.


And now, as "Laagri juht"?

Let me start by saying it's been a daunting and exciting process stepping into and following in the footsteps of memorable "Laagri juhid" such as Madis Alvre, Rein Simmul and Peter Maasepp - and they are such big shoes to fill! Overall, it is such an absolute honour to be "handed the keys" to Sõrve and entrusted to carry this legacy into its next 50years of life.
In the lead-up to Sõrve 2014, when I look back at my first year as "Laagri juht" - it's all a bit of a blur – there was so much to learn! The memories that do stand out are those things that are so hard to describe in words but are felt so deeply within my heart and soul – the sound of the camp laughter, mixed with the song of cicadas, whistles and leader conversations. The smell of the lake, sunscreen, chlorine and aero-guard. A new camper's face, with that look of slight apprehension as they arrive, that quickly disappears to be replaced with a smile by the end of the day. Excitement and smiles that are too big for camper's faces upon arrival to the tired, satisfied and tear stained smiles on all Sõrve habitants at the Flag Lowering ceremony on the final day. The feeling of completeness and community as the Sõrve family joins together in "Sõprusring" each night and the sadness in my heart whilst driving out of the gate for the last time knowing Sõrve is over for another year. Pride and joy in knowing that the leadership group has created another magical year for our Sõrve family, and that we only have 358 days to plan the next one!

As "Laagri juht" I hope that I can create the opportunity for older campers to become leaders and learn some leadership skills that they can take with them during life, and I look forward to welcoming our new "abijuhid" this year into the leadership group and seeing them grow. I look forward also to seeing the current "C-Groupers" grow into "A-groupers" and eventual leaders for the next wave of Sõrve family members.
I hope also that members of the Sõrve family that have drifted away are curious about how Sõrve has changed come back to visit us during Sõrve 2014. I know that the Sõrve flame still burns within their hearts, that they remember the great times they had as campers and they want to share that feeling with their children.
I hope that "Austonians" (Australian Estonians) and "Estralians" (Estonian Australians) alike who have not experienced the magic of Sõrve and are curious come for a visit.

As the countdown to Sõrve 2014 speeds up, make sure you get your registrations in to avoid disappointment. For newcomers, if a week seems too daunting, please come up for a midweek visit or the weekend to get a taste, we will do our best to accommodate your needs.

I wish everyone a safe and happy December and holiday season and look forward to seeing our Sõrve family together again in a few weeks!


Kati Koreneff
Laagri juht 2014

Kohtume taas - Let's meet again!


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