Feedback from Baltic Sea Summer Camp 2017
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.“ - Margaret Mead.
With this in mind we, Robert-Bosch-Gesamtschule in Hildesheim, Germany, together with the help of UNESCO BSP-Germany, set out to put on an international summer camp that would give students exactly that: the insight, the motivation and the determination to become such citizens in their hometowns and schools.
A Brief History
As a UNESCO school it is our shared goal to offer education suitable for the 21 st century, and thus we seek to approach education in a holistic manner, based upon the belief that education plays a fundamental role in human, social and economic development. Also, one of the key factors to solving environmental problems is education. This includes providing students with an understanding of the scientific, social and cultural aspects surrounding the independence of man and nature.
Robert-Bosch-Gesamtschule has offered a summer camp for its 8 th Graders over the last 27 years. During this week our students are confronted with different topics concerning the biology, ecology, geology and history of the island of Årø, Denmark, and the surrounding area. In recent years our school has become an active member of the UNESCO Baltic Sea Project. After speaking with representatives from other schools in Germany we saw the potential of developing a camp in which we bring together different students from schools in the Baltic Sea region, thus creating an intercultural setting, in which the students are personally confronted with issues pertaining to the surrounding area.
All great ideas are nothing without the means of making them reality. We applied for funding, presented our idea to the other Baltic Sea countries, looked for other teachers and professionals interested in organizing projects and workshops and asked our school administration if they would support the entire endeavor. A grant from the Arconic Foundation helped us with the necessary infrastructure, almost every country expressed immediate interest in attending, and we found willing project and workshop leaders not only from our own school, but also from the other schools planning on attending and the IOW Leibniz-Institute for Baltic Sea Research. By the end of May, 2017, about 70 participants together with 25 helpers were planning on attending our camp in the first week of September. Everything seemed to just work out and fall into place – a little bit of luck can go a long way!
What a week!
It started with nervous organizers, curious students and in general no real way of knowing what to expect. As soon as the ice was broken on our first evening everything went great! During the morning students participated in weeklong projects such as “Predators of the Sea”, “Save the Baltic Sea – a Media Campaign” or “Clean Energy – A Clear decision?!?” and many others. In the afternoon workshops students and teachers set out on boats looking for Harbor Porpoises and Seals, went diving to find out more about the sea life around the island, cooked jam from plants growing in the area and analyzed water samples in order to determine the water quality of the Baltic Sea. With around 30 different projects and workshops there was never a dull moment. Come evening the group came together to roast marshmallows over a bonfire on the beach or were sent out on a treasure hunt around the island in the middle of the night. New friends, new experiences, and hopefully a new outlook on life and what part we will play in its future – not bad for a week’s work.
Take a look at an excellent student-made documentary to find out more about what took place during the week:
Looking forward to our next camp in 2019!
Nick Krichevsky and Dennis Stahl