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My memories from "Saturn"...

I’m not from a Russian-speaking family. My family is Flemish. My parents, my grand-parents… have nothing to do with Eastern Europe at all. It was my own decision to start studying Russian at the university of Ghent. Therefore, I had never heard of any camp called Saturn before I was hired as a mentor and member of the English department. It’s a camp aiming at children with Eastern European parents after all!

In my youth I’ve been to many other camps, coordinated by more traditional and well-known organisations in Flanders. These camps often brought me abroad, to nations such as France, Switzerland, Italy… but Saturn was different to me. It was not different because this time I was not a participant but a mentor, it was different because of the children and people present.

When you put lots of children together, there are bound to be issues between them. Some problems are small, some are large, but they could always be solved. What I truly noticed about this group, is that it was more than just a group of children going to a camp. Many had been there before, some were new and some came from nations far away such as Belarus or Moldova. Yet, this group, in all its diversity and variety of languages, was more than just a group. It felt as if they were, in their own way, a large and special family who faced all kinds of challenges. But facing those challenges together only made our Saturn family stronger and brought us all closer towards each other.

The very notion of adventure and opportunity to learn brought those children together to explore Spa during our many excursions, activities and courses. There were great moments and bad moments, such as there always are. But no matter how bad someone might’ve felt at any given point, they could always rely on each other. Fights were always forgiven, feuds were always solved and at the end of the day, Saturn was still one big, great and close family. The teachers and crew members, such as myself, were not a separate entity that stood above the Saturn family as some kind of leader or burden upon the children. No matter who you were, where you were from or how old you were, the Saturn family is one. Something that shall never change.

It is this close connection everyone has that makes Saturn different from other camps. Whether children knew each other from previous years, already knew each other at home or were new in the group all together, everyone quickly found his or her place. It was truly a remarkable experience I will never forget.

They say true friendship is like magic, very rare and very powerful. Yet, magic cannot be found on earth. Therefore, true friendship may not exist, right? Well, magic may indeed not be found on earth, but there’s one place it can be found. True magic cannot be found on earth, only on Saturn, a place where friendships are forged through unbelievable adventures. A place where friendships are forged that last forever.



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