The first real snow came last night, covering the nearby high peaks with white caps. In town we had just rain, but it's already starting to look like winter up in that no-man's land.
Made a trip to Ijevan this past weekend, and met with Artsrun and Arko to talk about Green Camps plans and get the reporting done for our sponsors this year: the US Embassy and the Center for Agrobusiness and Rural Development (a USDA funded Armenian organization).
Our biggest idea for next year is to expand Green Camps to include what we think of in the States as a full overnight camp. We want to host at least two of next summer's camps at a guest house in the woods near Ijevan. This new setting would allow us to invite four groups of children and counselors at a time from different regions, and to engage these diverse groups in a genuine overnight camp experience including fire-building, tent-camping, and wilderness skills training, as well as other evening activities such as environmental film showings and discussions, music and sing-a-longs, s'mores, ghost stories, the whole nine yards. In addition, built into the camps will be training and planning time for each group of campers to develop a community project that they will implement upon their return home.
We would still do a couple of standard, tried-and-true Green Camps in the applicant communities which show the most promise and enthusiasm.
That's the big idea, now the challenge is to plan it and sell it to those in country who control the development funds. We think the new plan would preserve the good qualities of the camps while adding a mind-changing sort of immersion experience for the young people who join us. We are excited about the change!