Happy birthday, plamninari!
Just a year ago, after a lot of perseverance, work and stuggle, we created Plamnina Foundation. Our mission is to create summer camps and training in nature for students, regardless of their parents' financial ability and social standing, especially those who have never experienced nature's enchantment. In the long run, we aim to foster love for nature and the mountain among younger students and inspire them to have an active and healthy lifestyle. Regardless of the world chaos, for just a year we made that happen more than once.
Vrachanski Balkan Summer Camp took place during 13-20 July. Our home for the camp was located in Ochin Dol village where we spent eight days full of hikes, workshops dedicated to nature, astronomy, geography, survival and first aid, mountaineering, art and many more. About 14 mountaineers and 10 educators joined our camp.
This camping adventure was the beginning to new friendships and the start of a community which for just a week became a united team that learned, evolved and had fun together.
After conducting anonymous surveys before and after the camp, we were happy to find out that Vrachanski Balkan Camp had influenced them in a positive way.
Our summer adventures continued with our second camp which took place 09-14 August 2020 at Malyovitsa Central Ski School with 10 campers. Malyovitsa Summer Camp was magical not only because of Rila mountain's majesty and beauty, but also because of the unity within the team we managed to create in just a week. We had an amazing time during our outdoor workshops, some of them led by our volunteers. We gazed at the stars at night and took a closer look at some planets in our solar system with a telescope. Finally, we learned how to identify plants and mushrooms in the forest.
After another anonymous survey, we were happy to confirm the camp was worth the effort.
After the camps, our volunteer-educators shared with us their feedback on the experience.
"The dedication is impressive. The attention you give to the children, the care for them, the connections you make - this makes the camp unique and cohesive.
"Your program is commendable - children do things with their own hands and acquire knowledge and skills."
After the end of the summer, which kindled us with energy, the new school year began, and so did new PlaMnina adventures.
On September 22, we conquered the highest peak on the Balkans, Mount Musala, where we enjoyed breathtaking views and learned to work in a team.
The magical autumn of October found us on a wonderful one-day adventure to the Polska Skakavista waterfall, where we created in nature, cooked a delicious chickpea soup and went fishing.
At the end of October, our hiking activities was hindered, but that did not stop us. We hosted four online trainings for mountaineering and survival, creativity and creative writing, geology and relief. Although the atmosphere was not the same, we managed to have fun and express our imagination on paper.
We dedicated the winter months to travel and reflection. We launched the "Bulgaria's Forgotten Schools" blog campaign where we visit forgotten villages and schools and strive to tell their stories.
You can read the full articles in the Travel category here.
This was our 2020 and the first year as an NGO. It was frightening, similar to a high and difficult mountain peak, with unexpected turns and challenges that we had to overcome with hard work, skills, experience and imagination. The greatest gift for our first birthday are the wonderful memories we managed to create with young mountaineers, as well as the trust that all donors and sponsors have given us.
Thank you all for the irreplaceable trust, friendship, support and love! We would not have been able to achieve anything without you.