Eco Campus 2020

Spending time together in nature with enthusiasm, discovering new places and increasing one's self-esteem.
Serena Cimini

For the summer of 2020, the Istituto Cavazza and the I.Ri.Fo.R. of Emilia-Romagna had organized an educational, empowerment and rehabilitative camp at Borgo Basino - Fattorie Faggioli, an eco-sustainable and multifunctional farm in the Tuscan-Romagna Apennines and a school farm with extensive experience providing workshop activities for children and young people. In the year of the pandemic, after months of a lockdown particularly difficult for youth with disabilities and their families (struggling with the challenges of distance learning and the inability to be in touch with peers because schools were closed and sports activities and workshops in the afternoon were cancelled), we thought it was essential to be there, not to miss our long-awaited annual summer appointment. So, we suggested an outdoor vacation, surrounded by green hills, in harmony with nature, in the name of CARE (taking care of yourself, others and the environment).


Certificate of participation at the Eco Campus - Borgo Basino, July 2020

The Eco Campus project was initiated well before the health emergency: in fact, we had already planned to propose to youth with visual disabilities an entirely new experience, after years of seaside vacation. This option turned out to be fortunate because it allowed us to organize a vacation in complete safety, in a protected, uncrowded environment, respecting all the rules on distancing both outside and inside the apartments of the farmhouse. A lot of time was spent to get informed, study the regulations, train operators and comply with regional and national guidelines on the prevention of contamination. The vacation was organized on two 1-week stays each (each stay included 14 visually impaired youth) dedicated to outdoor education.


Federica Faggioli and Evan Welkin of Borgo Basino took care of the workshops of the educational farm: learning about animals (donkeys, goats, chickens), activities in the garden, making beeswax to produce candles, learning about aromatic herbs, the "Beauty Lab" with the making of clay beauty masks made by the kids, pizza and finally the experience of archery.


Youth at the Eco Campus, Borgo Basino, Fattorie Faggioli, July 2020

Other workshops and activities were carried out by our team of professionals: workshops dedicated to the environment and ecology, walks in the Apennines (even at night!), swimming and water activities in the pool, cooking workshops, treasure hunts in Braille, evenings around the fire dedicated to music, games and reading.


For the very first time, the Philosophy For Children was experimented with children and young people with visual disabilities: the laboratory, led by Faustino Rizzo, aimed at strengthening the processes of thought, conceptualization and reasoning through specific tools and methods. During the stay all the participants also had the opportunity to spend a few hours in the company of the orientation and mobility instructor and personal autonomy Marco Fossati, according to an individualized formula that was highly appreciated by all.


Eco Campus 2020 was a beautiful summer camp because it brought hope, serenity, and a sense of normalcy to all of us (staff and young people) in a period so full of stress and uncertainty. At the Fattorie Faggioli, thanks to the helpfulness and kindness of the owners, we felt welcomed and safe, more centred with ourselves and more in harmony with the surrounding environment.


Youth at the Eco Campus, Borgo Basino, Fattorie Faggioli, July 2020

We will not forget the joy of the blind and visually impaired youth when they were finally able to meet again, the desire to stay a little bit away from home to experience autonomy, the enthusiasm to try and discover new things, sometimes mixed with a little bit of worry, their need to feel grown up but also to be listened to, reassured and taken by the hand.


"I felt welcomed as if I were part of the family," said a girl of only 10 years, at her first experience at camp, confiding to us: "Now my self-esteem is a little higher because I realized that I am worth something."


Previous | Next