Ciao, Grazie, Ci Vediamo

I was fortunate enough to get a chance to visit Dynamo Camp in Italy.  Yes, Italy!

What is Dynamo Camp and why was I invited?

SeriousFun Children’s Network is a global charity network of the camps for children affected by a serious illness. While at camp, campers will take part in various activities which have been missed or had to give up due to their illness under supported environment. Barretstown which I am currently working for is the first SeriousFun camp in Europe. Now in this region there are 5 other camps – France (L’Envol), UK (Over the Wall), Hungary (Bátor Tábor), Israel (Jordan River Village) and Italy (Dynamo Camp).

At Dynamo Camp they have a GSK employee Deborah Bravi, who is also on assignment as a PULSE volunteer of 2017.  The idea was Deborah to visit Barretstown and myself to visit Dynamo in return, see the camp and share experience each other.
Deborah visited us two weeks before my trip to Dynamo and we exchanged a lot of things – the motivation for PULSE, current assignment, challenges, and so on.  You can read her experience at Barretstown in her blog.
I’m pleased to know she had a precious time here.

Day 1

So, I arrived at Dynamo Camp in the late afternoon on Monday 30 October. Dynamo camp is located in a beautiful mountain area in Tuscany Italy, almost one hour drive from Florence. I met Deborah again and walked around the camp – the site was huge but beautifully mainteined.
The difference I noticed from Barretstown first was the meal – it was so Italian! They start with “primo” (risotto, lazagne or soup) and then “secondo” (meat or fish dishes) comes whereas we usually have everything on one-plate in Barretstown.  Olive oil and parmesan cheese on the table.  Love Italian food!

Day 2

The second day was a perfect sunny day with no cloud in the sky.  We jumped onto a cart and looked around more details of the camp site.


At Dynamo, they have an art workshop as part of their camp activity and campers enjoy creating various types of artwork.  What I impressed was the quality – they were created with the support of many professional artists who visited the camp and gave their talent to help campers express their imagination and creativity. They have the gallery to display the creation and you can even purchase them if you like, that is another good way to support Dynamo.

In the afternoon, we observed one interesting activity named Kamishibai. Kamishibai is a Japanese word which means “Paper Play”, and it is the way of storytelling using a set of paintings which describe the scenes of the story, and the presenter changes the picture as the story goes.  How Kamishibai fits into a camp activity is like this – the presenter (camp staff) asks one camper what the story is about and what’s the main character, the camper replies with any idea coming up in their mind, and he draws the picture of it.  Then he asks another camper what happens next, the camper replies and he draws… continues on and on until the story is concluded.  This is awesome because it’s totally an interactive session, all episodes come from the campers, everyone is involved, no one knows where the story goes, and it’s so much fun!!  I don’t speak Italian so I could not understand most of them, but I got some of them said something funny or unexpected things which made other campers laugh.  After the session I talked with the staff who facilitated Kamishibai and got surprised to hear that he came up with this idea by himself and developed as a camp activity from nothing!!

Day 3

This was the last day of my stay in Dynamo.
After breakfast, we went to see the activity which does not exist in Barretstown – Swimming Pool!


It was a bit cold day outside but inside the pool was perfectly air-conditioned. Of course, they don’t practice the butterfly stroke or do a time trial.  Just play and relax.  What I noticed is that the focus of this activity was not only entertaining children, but they also take care of parents.  I saw the activity staff trying to heal the parents’ stress and fatigue.  It is very important because they must have everyday life with huge pressures on them, thinking about how to deal with the disease and worrying about the future. Parents need a rest.  I’m sure it was a valuabe moment for them to spend time just for themselves and relax while the staff is taking care of their children.  In particular, in the last 30 minutes they played peaceful music and used instruments that makes comfortable sounds and vibration in the water.  Very nicely arranged programme.

As you can see it, I really enjoyed the stay.  Everyone I met at Dynamo was friendly and supportive, I felt like I was at home.  I didn’t know 90% of what they were talking about, but the last 10% I think I got them in some way. Also they seemed they understood me… even though I don’t speak Italian.  Communication is not just about languages, it’s your attitude and desire to know each other.


大変幸運なことに、イタリアにあるDynamo Campを訪れる機会をいただきました!

Dynamo Campとは?訪問のきっかけ

難病の子どもたちとその家族を対象としたキャンプを運営しているSeriousFun Children’s Networkという世界的なネットワークがあります。
その後ヨーロッパの他の国にも展開し、今ではフランス (L’Envol)、イギリス (Over the Wall)、ハンガリー (Bátor Tábor)、イスラエル(Jordan River Village) 、イタリア (Dynamo Camp) でキャンプが運営されています。


イタリアのDynamo Campでは、私と同じくGSKのPULSEボランティアとして Deborah Braviさんが派遣されています。
そこで、Deborahと私がそれぞれお互いのキャンプを訪問して経験をシェアしましょう、 という大変ありがたい提案があり、今回の出張が実現しました。
私がDynamoに行く2週間前にはDeborahがアイルランドに来て、 プログラムに応募した理由や現在の仕事内容、苦労したことなど、いろいろな話ができました。


というわけで、10月30日の夕方、 フィレンツェから車で1時間ほどの山間にあるDynamo Campに到着しました。













  1. Dear Tomoyuki,
    What a great experience!
    I thought you might be encouraged by talking with Deborah about your opinion and impression to current role of PULSE.
    To talk about Kamishibai, I didn’t know such a innovative method of creating original Kamishibai set. It seems so fun!
    You mentioned ”Parents need short rest or having relax time.”,I felt same impression when I joined Orange meal programme before.
    These kind of volunteer activities are so great and need to them.
    I’m looking foward to hearing from your wonderful experience during PULSE programme after you come back to Japan.


  2. Thanks Tomo for great sharing! It is really serious fun and to help people at the same time! Take care 😉

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