Amazing Ex-campers Share Their Stories
Camp Golden Gate has been a big advocate for inclusion and diversity since it was established. In the spirit of embracing its values, Camp Golden Gate partnered with Teach for Bulgaria and gave five students scholarships to be part of Camp Golden Gate Summer Camp 2017.
We had the opportunity to interview three out of the five scholarship winners and ask them a few questions about their experience at Camp Golden Gate - Boyan Misliev from Vakarel, Bulgaria, 16 years old; Radi Tudjarska from Samokov, Bulgaria, 18 years old; and Bilyana Marinova (Bibi) from Kostinbrod, Bulgaria, 16 years old.
Camp Golden Gate was delighted to have all of the scholarship winners and truly believes that each of them added a special value to the Camp Golden Gate Family.
How did you hear about Camp Golden Gate?
Boyan: My English teacher told me about the opportunity and the scholarship of the camp.
Radi: I heard about Camp Golden Gate thanks to my Teach for Bulgaria teacher who always knew I loved writing and art. She saw that the camp provided two courses which suited my interests and told me about the scholarships provided by Camp Golden Gate in partnership with Teach for Bulgaria.
Bibi: One day at school, my French teacher told me that there is a competition in English. She gave me more information and also sent me the rules.
How has Teach for Bulgaria made a difference in your school?
Radi: My Teach for Bulgaria teacher spent extra time with me to explain how I can structure my application letter as she saw I was struggling a bit. I think this reflects how she was with all her students at my school. She was always ready on a moment’s notice to help and paid attention to the interests of her students so and could find extracurricular activities for all who were interested. Thanks to her we were able to organize two separate events on almost our own. I think this brought new life to my school as a whole.
Boyan: The teacher from Teach for Bulgaria has been a positive impact for me. Not only have I improved my English thanks to her dedication and support, but also she has become a friend in my life that is always there to support me and not feel alone.
Bibi: I became more responsible and confident. Now my school has more helpful teachers who are trying to motivate us and do their best to spend their time with us.
Tell us about your Camp Golden Gate courses and teachers? Was there something you did in class that was new to you?
Bibi: The courses in Camp Golden Gate were interesting and helpful. I chose Journalism and Creative writing, because I enjoy writing and I wanted to see if I am really good at it. There were also: Drama, How to Start a Startup, and more. Every week we were a part of a different course that lasted 3 hours per day. In the Journalism class, I learned to take interviews and to be more self-confident in my work, too! My teacher Joe explained the material in an interesting way. He had a sense of humor and agreed with my thoughts. I really enjoyed his classes and I learned a lot. The second week with my Creative Writing teacher, Jake, was amazing. We shared our thoughts and spent the whole time writing poems. Jake was the best teacher, because he was incredibly kind and impressive. He checked our writing and gave us wise advice.
Boyan: I had great fun in the camp and the teachers were really good. I learned a lot of things about life and the subjects I was interested in.
Radi: Camp Golden Gate had a variety of courses and sadly I was only able to attend the Art and the Creative Writing courses. The teachers were some of the most friendly people I have ever met and had alternative ways of teaching which I adored like going around Varna to observe graffiti instead of simply talking about them and discussing whether they are vandalism or art.
Tell us a story from Camp Golden Gate you keep telling your friends about?
Boyan: In the camp I was a part of The Golden Family. I'm telling my friend about that. People speak different languages and believe in different things but this is not a problem for our Family.
Bibi: I keep telling people about every detail of the Camp Golden Gate experience, but the best day for me was the first. When I came to Varna with my friend. We went to the hotel, but there was nobody of the people who had to be there. We went to the reception and said that we won an international camp scholarship. The receptionist was looking at us like we had fallen from Mars. He told us to wait, and after waiting 30 minutes, one woman came and said that we were in the wrong hotel. The woman took us with her and we realized that our hotel is next to the first hotel we went to. The first thing I saw there, were my teachers who were sitting and talking to each other. They accepted us with pleasure and I was sure that I would be very happy there. I keep telling everyone about that cool place, but they really can’t feel it until they go there.
Radi: There were also some extra activities like going on a jeep safari. It’s one of my favorite stories to tell my friends because it felt so much like being part of a pop song music video.
What in your experience with the camp would you say has the biggest impact on your life?
Bibi: I saw that the people there were really kind and we were all like one big family. Maybe we were all different, but we were united and that really helped, to see that in this world there are so many good people. I also learned that studying can be really fun If we find a way to make it so. The camp showed me the right door to choose for my future.
Radi: The biggest impact Camp Golden Gate made on me was the wonderful people I met there and the friends I made. I am still amazed by the fact that they did not fade into a summer memory but stayed with me as I still keep in touch with them.
Boyan: For 2 weeks I learned a lot of things and I made great friendships. Yes, I can say that the camp has the biggest impact in my life.
What makes Camp Golden Gate special to you?
Bibi: The camp is really special for me, because it touched my heart with the love everyone shared. Before the camp, I was unsure of what I wanted, I was unsure of my dreams and insecure about my achievements. But at the camp, everybody showed me that I have a talent in writing and told me that I will have a bright career if I continue.
Boyan: The memories are unforgettable and so are the relationship with the people and the teachers in the camp.
What are the best memories you have from Camp Golden Gate?
Boyan: For me the best memory was the stage play in drama class.
Bibi: Every day spent there is a memory for me. Camp Golden Gate is the best thing which happened in my life and which I will never forget. The best and brightest memory was when we hugged each other and started crying one day before going home. We stayed till 1 in the morning to write farewells on everybody’s T-shirts. The night was really hard for us, because we didn’t want to leave there. I remember that I stayed up all night crying and the next whole day, too like everybody else. I appreciate every single moment I spent at Camp Golden Gate, because it gave me the thrill I never felt.