Let us describe these in details, with the education ideas behind each element. The community of Sindeon provides us the opportunity to trasmit important values to the children: ingenuity, cooperation, creativity, knowing our limits and how to expand them, thirst for knowledge, valor and cunning. We consider these values crucial during the development of the personality in the teenager age, and we use the methods of drama education, experience of creation and the power of the tales to educate them.
At the moment when someone enters our camp, he or she becomes a citizen of an imagined kingdom; chooses a name that will be his or hers for the next two weeks. This ‘character’ is the one who participates in the life of the kingdom, rules it or helps it to function; becomes part of a micro society. In this kingdom however, since it is a tale, the children can become knights, princesses or mages as well as the rulers of this land. Everyone can find a personality that he or she feels associated to, and this character can participate in adventures not possible in reality. Our aim is to create situations where they can test their cooperation abilities, skillfulness and representation and communication skills. Unknown situations emerge, where the grown-ups (we call them seniors, the organizers) are characters of this magical world, and they behave as the children-created story unfolds. The fights and rivalry between the children’s character turn into a cooperation when facing common enemies. The fellowships and friendships between the characters turn into real feelings after playing, however the rivalry remains within the game: everyone learns that they are not playing against each other, but with each other. Very often two (or even three) children come from the same family, and when the character-oriented play changes the sibling-relation, they become more aware of each other’s hidden qualities and learn again how to play and cooperate together.
The seniors are not only friendly creatures or deadly foes; they are active participants of everyday’s tale. The rules apply to them exactly as to the children. This advocates a really important message: the game and being part of this society is not based in any ways on the real age, physical or social background. The (senior) knight kneels before the (child) king or queen, just as the social norms of the game demand. Here, everyone is the writer, director and hero of the unfolding legend. The game modell that we create adapts the boundaries of the tale, and leaves behind everything that limits us in life: financial, physical or social backgrounds. We want the children to use the best of their inner abilities to solve the problems, not the familiar advantages.
The inherited social situations are not important here: someone’s appreciation in this society is only based on his or her behavior. It does not matter here that your parents are rich: you can only earn wealth through the game; if you come from a less successful family, here you can become the richest merchant. Let us provide you an example: one of our most heroic knights, Sir Nefarian was not hindered by having just one arm, just as he was able to win the gold medal in Peking and London as paralympic swimmer, Tamas Sors. The game is not restricted in time: throughout the two weeks, we live in this world day and night. It becomes our lives, not continuous drama sessions. It is not a theatrical play in 24 hours: sport, excursion, bonfine are just as part of the program as in every other camp. However, these are all influenced by the game: sport is not the boy’s playing futball – it is a knight’s tournament. We do not go hiking: we go to conquer a new land.
Within the kingdom of Sindeon, the only accepted currency is the ‘gold of Kál’ (specially crafted coins), that can be earned by participating in the kingdom’s life, and can be used to trade with each other. They can buy everything on this currency; they can only buy anything on this currency. Everyone starts the camp with the same premises: anything that you brought from home (chocolate, weapon, armor) stays in the storage until you earn it through the game. Children more attracted to economics than to becoming knights can also find their place: the kingdom is based on a comprehensive economical modell that adds an extra layer to the game. Since every item belongs to the Foundation, not to the kids, we can play freely with them. Weapons, armors are something you have to achieve during the game not something you own; you must be careful, because they can be stolen, and if you die, you lose everything you collected and have to start again, with a new character.
Not even the older teenagers (17-18 years old) drink alcohol or use any drugs on any of our programs. At night, instead of the general summer camp practice (where the teachers go to sleep and the teenagers get drunk) they participate in game programs designed for them. Yes, that means that the organizers hardy get any sleep at all (we sleep usually between 2am and 7 am), but we are used that. The younger kids go to sleep at 9-10 pm, the older ones can enjoy the ‘nightlife’ of the kingdom (going out to the forest to meet monsters and fight or learn), but the ‘tavern’ only sells raspberry juice as wine. Since they receive everything they need during the two weeks from us, they do not go shopping (it is strictly forbidden), so they dont even have a chance to buy any intoxication. Still, we have lots of older teenagers and they dont mind this at all: they go to festivals to drink, and in the camp they enjoy the game.