NGO HomeComing and Viljandi Culture Academy organise language and culture camps for foreign Estonian children.
NGO HomeComing (MTÜ Lõimeleer) is a summer camp designed for Estonian youngsters who live abroad. It gives them the opportunity to mix with kids at their own age who live in Estonia, to learn traditional handicrafts (woodwork, jewellery and textiles), to play games involving musical instruments, singing and dancing, to find out how horses are used and controlled and other quintessentially traditional Estonian skills. The camps are being run for the fourth time in 2019. Director Priit-Kalev Parts says the three week-long camps will be held in the village of Tääksi in Viljandi County.
“Since 2019 is an ESTO year, which is to say the Global Estonian Days Festival, one of the new things we’ll be doing is organising a mini-ESTO festival as part of the bigger celebrations and going along to the ESTO youth congress in Tartu,” he explained.
Lõimeleer has been attended each year by Estonian youngsters from more than 10 countries, ranging from the United States to Kyrgyzstan, although the majority come from Europe.
The staff at the camps are the students of youth work at Viljandi Culture Academy as well as specialists within different fields at the same institution, who will introduce the youngsters to traditional Estonian cuisine, skills, dances and games, tell them stories and guide them in making handicrafts.
“The camps will help the kids, who are all young foreign Estonians, strengthen ties with their homeland, learn something new about Estonian culture and develop their Estonian skills through a range of fun activities,” explained Parts, who is HomeComing’s resident horse whisperer. “There won’t be any school lesson-type learning, but since the camps are run in Estonian it’s advisable for the kids taking part to have at least a basic ability to speak and understand the language.”
Lõimeleer 2019 will include three camps: the first from 28 June-3 July; the second from 21-26 July; and the third and final camp from 28 July-2 August. Registration opens on 15 January 2019. Registration to Early Bird price until the end of January.