Who organises the camps?
The camps are organised by “Arka” – a Polish based Association Arka Partner. Arka colabours with a variety of Western organisations, including the Navigators, Association of Christian Schools International .
Do I need to speak Polish?
What are the aims of the camps?
The camps are not traditional American or English camps. The focus is on evangelism through relationship building, showing love through action and providing needs in a child’s life. This is partly done through speaking English with the kids, partaking in sports and other activities, supporting the spiritual programme and generally HAVING FUN!
What qualifications do I need?
Primarily, you will need to be a team player and have a desire to serve. You will also need to be a fluent speaker of English, preferably as your first language. Experience in the following areas may prove useful, but are not essential.
- Teaching, especially languages
- Work with children and teenagers
- Foreign languages spoken
- Foreign travel
- Musical ability
- Leading crafts
What are the age limits?
Minimum age is 16 and, providing you are up to it, there is no upper age limit.
What will my role be?
Your main role will be to speak in English to a group of children and run a workshop/craft session. The group size varies depending on the ratio of kids to native speakers. We aim to have group sizes of about 7 or 8. Normally you will be teaching in pairs unless you request otherwise.
The workshops are intended to allow the children to demonstrate some of their creative flair as well as a further opportunity to learn and practice their English.
Beyond that, there are opportunities to partake in the sports programme, the Bible teaching, cultural evenings and the many other activities organised during the camps.
Are there any training sessions before the camps?
In previous years we have met together as a team before travelling out, to discuss some of the issues and plan as necessary. However, this is not always possible or practical.
The day before the camp starts is designated as a training/orientation day. During this time, you will be briefed on some of the issues, which you may face during the camps. You will also meet and get to know other team members, both the native English speakers and Polish team.
If you are intending to come for the second (or third) camp, then you are advised to arrive a couple of days before the relevant camp begins.
However, you need not wait until the day before the camps – e-mail or our Facebook Group is a useful way of finding out who the other team members are and what is planned for the camps.
How are English lessons planned?
There will be one leader on the camp who has responsibility for the English lessons and will be available for help, guidance and support when it comes to teaching English.
For the first camp to be held, lessons will be planned the day before, sharing ideas and using material provided. For the camps in the second and third weeks, previous lesson plans can be used or new lessons planned, appropriate for the age group. Sometimes it may be appropriate to use your own material. Talking about your own family, or life experiences has worked very well in previous years.
What teaching materials/aids are available?
Some whiteboards and markers are available, CD players and paper. However, if you feel that you need something in particular, please request it in advance. All children are asked to bring their own stationary including colouring pencils (younger children) exercise books, pens, scissors etc, but … not all manage this!
Who does the Bible teaching?
This is usually led by one of the Polish leaders. Should you wish to be part of this programme, it should be discussed directly with them. They are usually very happy to accommodate any contributions.
Who handles discipline?
The Polish team.
What do I need to bring / not bring?
All bedding is provided but not towels etc. Laundry facilities may also be available (best check in advance).
It is usually a good idea to bring a selection of small prizes, preferably with a cultural bias, e.g. pencils/stationary with national flags on them, postcards, sweets, chocolates etc. Easy story books with pictures are appropriate for younger children whereas a selection of teenage magazines will be more appropriate for the older ones. Craft ideas and materials assist children to follow written/oral directions in English. You may also consider bringing photos/mementoes of your family, house, hometown, hobbies etc.
A few props for a cultural evening may be appropriate – e.g. a national flag, clothing or food.
There will be opportunity to partake in sports, walking and swimming activities, so come prepared for this.
If you can bring and play a musical instrument, this can be a useful addition to the camp programme.
Large items can be shipped to Poland in advance although, from the USA, experience has shown that this can take up to 3 months!
For a compressive packing list of suggested items to bring, click here.
What is the weather like?
The Polish weather is somewhat unpredictable. Generally it will be warm to hot, but also be prepared for rain and dull overcast days.
What is the accommodation like?
The accommodation varies depending on where the camp is based. Usually it is in a hostel sleeping 2 to 5 in a room. It may be en-suite, and if this is important to you, best check in advance.
Before and after the camps, accommodation is in family houses.
Will there be an opportunity to see other parts of Poland?
Yes, but it must be planned in advance. There is usually a trip to Auschwitz or the Salt mines near Krakow before the camp.
How do I get to Poland?
You are responsible for making your own travel arrangements. It is recommended that, where possible, travel arrangements are co-ordinated with other team members, as this will reduce the logistics of meeting team members in Poland.
Where do I travel to?
Your destination is Wroclaw (pronounced Vrots-wav) in Poland. (Note: this is not Warsaw). Providing you have made your travel intentions clear beforehand, someone will be at the airport to met you.
How much will it cost?
The cost of the camps is posted on the Welcome to Camp Arka / Volunteering at Camp Arka page. It includes all accommodation and meals during the camps. You may wish to fund raise to cover these costs.
It does not include travel to/from Poland, insurance or spending money.
How much spending money do I need to bring?
Theoretically nothing. However, if you wish to see something of Poland, buy souvenirs, postcards, drinks and ice cream, then you will need to allow for these.
There are many ATMs /cash machines available in Poland for withdrawal of money using credit /debit cards. Cash can also be readily changed at exchange desks.
Note: Please do not bring traveler checks, cheques (UK) / checks (US) as these are generally not recognised in Poland.
What about insurance?
It is advised that you arrange your own travel insurance.
Can I do any preparation beforehand?
There are many resources on the internet which will give good background and ideas for teaching English Language. Some of the more helpful ones can be found by following this link.
Any other questions, please Contact Us