Bustle online at international children´s camp
Camp reporters upload the day's events onto the Internet
By Sanna Heinonen
Lights, camera, action: Sisters Ella Holmström, 10, and Essi Holmström, 7, are taping as the other children on the international Aava Camp Finland in Kannonkoski in Central Finland are preparing for the evening's show with a Las Vegas theme.
Ella's video camera captures scenes from an art workshop, where the children are making glittering props, and Essi is shooting the dance rehearsal.
Tuesday is the sisters' reporter day, during which they are in charge of writing news from the camp on the Internet.
Aava Camp Finland is using a virtual environment, through which the children's family and friends can follow the day's events from home online with a password. The camp has two reporters every day, who tape and write about the day's events. The children also write a diary, which the parents can read and comment on.
The camp, which is being held for the third time, has always involved online interaction. According to the camp's organiser Jaakko Mäkelä, the idea was that the children and their parents can be in contact despite being far away – the children come from all over the world, including Japan and Mexico.
"Another reason was to establish a sense of community. The children get to know each other already before the camp begins."
The parents have visited the website and commented with great enthusiasm.
One father says that he checks the site ten times a day to see what the children are up to.
The American Emma Fox, 13, has been on five camps back at home, where it was not possible to keep contact with her parents. She thinks that the Internet diary is a good idea.
"My parents read my diary actively. When we spent a week in Lapland, my parents asked me if I had seen Santa Claus."
Emma has been rehearsing the evening's show The Moomins in a Soap Opera, with her Finnish language group. She is playing The Snork Maiden.
The international camp has children from 17 different countries. Two-thirds are Finns living abroad, such as Emma Fox. Her mother is Finnish.
"Mother thought that it was good that I attend the camp and improve my Finnish", she says.
Helsingin Sanomat / First published in print 2.8.2006
More on this subject:
FACTFILE: Kids from 17 countries
SANNA HEINONEN / Helsingin Sanomat