A transformative journey for young minds from Kosova, Albania, USA, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, North Macedonia, and the diaspora marked the successful implementation of the 4 summer camps with 126 participants held for this year.
With participants aged 14-19 years old, these camps not only provided a space for cultural exchange, debate skills, digital literacy, and service learning project management, but also imparted valuable life skills, fostering their personal growth.
Themes and skills that the youth learned during the camps:
Debate Camp – 24 ambitious participants aged 15-17, dived into the art of persuasive communication and debating skills during this 3 day camp. Apart from socializing and entertainment, these youngsters developed leadership, collaboration skills, researching, argumentation, time management, and critical thinking.
In addition to becoming more skilled debaters, youngsters after the Debate Camp feel more confident, articulate, and prepared to engage in debate discussions within their community.
SMART Camp – a regional camp that brought together around 40 youngsters aged 15-19 from Albania, Kosova, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, the USA, and North Macedonia for a comprehensive experience in digital literacy and service learning project management.
To deepen the digital knowledge of the youth, special guests were also part of the camp’s activities, including the legendary investigative journalist Ms. Jeta Xharra, Ms. Albulena Sadiku, Deputy Director, Mr. Kreshnik Gashi, Managing Editor, and Ms. Elena Stojanovska, Project Manager from the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) and Kallxo.com.
These enlightened minds shared their experience and expertise on fake news, hate speech, and data protection in social media, creating a safe and curious space for the young participants.
After these informative and quite interesting sessions, the youth transformed this knowledge into service learning projects they will implement in their countries. Many project ideas and work were implemented during the 7 days of the camp.
TOKA Jone Camp – The diaspora camp Our Root brought together 40 energetic and curious youngsters aged 14-16 from the diaspora and Kosova. Beyond geographical distances, this experience served as a bridge that nourished social skills, cultural exchange, and new knowledge. As participants explored their roots and embraced personal development, the camp ignited a journey of empowerment, language exploration, cultural and self-discovery.
In this camp, we had as a special guest, Ms. Fakete Kadiu, the CEO of the Kosova Post, who shared with the youth the history, work, and importance of postal services.
Liri Hashani from the 17 Foundation, gave the youth an experience of the foundation’s galleries up close through VR glasses and explored each of the exhibitions.
Representatives from the Kosova Security Forces that are always ready to share information, new opportunities, and their expertise in first aid.
To conclude this magical experience with the youth from the diaspora and Kosovo, we were part of the International documentary and short film festival, Dokufest.
As these youngsters return to their communities, they carry with them the lessons of unity – a testament to the strength of celebrating diversity and creating lasting social connections.
Leadership Camp – The Comprehensive experience at the Leadership Camp brought together 23 youngsters aged 15-17 from different corners of Kosova to ignite a journey of personal growth, collaboration, and visionary leadership. Through facilitative sessions, and interactions with each other, participants were prepared to be ready to shape the future of their communities and beyond.
With a shared vision for a better tomorrow, these young leaders are prepared to bring the change, leaving unforgettable marks in their communities and beyond as they continue their journey to lead the Debate Clubs during the fall.
The impact of these summer camps on the participants extended beyond the duration of the programs. They returned to their communities as empowered young ambassadors, continuing their journey in driving change and collaboration.
The TOKA camps were supported by the European Union Office in Kosovo; the Kosovo Civil Society Foundation (KCSF) ‘EJA Kosovo’ – co-funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Sweden, and the Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg; the Erasmus+ Program of the European Union; SMART Balkans – Civil Society for Common Values in the Western Balkans; the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), through its “Human Rightivism” Program implemented by CDF; the Swiss organization Solidar Suisse Southeast Europe; as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora (MFAD).
We extend our gratitude to the camp donors for their ongoing support!