czech republic missionaries

English Camp 2004 - Report

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Hokey Cokey
all in the hokey cokey!

Film making class
film-making class

new friends
new friends


Jointly run by a local Czech church and South Abbotsford Church (Canada) with the help of OM Czech, it’s tempting to label the English Camp as an evangelistic outreach. Which in some senses it is, but like many missions these days, it’s a more complex thing:

  • to provide high quality English teaching, at a reasonable cost, to Czechs in South Bohemia
  • to demonstrate our love for, and interest in the Czech nation by providing something that they want and needmorning walk
  • to expose non-Czech Christians to mission work overseas, and allow them to see God in action in another culture
  • to expose Czechs to Christians in a way they have never seen them before: as people with a living faith, who love them and their country, who can have fun, and who are real and approachable
  • to encourage Czech Christians in their faith
  • to introduce Czechs in this area to local churches, and to the services provided at OM Czech (English School, English Bible Meeting, Alpha courses, cafe, social evenings etc).

Where and When

Czech Republic, South Bohemia, in a country “Pension” (like a B&B) which is a converted mill, called Benesovsky Mlyn (near to Protivin and Strakonice).

Held for 1 week (Sat-Sat), 17-24 July 2004.



happy campers

Staff: 15 Canadians from South Abbotsford, plus 3 OMers from OM Czech Republic, and several from local churches.

Campers: 39 people, the majority from South Bohemia (a few from Prague as well). Ages ranged from about 12 to over 60s. [Czechs have a tradition of camps with widely mixed age groups, and the age range was seen by all as perfectly normal, and a strength]. Perhaps a dozen are Christians, the rest not. Only a few were returnees from the last camp, as we tried to encourage new people to come, and last year’s campers could only return if they brought someone new with them.


Food & Accomodation

Hmmm. Not quite up to the standard of the last camp — the place has changed ownership, and there were definite cutbacks. Personally, I (Steve) enjoyed every meal, but lots of the Czechs (let alone the Canadians...) found it difficult to cope with knedliky (dumplings) with every meal, and some portions on the small side. Enough said.

Rooms: a lot of work had been done to spruce up the rooms, and many were really rather nice. Though there were lots of new en-suite bathrooms, many were not clean and some had no water. Enough said.



English Teaching Room

This was the first time that Varya was able to put her (partial) TESOL training into practise, and SHE LOVED IT! She and Elaine (from OM Czech) shared teaching for one class of up to 15 people (other classes were much smaller).

There were 4 levels of classes, from beginners to advanced, and there were 3 hours of classes every morning. Each afternoon there was an hour of conversation class with everyone in together.

(Varya) Teaching was SO much fun! The students in our class were a level up from absolute beginners, and they were keen to learn. It was great to think up creative ways to help them communicate and develop their abilities. Because our class was twice as big as the others, we had two helpers (Stephan and Justin, from Canada), to help in conversation, and also in pronunciation of vocabulary - Elaine and I have Northern Irish and (soft) Scottish accents, respectively. This presented our students with some challenges in pronuncing new words! We had several comments from other team members that they had heard the class laughing a lot, and that we shouldn’t have been having so much fun!!

Because Elaine and I were the only UK teachers at the camp, we decorated our classroom with British paraphernalia, saltires, union jacks, etc. to give it a unique flavour :0)

Another camp is planned for next year, and I would recommend to any readers who have an interest in teaching English and who would like a fantastic week of fun and frienship, next summer, to contact us. . .


Other Activities

Historical PlayAside from the daily 4 hours of teaching and conversation, there were a number of other activities in which campers could participate. There was an “olympics” sports afternoon, frisbee football, plus daily options of hiphop dance lessons, film-making, jewellery making and further sports.

Each evening there was a programme put on by the leaders or the campers. Three of these had an evangelistic message, and were optional for campers. There was also an “International Night” when we presented the cultures of each of our home countries (Canada, UK, NZ), and a Czech night when the campers put on an awesome mini-musical, written by one of them, about the Czech King Charles IV and Karlstejn Castle (see right).


More on the Film-making

Steve hasn’t been interested in film-making for long, but thanks to the Apple Macintosh iMovie programme (free with every Mac sold...) he’s now a convert. In just 4 days, for a few hours each day, Steve took a group of 5 campers through the basics of writing for screen, then planned, shot and edited a 13 minute version of “The Prodigal Son”, in the style of Charlie Chaplin et al (complete with black and white footage, sped up film, titling, background music, a mixture of comedy and pathos, and a neat twist in the tail!).

It’s truly amazing the quality you can get, shooting with a cheap digital video camera, and editing on a laptop computer! (Particularly a Mac, of course...) Several of the film team said that the film making was the highlight of the entire camp, and watching the performances on camera, it’s easy to see why! The premiere showing on the last night of camp went down a storm!


After the Programmes...

evening activities

Hokey CokeyCzechs are awesome at having a good time! After each evening programme we tended to gather in the main meeting room, or the Vinarna (part of the pub) with a couple of guitars or a CD player, and sing folk songs from each of our countries, do folk dances (they learned the Dashing White Sergeant pretty fast!), and just generally chat and drink together.




As a means to starting and developing wonderful relationships, as well as to give out to Czech people, the English Camp concept just can’t be beaten. A huge thanks is due to the team from Canada, and their sending church who helped to finance it all.

We’ve heard several people say that it’s the best camp they have ever been on! That’s testament in part to the quality of the staff and teachers, but also to the awesome task of organisation. It takes months of planning to get one of these off the ground.

Varya and I are thrilled that this year we don’t have to go home to Scotland after the camp, but have the privilege and responsibility of sticking around and maintaining the friendships and relationships that we have begun. Several of the campers who live in Ceske Budejovice have expressed an interest in coming to OM’s English Classes and/or Alpha Course and/or social evenings with English speakers, and we have both made arrangements to start going to the gym with new friends we have made!!! (don’t choke on your coffee, folks, we’re really going to do this!)

Czech Republic Missionaries -
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