Hi, I spent the summer of 2002 in a summer camp near Izhevsk and it is something that I would highly recommend, I had an amazing time. I was the first volunteer to take part in the camp placement programme and it was a step into the unknown for Svezhy Veter and me.
The work in the camp was very relaxed; a typical day included 1-2 hours of lessons (in the loosest possible sense of the word) with the kids, with the reminder of the day being spent playing sports and games with them. The kids were fantastic as were all the adults at the camp, they were amazingly friendly, open and eager to learn about my life and me.
The people in the camp had a great zest for life. There was always something different and exciting to do in the camp, the counsellor always managed to have some competition, party or theme for each day. Which can be really confusing when you wake up and everyone is wearing their clothes inside out, and breakfast has become dinner. Very strange!
If your wanting to take part in the camp programme a few survival tips I would give you are, take a deck of cards and learn (quickly) how to play durak (fool). Take LOTS of photos with you, Russian's love to see and know about your life, country and family. Always bring bits and bobs from your own country like money and driving licenses. Finally, be prepared to listen (and dance) to Russian pop!
I thoroughly enjoyed my experience in Russia; it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. During the three months I spent in Russia I met many exciting and different people and made many good friends. Well I'm sure that you'll have lots of questions, fears and worries that I've not mentioned here, so feel free to email me and ask!
Volunteered: June 4 - August 30, 2002