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Children’s camping – the key to Erzsébet-program’s long term success

June 12, 2015

Summer Erzsébet-camps start on the 21st of June. Dr. Zoltán Guller, president of Hungarian National Foundation for Recreation – responsible for the implementation of Erzsébet-program -, talked about the recreation possibilities provided to tens of thousands of children this year on the Kossuth Radio.

-What is the key to Erzsébet-program’s success, what are the factors you take into account when measuring the results?
- We could measure it based on many indicators: the number of participants is an appropriate measure to prove that the Program truly carries out its mission. The number of Erzsébet-camp attendees rises from year to year and if we retrace our childhood we will remember that there are no better critics than children.

- The numbers truly prove the success of Erzsébet-program, but will you be able to meet the constantly growing expectations towards the Erzsébet-camps?
- Yes, since our capacity increased, the number of participants could grow as well. One of the most important developments is that we could raise the number of children participating in Erzsébet day-care from 3,000 to 15,000 children, in approx. 125 schools all over the country. Furthermore, let me highlight the Transcarpathian children’s possibility to enjoy the Erzsébet-camps that start on the 20th of June: we expect almost 3,000 children living in the Transcarpathian region of Ukraine. All these actions certify our dedication to meet the challenges.

- Lots of people – including well-known, famous people, had many positive feedbacks and thoughts regarding Erzsébet-camp. If you trace the path of Erzsébet-program from the beginning until today, what do you consider as the most outstanding achievement of the Program?
- I always professed we are not only responsible for our children, but for every single child. Therefore, if we have the chance, we must support all of them, to provide them the possibility to go for vacation at least for a couple of days or for a week. This is the biggest achievement for me and also that well-known sportsmen and artists joined the Program to spend one week at the camps and learn, do sports and play with the children.

- Could you involve the teacher to the Program in the last years?
- It should be noted that the participation is on a voluntary basis and that is valid for the teachers as well who accompany the children: the Foundation provides contribution but maybe this is not major aspect: the most essential is that the teacher-children relation should exist not only within the walls of the school but it could expand to a week-long vacation at Lake Balaton as well.

- Did you have any experience that made you change something this year?
- Everything is on constant change as Erzsébet-camps involve lots of people: for instance there are around 2,000 children in Zánka every day in the summer. I am not saying that mistakes never happen but we work on noticing these mistakes and improve our process if it is necessary.

- What are the long-term plans of Erzsébet-program?
- Erzsébet-program has been launched 4 years ago. According to the experience of the first 3 years we can tell that the children’s camping is the most popular and successful element of the Program. Our goal is to provide different programmes – not only at the summer holiday, but during the school year as well – to more and more children. To achieve this goal the development of the infrastructure and the involvement of more camps are necessary. I think the children’s camping could be the key to Erzsébet-program’s long term success.