Let’s Go to the Mountains

Or how a mountain summer camp inspired a group of teachers to create authentic and unforgettable experiences for young adventurers

We have launched a series of publications about the projects and initiatives of Teach For Bulgaria alumni. This is the story of Plamnina Foundation, founded by a group of “A New Way to Teaching” alumni.

HOW IT ALL BEGAN

In the summer of 2019, the young teachers Elena Tatarova, Marin-Asen Kodzhaivanov, and Sofia Stefanova finished their first year as teachers. They were also part of Teach For Bulgaria’s program “A New Way to Teaching”. One of the elements of the program was a summer project which served the students or the entire community. Even though Elena, Marin-Asen, and Sofia taught in three different locations – Samokov, Sofia, and a village near Pleven – they decided to work together driven by their mutual passion for the mountains. Two more people joined their team – geography teacher and Teach For Bulgaria alumnus Yanko Morunov and social media and communications specialist Katerina Stoyanova.

PASSION FOR THE MOUNTAINS

Driven by the motivation to show the beauty and wisdom of the mountains to their students, the newly-formed enthusiastic team organized their first summer camp at Malyovitsa hut with a group of 10 young adventurers. They organized workshops about first aid, map and compass navigation, trail markers, biodiversity, arts and crafts, and of course, the campers got to climb Malyovitsa peak. You can imagine the range of skills these students got to work on with such activities. The teachers collected donations in order to provide all necessary resources to the students. All summer camp workshops and activities were led by experts and professional trainers.

The experience was very motivating both for the students and for their teachers. Elena, Marin-Asen, Sofia, Yanko, and Katerina started planning the next summer camp right away. They also decided to start their own organization – Plamnina Foundation with the mission to provide authentic and unforgettable experiences to all adventure seekers. They wanted to get young people to fall in love with nature and to be more physically active.

WHAT’S NEXT?

The next summer camp was in July of 2020. It was dedicated to the Vratsa Balkan region and included a variety of activities – navigation, equipment, hiking, mountain code of conduct, camping, biodiversity and geographic characteristics, environmentally friendly practices, rock climbing, cave exploration, and astronomy. The students also participated in a variety of sports activities and workshops for creative writing, arts and crafts, etc. They also did treasure hunting, played games, and practiced yoga. The majority of all materials and resources for the camp were donated. So many students wanted to participate in this camp that the teachers decided to organize a second one in August. The August camp was back at Malyovitsa where it all started.

Some of the trainers were experts in geography, psychology, and art. Most of them are also Teach For Bulgaria alumni. Of course, a mountain camp would not be possible without certified mountain guides and experienced mountaineers. 

Take a look at these photos from the Vratsa Balkan camp.

You can see who the trainers are, get in touch with the team, or just get the latest news about Plamnina on their Facebook page

Let’s go to the mountains!

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