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Prometheus camps

These camps are made up of curious pondering, fun games, deep conversations, amazing people, interesting opinions, passionate debates and warm hugs… Prometheus camp could be the best week of your life. Take a leap of faith and join us!

The camps are meant mainly for youth who have just completed their 8th or 9th grade (in the Finnish school system from 14– to 16-year-olds) but also youth older than that, regardless of their religion. Originally the camps were meant as growing-up camps for non-religious youth but nowadays everyone interested is welcome! The idea of the camps came from ethics students in the late 80's. The first camp was organized in 1989. Most camps are in Finnish but there are also camps in Swedish and English.

Prometheus camps usually take place from Sunday to Sunday. The week is built on themes that are current and puzzling in the lives of the young. These basic themes include differences and discrimination, drugs and addictions, society and making a difference, the future, media, world views, relationships, sexuality, and the environment. The themes are discussed in many interesting and diverse ways. The idea is not to teach or lecture, because the most essential way to form opinions is through an equal group discussion. Group sizes vary from three or four to a group of all campers. Themes are also discussed through debating, acting, games, live action role plays or simulations, and other activities. 

The leaders don’t have the answers, rather every camper gets to think on their own and hopefully from as many angles as possible. The goal is to build one’s world view bit by bit, to get to hear others’ opinions and to develop good arguments to support one’s own opinions. In addition, the week includes camp life. There is singing, enjoying the sauna, camp fires, being together and feeling the atmosphere. The group is tight, because it usually consists of 7–16 campers. Those who were only strangers in the beginning of the camp week can become very close, even life-long friends towards the end of the week. On the last day of the week a Prometheus celebration is held. The family members of the campers are more than welcome to join the celebration of their child’s step towards adulthood.

Two senior leaders and five junior leaders who have been trained during the spring are responsible for the camp week. The junior leaders are 15–19 years old who have attended the camp at least once before. The leaders plan the camp beforehand and makes sure that the week goes well.

Prometheus Camp Association has been founded especially to take care of the camp arrangements. Both the association and the camps are politically and religiously nonaligned. The association gets some financial aid from the Ministry of Education and Culture, but it is mostly run by volunteers. For example all the leaders are volunteers. Only the cooks and the office workers get paid.

Initially the Prometheus camps were meant for those who do not belong to any religion, but all who are interested are welcome. Nowadays about one third of the campers belong to the church and also go to a confirmation camp. Originally the idea of the camps came from Ethics students in the end of the 1980’s. The first camp was arranged in 1989.

The camps are arranged all over Finland. The camp sites are normal camp centres. A calm environment far from the noises of the cities offers a chance to build up the camp atmosphere and time to be with fellow campers. Descriptions of the camp sites can be found in Finnish in the camp catalog. For more information, ask the office of the association.

The cooks in the camps prepare tasty, home-style food. Two warm meals, a breakfast, a coffee break and an evening snack are served daily. Special diets and allergies are taken into consideration, if they are told well beforehand.

In addition to the normal camps there are a few special camps: one small-vessel camp, two music camps, two sports camps, two visual arts camps, two drama camps, one writing camp, one dance camp, and a hiking camp in Lapland.

As concerns languages other than Finnish, there are also three Swedish-language camps and three English-language international camps.

The camps are normally meant for 14 to 16 year olds, but there are three “senior” camps set for 17–20-year-olds. There are two adult camps for over 20 year olds, also. Over 20-year-olds, who are interested in the camp activity, are also welcome as leaders.

The cost in 2018 is 231 euros for normal camps (also the English international camps), 261-360 euros for special camps and 280 euros for adult camps (for students, the unemployed and pensioners 210 euros). The price includes the camp programme, full board and an accident insurance. The insurance is for those who have a a social insurance number (henkilötunnus) in Finland.

Travel arrangements and costs to and from the camp site are the sole responsibility of the camper and family. If the cost of the camp is prohibitive for a potential camper, some financial support can be applied for from the social welfare office of the municipality, where the camper lives. If the municipality declines the camper’s request, the camper can ask for a possible discount from our office.

For further information about Prometheus camps and Prometheus Camps Association in English, please contact international@protu.fi.

Photo: Matti Pousi

© Prometheus-leirin tuki ry