The first International Mountain Youth Camp of Cyprus Mountaineering, Climbing and Orienteering Federation, C.M.C.O.F took place between 18-23 July 2022, at the Federation’s Mountain Hut, near the village Spilia, at Troodos Mountains. The coordination and implementation of the activity programme was managed by the NGO Active Zone Outdoor, member of C.M.C.O.F., in cooperation with the Federation. The Mountain Youth Camp was also supported by UIAA. Importantly, participants of the youth camp had the opportunity to receive certificate of participation in a Mountain camp, issued by the UIAA.
The camp hosted 29 children and young people with different nationalities and coming from different cities of Cyprus. Children aged between 8-14, participated in a six-day activity programme, that included activities and games aiming to develop team building skills, provide opportunities to get to know the sport of rock climbing, practice hiking in nature trails at the Troodo’s National Park, get to know the sport of Orienteering and the sport of archery. Additionally, the camp programme included art and crafts activities, outdoor activities such as zipline, slackline, bouldering, orienteering activities, problem-solving games, night games, educational activities in order for the participants to become aware of the mountain culture and lots of enjoyable activities. Conclusively, the activity program mainly focused to achieve young people’s interaction with the mountainous natural environment and to develop good practices for mountain protection and respect.
The most unforgettable experience for the participants was getting to know the sport of rock climbing at Kourtelorotsos rock, as well as the workshops and games next to Diarizos river. The interaction with the rocks contributed to the development of participants’ bravery while at the same time, it taught them how to overcome the fears that constitutes an important life skill and an integral part of success. Moreover, rock climbing is considered as the ideal way to impart the basic principles of discipline since discipline and concentration are required from the climbers to complete their goals. To sum up, children and young people leant to focus on their goals, coordinate their arms and legs and remain concentrated in order to complete their goal which was to reach the summit!
Another unforgettable experience for the campers was hiking at the Artemis circular path, as they had the chance to reach the top of Troodos at 1952 metres high, which is one of the most important areas not only in Cyprus but also for biodiversity conservation. The campers had the chance to admire the amazing panoramic view, the enormous over 500 years old black pine tree and rare species of flora and rocks of the area. Campers also discussed with the hiking leaders about the risks of hiking as well as the main climbing principles of mountain hiking practices.
Through personal experience children and young people came to understand the value of mountains and forests and how much humanity depend on them. At the same time, they had the chance to exercise and develop their health and their motor and mental skills. The activities in nature and the interaction with the mountainous natural environment contributed to improve campers’ mental health and wellness and kept them away from screen time. The adventurous character of the activities and team spirit created an atmosphere of widespread enthusiasm, pleasant co-existence, socialising and mutual respect where everyone old and young became a family.
It is worth mentioning that during the camping an educational seminar took place under the title ”Practical application in trainers’ pedagogical behaviour in mountainous areas”, by the educator Niki Karoulla.
Special thanks to George Andreou, C.M.C.O.F Technical Advisor of Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor certified by the UIAA, to Andreas Andreou C.M.C.O.F. Technical Advisor of Climbing, to Stephanos Antoniou hiking leader, to Michalis Savvides, secretary of C.M.C.O.F. and president of Orientaction and to Maria Dikomiti, Archery coach of the Federation, for the support and cooperation during the implementation of the 1st International Mountain Camp.
Also, many thanks to the president of C.M.C.O.F. and president of UIAA Youth Commission Pavlos Georgiades for the excellent work regarding the preparation of the Mountain Hut and the valuable support during the camping.
C.M.C.O.F will soon announce thematic events for children and young people at the C.M.C.O.F. Mountain hut and other mountain areas in Cyprus aiming to provide amazing experiences on the mountains. It is worthwhile mentioning, that campers of the 1st camping can’t wait to meet again for new adventures and new experiences.
For more information on the UIAA Youth Commission please click here.
Photo credits: Niki Karoulla