Young participants in the SUNIA summer camps at the Goldeye Centre, near Nordegg, in August will balance learning about international affairs with recreation. (Contributed photo)

Young participants in the SUNIA summer camps at the Goldeye Centre, near Nordegg, in August will balance learning about international affairs with recreation. (Contributed photo)

International affairs camp near Nordegg will teach teenagers about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

The SUNIA camps balance immersive global affairs discussion with outdoor opportunities

Teenagers will learn the ins and outs of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at an immersive summer camp near Nordegg.

The international conflict is recognized as the greatest threat to world peace since the Cold War, so was chosen as a focal topic for students age 14 to 19, who will engage in a model United Nations Security Council this August at the Goldeye Centre, said Helen Cashman, co-chair of the SUNIA Board of directors.

The international affairs camps, run by SUNIA (Seminar on the United Nations and International Affairs) for 70 years, were re-started this summer after a two-year closure because of the pandemic.

Cashman feels the face-to-face interaction they will provide has never been more valuable, since many teens had fewer chances to socialize during the pandemic, and became more immersed in their electronics.

Two one-week-long international affairs camps — starting Aug. 7 and Aug. 12 — are presented by the independent non-profit group that’s hosted these kinds of summer camps since 1952, when the United States detonated the first hydrogen bomb.

Cashman feels the camps, which have drawn participants from around Alberta and beyond, present opportunities for youths to share their concerns and global views with other teenagers. By listening to councillors and expert speakers, participants can broaden their perspectives, build empathy and critical thinking skills, and explore more nuanced views of the world’s most challenging problems.

Cashman said daily discussions will be balanced with some recreation time, with hikes up Mount Baldy and to Siffleur Falls, canoeing and swimming in Goldeye Lake, and other outdoor activities.

SUNIA’s volunteers have usually gone into high school classrooms to talk about summer camp opportunities, but were unable to do so this year because of COVID concerns. As a result, Cashman said there are still some vacant camp spots to fill.

To learn more about the camps, which cost $595 and include food and boarding for a week, please visit sunia.ca. Scholarship opportunities are available.

Camping