Camp and Day Center for Families with Children with Special Needs

Added: 02.03.2016


By Woman’s Ministry Association (SKA) of the Union of Baptist Churches in Latvia (UBCL)
and Ventspils baptist church

Ventspils baptist church in the city of Ventspils has been serving people for already 154 years. Church has about 300 members and various ministries, such as woman’s, youth, Sunday school and choir ministries.

Woman’s ministry association (SKA) is one of UBCL's ministries that unites women of different ages from Baptist churches in Latvia to help them grow in their faith, as well as to discover and develop their spiritual gifts in order to work together in spreading the gospel and doing charity work.
Women try to serve both physically and spiritually to the most vulnerable part of the society, by improving their quality of life and by helping them find their way to God.

Working with families who have children and youth with special needs

Among Baptist brothers and sisters and those who attend the baptist church, there is a large number of people with disabilities and a special group among them are children and youth. Often it is hard for families with children to attend church regularly and to participate in church life, but it is even more difficult for families with children and teenagers who suffer from incurable or hard to cure illnesses and require special care and adoption of specific conditions. These children and their families from different places in Latvia every summer (beginning from year 2008) are gathered together by SKA at a camp. In between camps SKA also promotes a mutual communication among families and a fellowship among youth volunteers and camp participants. For most children and youth with special needs it is very difficult to integrate into society. Their daily lives are jammed with long-term, continued rehabilitation, surgeries or other medical manipulations. Many of them are very lonely and the camp is one of the few (for some the only) chances to spend time away from home and among their peers, as well as to make new friends. The project is called "HOPE PLANET". Within the framework of this project:
•    Every year in May in Ventspils a day of “Good deeds” is organized in order to raise funds and earn money for the project.
•    Youth volunteers are trained and prepared for working with children and youth with special needs and taught to care for them physically and spiritually during and outside the camp. Every year there is an average of 30 young people ages 16 to 29.
•    A 7-day camp for children and youth with special needs and their families is organized. The camp is attended by 52 children and youth with special needs and their families and also their peers  (brothers, sisters, friends) who support  and help them during the camp. Children and youth by working together learn to accept and understand each other. As a result friendships are formed that continue and flourish outside the camp. Mothers participate in support groups led by professionals and pastoral care workers.
•    A fellowship among youth volunteers and camp participants outside the camp is promoted. Youth volunteers visit the camp participants at their homes all year round.
•    Local churches allocate funds for setting up support groups and day centers for children and parents in areas where families live.

Purpose of the project, planned outcomes

The aim of the project is to reduce social isolation of families with special need children and improve their social skills by witnessing to them and practically reflecting the love of Jesus, as well as by motivating them to take part at Christian fellowships and include Christian values in their daily lives.

•    During the camp 52 children and youth with special needs will be introduced to Bible truths and their role in every person's life. Throughout the camp its participants will meaningfully and in a fun manner spend their free time, be in fellowship (that lasts even after the camp is over) with their peers and youth volunteers from different churches. It would be impossible to organize the camp without all the volunteers, as a great number of caregivers and activity leaders are needed.
•    During the camp 20 mothers (half of them are not Christians) will take part in a parent support group. In three discussion groups they will learn and gain Christian knowledge by exploring Biblical truths. Specialists and medical personnel and clergymen will answer questions about burning issues in the daily lives of those women. Women will also be able to participate in workshops and be in fellowship with other women.
•    A day care center called "HOPE PLANET" will be created on the church's premises where all year round once a week young people and adults with special needs and their relatives will be able to gather. Within means and our capacities we will also try to organize meetings for families with children and youth with special needs who live elsewhere in Latvia.

Tasks, stages, steps that have to be taken in order to realize this project

In 2016 the following tasks should be carried out:

1. In spring organize a day of "Good deeds" (charity fair, attractions, a concert) in order to raise funds and earn money for the project.
2. In summer organize a 7-day camp for children and youth with special needs and their families.
3. Create in compliance with accessibility legislation a day care center called "HOPE PLANET" on Ventspils Baptist church's premises.

Planned steps

1. A day of "Good deeds" in Ventspils every year in May (a total of three times during the desired project duration).
2. A camp for children and youth with special needs and their families from June 27 till July 3, 2016 and also in 2017 and 2018 (a total of three times during the desired project duration).
3. Creating and setting up a day center in 2016/2017.
4. Opening the day center in May, 2017 (the center will continue to operate as long as there is a need for it).   

How many people on collaboration team would be necessary for implementing this project

10 to 15 people:
1. For the camp for children and youth with special needs: 3 to 5 young and physically fit people ages 16 to 25 who could participate in the camp and to help, be friends ("guardian angels") to children and youth at the camp.
2. Camp staff: 1 to 2 activity and seminar leaders who are able to lead creative and fun activities or come up with performances for evening programs.
3. One specialist for the camp: a medical professional who has worked with patients who either have physical or mental impairments and who could counsel parents or train camp staff to care for people with the aforementioned impairments.
4. Creative and gifted church people who could participate in "Good deed" day charity concerts.

Roles/tasks of collaboration partner team

•    It is desired of the collaboration partner team to participate in helping to acquire materials that are needed to set up the day center "Hope Planet".
•    The desired roles of the collaboration partner team are the following: care and support to camp participants, specialist support for families with children and youth with special needs, participation in "Good deeds" day by a creative contribution to the betterment of this event.

Expected budget for the project

1. The total cost of 13000 EUR for a 7-day camp, including:
•    Room rental and catering: 120 persons x 84 EUR = 10080 EUR
•    Travel expenses: 660 EUR
•    Excursion costs: 960 EUR
•    Materials for seminars and creative workshops: 500 EUR
•    Camp evening program guest services: 800 EUR

2. The total cost of 15000 EUR for setting up a day center "Hope Planet", including:
•    Repairing and ensuring accessibility in the premises: 12000 EUR
•    Equipment costs for classes and day center activities: 3000 EUR

Enclosed is a link showing a video of the 2015 camp for children and youth with special needs and a link to photos:

Person(s) responsible for implementing the project
Elita Lapiņa: SKA project “Hope Planer” manager and Ventspils Baptist church Woman's ministry leader.
E-mail:, phone: 26377007
Address: Graudu street 6, Ventspils, LV 3601, Latvia

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