WONDERFUL SUMMER WILL BE BEST REMEMBERED FOR…
Summer is immediately associated with children’s summer vacation because this is the time of school holidays, wonderful in all respects. In early June, caravans of festively decorated buses rush from the Turkmen capital to the children’s health centers in Gekdere, a picturesque mountainous place near Ashgabat. Trains rush children to the sea, towards summer adventures, to the fabulous palaces of the Avaza national tourist zone. The regional recreation centers also come to life.
It should be noted that all children’s centers are located in the unique ecologically clean places of the Turkmen land – in the foothills of the Kopetdag, on the coast of the Caspian Sea, as well as in other places of the country, distinguished by their natural beauty and excellent climatic conditions.
This summer, tens of thousands of young Turkmen citizens visited children’s health centers. In total, summer holiday in all children’s health resorts was organized in four shifts, each for 15 days.
For children, summer has always been the time of joy and hope, expectations of new discoveries in the world around them and in themselves. In Turkmenistan, children’s recreation is the responsibility of the government. The country is implementing a large-scale program on creation of a network of children’s health centers. Each region has one modern children’s health resort with all conveniences for comfort vacation and useful pastime for children during the holidays.
Fourteen children’s health centers, organically integrated into the local natural landscape, operate in the unique natural health resort Gekdere. They are located in the picturesque foothills of the Kopetdag. They have become centers of communication for children from all over the world. This health resort hosted a lot of prestigious international school competitions, major international festivals and art festivals, conferences and seminars with participation of dozens of talented children as well as teachers from different parts of the world.
Young Turkmen citizens enjoy summer holiday on the sea coast. Children’s and family recreation centers Dayanch (stronghold) and Arzuv (dream) earned a well-deserved fame as the effectively operating centers for comprehensive development of children and organization of the youth festival movement. These recreation centers were opened in 2010, on International Children’s Day. Later, five comfortable children’s health resorts for 300 children each, belonging to the regions of the country, were added to them. They are called according to the names of the regions – Ahal, Balkan, Mary, Lebap, Dashoguz.
A children’s health center owned by the state concern Turkmenneft with the self-explanatory name of Gara Altyn (black gold) for 400 children operates in the city of Khazar on the Caspian Sea coast, providing all necessary conditions for recreation of children and a perfect family vacation. Excursions for children of oil workers to the places of extraction of oil are a distinctive feature of this center. Children get acquainted with infrastructure facilities of this industry and learn about the development of offshore oil and gas fields and profession of their parents.
The new health centers on the Caspian Sea coast provide a unique opportunity to harmoniously use the healing properties of the sea water, the sun and local natural conditions throughout the year. So, one can talk about the establishment of a zone of children’s sea resort of international importance on the Turkmen coast.
“This world belongs to children” is the key concept guiding the summer vacations for young Turkmen citizens. All health centers have excellent conditions for good vacations, health recreation and harmonious development of the younger generation. Children have access to cozy, bright libraries with a rich book fund, computer classes, cultural centers and video halls, swimming pools, water parks, tennis courts, various sports and playgrounds, sleeping quarters and dining rooms, sandy beaches on the coast close to the buildings.
Long before the start of the summer vacation season, specialists from the ministries of education, sports and youth policy, culture, health and medical industries and public associations jointly develop plans, taking care of all aspects of children’s recreation.
Each of the ministries and public associations has its own role and responsibility, clearly defined goals and objectives. And all this to ensure that children get a huge charge of health and vigor over the summer, become stronger physically and spiritually, discover their talents, show their intellectual abilities and learn how to communicate. The best teachers and educators are part of this work at children’s health resorts. All of them, as well as interns, undergo special trainings before the start of the season.
In children’s health resorts, schoolchildren are provided with healthy nutrition, attend learning clubs for variety of interests, concerts, festivities, master classes, trips and excursions, meetings with famous personalities, writers and poets, popular pop singers, artists of theaters and circus. Kids don’t have time to get bored.
The recreation program is designed for different age categories of children, enabling every one of them to prove out, gain new knowledge and skills, develop creative thinking and leadership qualities and, at the same time, learn to work in a team, interact with other children.
Every day in the children’s centers is scheduled to the minute, filled with exciting events. Both lovers of constant movement, restless persons and adherents of quiet communication are involved in interesting activities. A trusting and benevolent environment helps to open the creative abilities of children, especially since many centers have their own puppet theaters, music and film studios. This is how poets and writers, directors and artists, musicians and singers are born in these centers. By the end of the shift, children produce three-minute videos about their vacation for presentation at the contest later on.
Members of the national parliament and representatives of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Turkmenistan work closely with the coordinator of children’s recreation – the Ministry of Education. In a playful, unobtrusive way, children learn about their rights, activities of the international youth awareness organization, benefits of a healthy lifestyle, traffic rules, life safety standards and many more things that they will need in the future.
Clubs of interests in traditional crafts, mainly carpet weaving, embroidery, jewelry, study of Turkmen folklore, ritual songs and dances bring children closer to the national culture. Organized intellectual competitions in geography, culture and literature, excursions to national museums and meetings with famous masters improve children’s knowledge about the history and culture of their native country.
This summer, trips to the capital’s cultural and entertainment center Alem (universe), the amusement park World of Fairy Tales (Turkmen Disneyland), the Museum of Wildlife, the zoo, as well as to the real motor city of the traffic police were especially popular with vacationers in Gekdere. Excursions to places of interest in the regions, visits to historical and cultural monuments, museums and parks were also organized for children vacationing in regional centers.
The infrastructure for children’s entertainment being created in the country helps the younger generation to have fun not only in the capital or large cities but also in regional centers. One of these recreational facilities with an amusement park for rural children opened in August in the seaside village of Esenguly in Balkan province. The territory of the new center accommodates pavilions for recreation and various attractions with “fun slides”, swings and a carousel, a children’s race track, a toy store, a slot machine hall and a number of other facilities, and children commute between them on a wheel train.
It has become a good tradition for the country’s museums to organize traveling exhibitions. A number of such educational events took place this summer at the children’s health centers. In turn, the libraries held literary evenings in the camps and introduced children to new books.
Future travelers, discoverers, adventure lovers especially enjoy walking tours acquainting them with the nature of their native country, ecology, the richest world of local flora and fauna, which undoubtedly makes vacations of children useful and educational, teaches them to respect nature. Fresh wind, smell of fragrant herbs, singing of birds, murmur of streams or alluring expanse of the sea, watching the life of an anthill, flight of dragonflies and bright butterflies, chirping grasshoppers and studying the area with a real map under the guidance of their leader – it seems for children that there is nothing more interesting!
Festivals organized in children’s centers helped young dreamers to travel to another country or the literary world of their favorite characters. For example, on the Day of the English or Russian language, all “residents” of children’s centers had to communicate exclusively in these languages, various performances and concerts were staged on this day. On the Day of Book, all events were dedicated to the world of literary heroes aimed at familiarization of children with reading. And how many new songs have been learned over the summer and what a fun it was to sing them all together!
Even with all planned events, children are still given the opportunity to design activities on their own and participate in their preparation. One of them was a climbing competition, organized at the suggestion of children with the help of specialists from the Agama alpine club.
Exhibitions of art works, contests in various sports, competitions and concerts are the final events of each shift. Their winners and participants are invariably awarded the challenge cups, memorable prizes and gifts.
And the memory of unforgettable days, carefree time of travel and entertainment spent in the warm embrace of the sonorous and kind Turkmen summer filled with colorful events and new friends are the main reward for children.