2024 Winter therapeutic sports camp

19 marca 2024

We’ve just returned from our winter therapeutic sports camp in Poręba Wielka. This is the first significant initiative, inaugurating the calendar year of work with the foundation’s beneficiaries. Participants from partner residential care institutions spent their winter break engaged in mountain winter activities, while also identifying their priorities and needs in contact with therapists.

This time, we embarked on a journey with youth from institutional care facilities in Łuków, Stoczek Łukowski, and Zambrow. Twenty participants aged 12-18 formed a group that spent a week in the mountains engaging in integration and self-identification processes. A pair of therapists created an emotional-social map for the participants during the camp. The winter trip is one of the foundation’s priorities because it is here that we begin a journey that, through various stops, leads us through the entire year to the personal development of our wards. At the beginning, we identify the potentials, needs, and goals, thanks to which we can more effectively plan scholarships for children and socio-educational activities. The next trip, this time in the summer, serves as a progress check, during which we find out if we have deviated from the set path (and even if we have, we observe the psychological landscape we encounter).

However, the winter break in Poręba Wielka is not just a trip for the statutory goals of the foundation. It’s also about having fun, providing relaxation opportunities, and involuntarily deepening the cultural capital of the participants. We ski together, jump on trampolines, go to the cinema, and visit museums.

Foundation Odyssey: A letter to the future

A discovered message in a bottle is a narrative motif in many popular culture stories. Why shouldn’t it also become a fun motif for children in residential care institutions? Camp participants wrote down their thoughts on their current situation and plans for the near future on a piece of paper, and then addressed them to themselves. Some settled for brief statements, while others decided to practice the art of letter writing and wrote multi-paragraph self-analyses. The letters will be delivered by the foundation’s postal carrier in the summer of 2024. We’ll be able to confront ourselves with the past – with our imaginations, as well as with the changes that naturally occur within all of us.

The example described above is just one of the therapeutic tools used with youth. Two therapists and supporting caregivers supervised the participants’ emotions during the camp. All members of the staff were accessible and accepting, ready to engage in dialogue with the children. We’ve completed a week of individual work intensity that’s hard to achieve in everyday conditions. At camp, the group setting as plays a crucial role, especially in defining oneself in relation to it, fostering integration, nurturing relationships, and developing social skills within the camp community. We’ve addressed all needs and achieved our initial successes, particularly in the realm of motivation. Participants who initially questioned the validity of certain actions often became the first to engage the group and eagerly embraced new challenges by the end of the camp. This is crucial, as no change can occur without the will and contribution of the interested parties.

Slaloming through winter entertainment

Winter holidays are also a unique opportunity to have fun and explore the world from a tourist perspective. In Poręba Wielka, we went skiing, and we also organized a sleigh ride. In the mountain conditions, it resembled the most cinematic adventures, where a delightful sleigh carried us with peals of laughter through roads and drifts. The camp schedule also featured cultural entertainment, including visits to the cinema and the museum. Additionally, the trip to the trampoline park was highly successful. Recognizing that sports and physical activity are excellent for managing emotions, bouncing away stress proved to be very effective in fostering a familiar atmosphere within the group.

Sometimes, entertainment and therapy merge into one. The art therapy workshops conducted during the camp brought a lot of satisfaction – both artistically and therapeutically.



During the winter camp in Poręba Wielka, we managed to create a safe space for all participants. We didn’t want it to end; towards the end of the trip, there were loud calls to extend our stay. However, despite having a great time, we must leave our sanctuary and face reality. We return to work, school, and life in Warsaw, Łuków, Stoczek Łukowski, and Zambrow. But we believe that with each day, life will become happier – also thanks to the skills gained at camp.

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