Nonformal and environmental education in Otava region

Ahoj, my name is Emma ;-)

Everything started with a postcard in my favorite cinema in my hometown Berlin, the capital of Germany that explained the esk-programm to me. I always wanted to do a voluntary service after graduating high school to get the chance to see something from the world outside of Germany, get to know the culture, language and people of a foreign country before studying or starting as an employee. The esk looked like the perfect opportunity for me to do that. I spend my winter holidays almost every year since I can remember in the Czech Republic and have fallen in love with skiing and this beautiful country. So I also searched also for projects in the Czech Republic and luckily was accepted in Horažďovice. Then I packed my things, had a nice goodbye party with my friends and now I am here since the 01. October and will stay till September 2020.

24/8 – 26/8/2020 – Mission Německo 2.0, my own german summer camp!

When I was told that I should lead a summer camp with a program completely planned on my own about German I was really thrilled to do it, but also panicked on my inside because I have never teached a language in my life nor organized a camp. I always only was a participant. So my plan was to build the program out of activities I enjoyed myself in summer camps and put in learning methods wich also worked with me when I was younger. It should be a summer camp not an intensive course or some lessons at school, so the first priority was fun for me. Because also if you have fun while learning something it’s a lot more effective and you don’t just do it because you have to, but because you like what you are doing.

So I tried my best to plan and prepare everything, but was very nervous weeks before the action started. Then the 24th August came and the camp started and the longer it went the more fun I had, because almost everything I prepared worked out, the kids had a lot of fun and also the teaching strategy worked well. Because the kids should get used to German I teached the program in german but had a great translator and colleague – Bara, who translated everything to the kids in Czech.

We played a lot of games like Bingo, Ninja, the pistol game, teached some useful German words about what’s in a city, the colours and how to orientate yourself with a compass. We also had a little treasure hunt, visited the animals in stanice, coloured t-shirts, baked a cake, went to the park on scooters, learnt about German culture, ate a lot of sweets, escaped a castle and played a lot of hide and seek ;-)

It was really satisfying seeing the plans working and it filled my heart with joy to see all the smile and laughter. Yes the leadership can be really excausting, it also was for me at some points. But out of it I got a lot of benefits as well: I learned many usefull things for myself and most important had a lot of fun. A big thank you goes to our 6 nice participants who made this so fun for us and especially to Bara and Katka without this camp wouldn’t have been possible.

1/7 – 31/7/2020 – Summer camps and Midterm meeting

So as some of you may notice, I am back in business ;-) after my three months of corona break which I spend at home in Germany. Because of reopened boarders I was able to return for the last 3 months of my volunteer service in June.

Since then I had quite some things happening in my volunteer life. I helped building the tent city in Plácek which was exhausting, but also a lot of fun, because I met many nice people went swimming from time to time in a beautiful lake and had nice ice cream. And the feeling of knowing that we build the complete camp with our bare hands was really satisfying.

The next week I had a late midterm meeting which was first cancelled and held online due to Covid 19 but then happened for four days near Brno, which was the biggest esk midterm-meeting that ever took place in the Czech Republic because they put all the canceled midterms, which were three, in one, so that we were 38 volunteers from all over Europe. There were young people from Turkey, Spain, France, Italy, Estonia, Moldova, Russia, Poland, Northern Ireland, Greece, Armenia, Slovakia and also from my home country Germany. We had a lot of great workshops where we talking about our volunteering experience, what we wanted to do with our future, where we meditated, did yoga together, sat around the fire, hiked through the beautiful forest and had a lot of fun and interesting conversations. At the end we had a big party after that I only had 3 hours sleep, because I had to leave very early in the morning, due to my adventures journey back to Horažďovice where I missed 2 trains in a row and needed nine instead of five hours with the train.

After my return I was immediately picked up for the camp Plácek, where I assisted in the kitchen. I learned a lot of new Czech vocabulary during that two weeks and had a lot of fun with the kitchen crew. I also loved the evening campfire, singing around the fire, just laughing with other adults and playing with the kids.

But after I really needed my holidays, because I was almost working nonstop for 3 weeks straight and so really enjoyed my free week, which I used to discover more of Czech Republic and for travelling.

Now I am back in the office catching up on what happened in the last month and planning what to do for my own summer camp „Mise Německo 2.0“ which will happen in almost 3 weeks and for what I am really excited to happen.

More german reading in Wie, ich bin schon wieder sechs Wochen zurück? Teil 1, Wie, ich bin schon wieder sechs Wochen zurück? Teil 2A and Wie, ich bin schon wieder sechs Wochen zurück? Teil 2B on my blog on youthreporter.eu.

21/2/2020 – Mission Německo 1.0 – escape game and international meeting in PROUD

Finally in the evening of the 21 st of February at Proud my event took place. For me the planning began in December when we I first was involved in the planning of an escape game. I always have been fascinated by this kind of games and had a lot of fun. So why should I not develop one by myself around my home country?

In the end our players where looked up in a room had to solve 3 tasks all about German culture, nature, sights and cities , which most of them did pretty solid, in order to crack a code lock with three numbers, to get out of the room. The hungry players could than get some German sweets and a ,,Bratapfel mit karamellisierter Mandelfüllung und Vanillesoße” (baked apple with caramelized almonds and vanilla sauce). In the end everyone who was still there could watch the movie "Der Schuh des Manitou” ("The shoe of the Manitou”) a western parody which was really funny especially for me because we watched it in Czech. I was very happy about how this evening worked out and am even thinking about a different Mission Německo 2.0 for the German-Czech summer camp.

So thank’s to everyone who came I hope you liked it as well.

Rezept für Bratäpfel

For 4 people:

  • 4 apples
  • 50 g flaked almonds
  • 60 g butter
  • 3 big spoons sugar
  • 2 small spoons honey
  • 30 g rosins
  • 1 small spoon cinnamon1.
  1. Cut the apple one centimeter under the stalk . Don’t throw it away you will need it later as acover. Take a large spoon and make a 3 cm deep and 4 cm wide hole in the apple.
  2. Let the butter melt in a little pot, add the almonds. When the mixture is boiling add sugar, honey and cinnamon. The filling will be ready when the liquid starts to disappear.
  1. Fill the whole of the apple to its edge with the filling. Cover the hole with the stalk piece

    from step one.

    Bake the apples in the oven with 200° for 20–30 minutes so long until the apple gets soft. You

    can test the softness with a fork.

  1. For the vanilla sauce: If you can’t find it in the shop, take some pudding powder and just use

    around 200 ml more milk than you should use for the pudding in the description.

Serving tip: serve it hot and serve it with hot vanilla sauce.

Guten Appetit :-)

21/11 – 26/11/2019 – My on arrival meeting in Zderaz

Meeting young people volunteering in the Czech republic from all over Europe, making new friends, discovering a for me unknown part of the country, having a lot of partying and fun, enjoying the beautiful nature and passionate discussions… That all is part of the obligatory on arrival meeting, every ESK volunteer has to attend.

We had 13 nationalities among the volunteers. The biggest group was from Spain, followed by my home country Germany. We discussed a lot of things, we as volunteers will have to deal with. Now I know more about intercultural exchange, in-formal training methods, my passions and talents, how to get through a crisis and much more. The great things about these meetings are that you meet a lot of nice people with the same interests and needs. Now I have a lot of options to travel around with other volunteers and I was invited to visit my new friends. The beer was also very cheap, so we had very funny evenings and great parties (; I was taught a little bit of Spanish dancing and now know how to make a dream catcher.

I am very thankful that I had this opportunity, which also helped me a lot to finally feel home as a stranger in a foreign country, because I know that there are many beautiful people out there in the same situation as I am.

Read more about Zderaz meeting in german article On arrival training in Zderaz on my blog on youthreporter.eu.

6/11 – 12/11/2019 – GIS days 2019

Everyone uses google maps these days. Where is the next supermarket? Is my train going to the right direction? How can I get to my best friend? But the minority knows how to deal with a normal non electronic map or how non electronical maps are built via applications on the computer. The purpose of this program was to teach the young users this useful information, so that they would understand the geographic world a little bit better. They learned how to build a map with the GIS-application, used the different layers and played around with symbols and colors. Another part was to get to know GPS devices on a walk through the town and history of Horažďovice with old pictures. The kids should find the old places with help of GPS coordinates and take the exact same picture in a modern way with a tablet.

Another teacher requested us to develop a program about the usage of non-electronical maps and the compass. We had a lot of fun with brainstorming about how to do this. We decided that it’s always fun to not only get to know the theory but also use your new knowledge practically. So the students were teached how to orientate a map and how the compass works. Then they had to set given coordinates by themselves, find letters in our garden which would make a crossword and to draw their way into a map. For me it was the first time with preparing such a program and also teaching it. I also didn’t knew before how to handle a compass and how to use it with the map. I had a lot of fun with preparing the treasure hunt with the letters and to see the kids running around motivated to be the winners to receive the Wi-Fi password (;

14/10 – 20/10/2019 French Workcamp

Our french work camp ended a week ago, so this is a little recap for you all.

Eight young people (17–19 years old) and two social workers from France were our guests in PROUD for two weeks. We (Gosia and me) as camp leaders worked at Stanice with the volunteer on weekdays, raked leaves, fed the animals, prepared the garden for the winter, planted salad, cleaned fences. The group loved the animals so we also spend a lot of time with holding them, cleaning the cages and cuddling. Special highlights were planting international (; trees on a field near the town, making bracelets and apple juice.

Plzen was our destination for the first Saturday. We also hiked to Prachen and played hide and seek in the ruins. Our volunteers went for a bike trip, to Praha and to pubs in the evenings.

It was an interesting experience with a lot of great French food, card games and nice people. I just can say thank you for the good work in Stanice. We would have had a lot more without you and maybe see you again.

More thoughts in german in Mein erstes Workcamp als camp leader on my blog on youthreporter.eu.

First days in Horažďovice

I helped at Stanice with the apple program in the last three days, was cutting a lot of apples, drank apple juice and had a lot of fun with the kids and the other employees here. Today I cached my first escaped rabbit with the help of Gosia, a crazy little rabbit with very soft skin and long long ears :-)

I am looking forward to new tasks, to join some of the leisure activities, to finally start my Czech lessons and to meet the outer international volunteers. I think it will be a great year with a lot of great experiences.
So for now I can just say thank you a lot to my host organization for choosing me. Everyone has been so nice to me to give me a good start which I am very grateful for. I hope that I can give back a lot to them and I will try my best to do so. I also hope that I can show other people this great site of Europe and opportunity that the EU is making possible for hundreds of young people, like me every year. That it’s worth it fighting for the connection between our countries.

Want to read more? Try german article Ein Schwein namens Olda on my blog on youthreporter.eu.