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Once by the sky-blue sea (Magic Camp History)


Magic Camp came into the world from love to children, the wish to fill their summer holidays with fun and excitement, as well as personal development and growth, to show them that English learning is not so much about memorizing words, reading and translating texts as about exciting games, interesting songs and socializing with friends.


The idea had been in the air for a long time. Thanks to the enthusiasm and persistence of Igor Blinov and his colleagues similar camps were being created in Kerch and Alushta in the Crimea in the late 90s. But the real incentive to create Magic Camp came from Tatiana Merkulova, who with her determination, knowledge and experience managed to form a team of counselors and organize the first English summer camp in the Kharkiv region in summer 2000. The name of the camp was “Discovery 2000”. Apart from being a useful experience, participation in the “Discovery 2000” camp proved the possibility of a dream come true.


In March 2001 we started creating a program of personality development with particular emphasis on arousing interest to learning English, which before long was named “Magic Camp” (prompted by Mel Gibson in “Maverick”). The program was based on games, competition and the idea of Leading is Action course by Stephanie Richard, a peace corps volunteer. The dream was realized thanks to the enthusiasm, persistence and creativity of our first team (Katia Nalyvaiko, Vasia Zhyglatyi, Julia Chimiris, Sergei Goncharuk, Lera Telpukhovskaya, Olia Starikova, Liuda Suprun, Dima Grigorenko, Misha Gritsenko, Julia Klimenko, Tania Kozlovets, Dima Kopiy, Lesia Goncharuk, Marina Samonenko, Valik Misostov).


In the fairly modest living conditions of the “Lesnoi” camp by Sudak our first “magics” plunged into the world of English and interesting and informative adventures. We successfully organized 4 sessions for schoolchildren (“The History of English”, “Leadership”, “Culture” and “Mythology”) and 1 session for students (“16+”).


The beginning of autumn did not put an end to the Magic Camp program. Its logical continuation was the “Magic World” program. We organized a Magic Camp Party for our campers, followed by Halloween, Christmas and St. Valentine’s Day. We launched 4 clubs: “Socializing in English”, “We’re all different”, “Journalism”, “Leadership.”


In January 2002 Magic Camp was divided into 2 branches: Summer Quest and Winter Magic. We spent Christmas in the Staryi Saltov tourist centre named after Soich and gained the first experience of organizing winter English camps.


In summer 2002 we faced extension problems. We increased the number of sessions from 4 to 8 and the number of locations from Sudak to Simeiz, invited American counselors, but failed to attract the anticipated number of participants.


Despite being generally successful, the summer Magic Camp season needed certain revision and additional work to lay the basis for more serious development. In October 2002 we launched the Counselor School. But due to the fact that the camp director and some of its counselors went to study to the United States in 2003 Magic Camp was forced to take the time off.


In September 2003 the Magic Counselor School resumed its work. We started preparing for the 2004 season, organized the Halloween, Christmas and St. Valentine’s Day parties.


The expected success came after the Winter Magic in the Carpathians. The happy faces and shining eyes of the returned campers spoke for themselves (read the feedback here). Everybody enjoyed the camp experience so much that they did not want to say goodbye to each other. Thus, the Magic Camp Club was launched. The “magics” attended the monthly meetings in the American Centre, which were later on transferred to the hospitable Vienna House which used to be in Lermontovskaya Street.


Summer Quest 2004 represents our further quest through trial and error for a suitable place for our program: we spent 2 sessions for schoolchildren in the “Volga” holiday home in Kanaka, 2 sessions in the “Crimean Pearl” recreation centre in Alupka and 2 sessions in the “Coral” recreation centre for children in Medvedevo by Yevpatoriya, and also 1 adult session in Alupka.


Winter Magic 2005 faced the challenges of overcoming suspiciousness and the “what if something bad happens” position with the qualitative leap in the civic consciousness of the Ukrainian nation in the background. In spite of the doubts of the many we managed to form a group of positively thinking participants and did carry out the program in Zakarpattia with the “East and West together!” motto.


At the same time we witnessed the first steps of the Magic Camp Abroad program. We went to the Karkonosze mountains in Poland. We faced some challenges as the pioneers of the program, but it was interesting and enjoyable anyway.


Summer Quest 2005 was conducted in Malyi Mayak and the “Volga” holiday home in Kanaka (Crimea), and also in the “Enerhetyk” holiday home in Zakarpattia.


Winter Magic 2006 was traditionally spent in “Enerhetyk”, and Summer Quest 2006 we spent in Malyi Mayak. The only novelty was a not-so-numerous session in Ponizovka by Simeiz, which turned out to be a great experience – friendly, enjoyable and warm.


January 2007 (the traditional time for our Winter Magic) did not indulge us with snow, which nevertheless did not prevent us from keeping up the Christmas spirit! That winter we launched the new Magic Travel Ukraine program. We set out to explore the ancient Lviv. A fairy tale in stone! A breath of history! Living traditions! If only we could treat that beauty with due care…


The spring brought the new breath of the Magic Travel Abroad program. We started with exploring Hungary and Budapest at the end of March and afterwards enjoyed the beauty of the spring Prague at the end of May 2007.




Our current programs:


Summer Quest


Magic Autumn


Winter Magic 


Spring Magic


Magic Travel Abroad


Magic Travel Ukraine