Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on VKShare on TumblrEmail this to someone

 

In the heart of the Balkans, at only 13 km from the downtown of the city of Nis, there is a favorite picnic site of people from Nis – “Kamenički vis” with  a devastated Camp settlement which was not operational for the last 10 years. In mid-2015 the Association Kamenica claimed this Camp for long-term use.

3

Our goal is to renovate the devastated Camp and to form a regional educational and recreational youth camp, which will be fully integrated with the natural, economic and social environment of our region, close to its primary users – young people from the Balkans.

For our young people we plan to organize various camps according to the model “of education through recreation” which will offer the appealing mixture of educational content with a lot of practice, local excursions and recreational sports and social activities. All this in order to reach full educational potential of our young people, and to build their social capital necessary to “escape from poverty”- but not to “escape from the country!”

Camp will operate under the principles of social entrepreneurship – our general idea is to offer services of accommodation, food, recreation and education to the market, and afterwards use the potential profit in combination with our other resources to: 

– create our own programs of free or subventionalized camps for economically and socially endangered youth and for youth organizations of PWD;

–   support local organizations dealing with preservation of nature, cultural and historical heritage;

–  support initiatives in enrichment of local touristical offer or production capacites and others with direct potential for improvement of living conditions in our local communities.

mapa-finalelika

 

About the Camp

The Camp is spread on 3 hectares of forest,  framed by own access roads and intersected with the 1200m of internal paths and stairs that lead to 21 wooden cottages with a total of 100 beds (each cottage has 4-6 beds, club tables, chairs, bathroom, wooden porches …). These paths also connect the cottages with football and basketball fields from the side of the Camp, and with picnic site, restaurant, and small ski slopes with two ski lifts above the Camp. The Camp is connected to a system of public lighting and is illuminated by 17 large “boulevard lights” on the edges, and 15 smaller park lights on the paths inside the Camp. The Camp has its own water supply and sewerage network, and its own plant for waste water treatment with the sand filter which is located below the Camp. Since it is only 13 km from the center of Nis, and at the same time on 800m above it, Camp offers a beautiful view of the city and the surrounding area…

IMG_0833

 

How the Camp  is integrated with the natural, economic and social environment

Camp is surrounded by more than 20 beautiful caves at 4-10km from the Camp which are easily accessible by forest paths and roads. Among them are “Cerje cave”, which is 6.5 km long and has  underground halls larger than a football field and higher than 60m, next to which is a small nameless cave where the remains of an ancient caveman were found, there is also a “Milutin cave” in which the speleologist Milutin Veljković broke the Guinness World Record by staying walled up in it for 465 days, the “Pearl cave” with endemic species of salamanders and bats, the cave system “Samar”, next to which there is a magnificent natural stone bridge and “Prekonoga cave” which was the first arranged for the tourists at the beginning of the 20th century, and then forgotten…

There are also many limestone cliffs with mountain streams with trout and other species of fish … At 5-10 km from the Camp there are 5 small rural spas with healing geothermal springs, which are still known only to the locals. The Camp is surrounded by vast and rich woods with clearings where there are over 40 species of wild medicinal and aromatic plants, among which is the endemic “Ramonda serbica” or flower “Phoenix”, which was studied by NASA because of its unique ability to revive with a few drops of water after several years of being completely dry. In fact, the territory around the Camp represents a landscape of exceptional beauty which, at the same time, provides possibilities of crop farming in the flat area, vineyard and fruit farming in the hill area and for cattle breeding, exploitation of various forest products and wood biomass in the high area, all this in a relatively small space.

This rich nature has been attracting people for centuries, which left us with diverse and interesting material and non-material heritage. At a distance of 5-10 km from the camp, we have settlements dating from the Stone and Bronze Age, the remains of Roman aqueducts, medieval fortresses, churches and mosques, traditional houses and economic buildings such as water mills, and also   specific dialects, folk music, dance and varied cuisine. This is why the area around the Camp is identified as ideal for development of eco, ethno and adrenaline tourism in the “Strategy of the Development of Tourism of the City of Nis” 2011-2016, but unfortunately, nothing happened after the basic identification…

The Camp is administratively located on the border of the 3 poor municipalities –  Pantelej,  Crveni Krst and Svrljig, in the center of the territory with more than 40 mountain villages and more than 27,000 still vital inhabitants. Among them is a significant number of young people who belong to the so-called NEET category – Not in Education, Employment or Training-NEET (over 25.3% according to the “Second National Report on Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction” RS Government “).

Like most young people from the Balkans, they are frustrated due to poverty, their mobility is small –they are not able to travel and share experiences with peers from other communities or countries. So, very often they don’t share the same values with peers from developed areas and usually  respond with  boycott, violence or migration to the problems or differences in their surroundings. They are also deprived of adequate knowledge and social skills (know-how and know-who) which enable them in using of advantages in their surroundings. This is why, instead of thinking about starting their own local business, they are mainly planning to migrate to a larger environment or to seek asylum…

slika sajt 1

 

What have we done until now?

– In the short period of the last few months, we have received support of the Young Researchers of Serbia and the Ministry of Youth and Sport, who have helped us in the organization of our first international youth camp, during which youth from all around Europe came and helped us in our start-up effort on renovation of our camp and in practical testing of our ideas.

2

1

 

– Our idea of eco-camp, which operates under the principles of social entrepreneurship, won the third place in the national competition for green ideas and a financial prize given by Erste Bank and Trag Foundation. With this amount we have started phase 1 of renovation/conservation of our Camp and hope to receive first young campers starting from First of May 2016. Our general idea is to offer services of accommodation, food, recreation and education to the market, and afterwards use the potential profit in combination with our other resources to:

– create our own programs of free or subventionalized camps for economically and socially endangered youth and for youth organizations of PWD;

–   support local organizations dealing with preservation of nature, cultural and historical heritage;

–  support initiatives in enrichment of local touristical offer or production capacities and others with direct potential for improvement of living conditions in our local communities

5 4

 

 

 

– At the regional/Balkan competition “Philantropy for green ideas” our idea won the first place and a prize awarded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. The awarded money will be used in restoration of the part of our Camp and for the preparation of our first season in summer 2016.

drvo

 

But, the Camp is very large compared to our modest capacities, so:

We invite you to join us by donating your funds for our idea, or by becoming our partners in shaping of various models of inclusive education and social contents for the youth from the Balkans.

You are all welcome!