Tunnustusauhind „Lastega ja lastele“

Aita tunnustada lapsi, noori ja täiskasvanuid, organisatsioone ning ühendusi, kes oma algatuste või pikaajalise tegevusega on oluliselt panustanud laste ja noorte heaolusse!

Taotlus kandidaadi esitamiseks

Like a tropical holiday!

On the last Sunday of March, for the eleventh time, the children of Estonian shelters and substitute homes could take a fun trip to the water park of Tallink Spa and Conference Hotel on its anniversary with the support of the non-profit association SEB Heategevusfond. In addition to swimming in the pools, water games and relaxing in the sauna, the children were also taught about water safety and diving.

Many families already discussed water safety at their breakfast table. On their road to Tallinn, the teachers could hear what the children thought of it. They spoke about their experience and how they would act near bodies of water. Several of them knew about cardiac massage and mouth-to-mouth breathing, but most of them admitted that they didn’t really know how to do it.

The anticipation was immense

The children were already excited the night before, asking where the water party would take place exactly and what they would see there. They double-checked their bags to make sure they had everything they needed: swimming trunks, towels, bathing suits, all of it. There was great anticipation and eagerness to have fun in the water.

As the water party was held to celebrate the anniversary of Tallink hotel, children had drawn nice greeting cards that were delivered gleefully to the employees.

While the water parties held for Tallink’s anniversaries have become an annual tradition, for some children it was their first time at the spa. They were the most excited. At first they did not know which pool to jump in – everything was just so exciting.

We know that pirate!

The party guests were greeted at the door by a jolly pirate. Several of them remembered him from the zoo where they had met last time. The children got the chance to have a friendly chat with the pirate and showered him with inquiries: “Are you a real pirate? Do you really live on the sea and in a ship?” The pirate recognised Marek immediately and said that the boy had grown a lot during the year, which made him very happy.

Led by the pirate, the children could take part in contests held in the water: shooting plastic bottles and water ball were particularly fun. Swimming in the outdoor pool was a challenge in itself. Anton found it fascinating that his hair would actually freeze. Many children loved the fact that they could swim and play in the water with children from other families, with whom they cannot spend so much time on a day-to-day basis.

Water is fun!

Kärola and Olga were star students according to the swimming coaches of the Estonian Swimming Federation, earning themselves swimming caps as a prize. The girls promised to share their knowledge with the children who were left home this time to teach them to swim better as well.

Marek really liked it in the water. It was also fun to splash around in the jacuzzi. But the best part, according to him, was diving with a scuba set. For this, you needed to wear a “big black thing”, with tubes for breathing. You could go right down to the very bottom with it.
And let’s not forget about the sauna to give everyone the chance to warm up. The little ones admired the stars lit on the ceiling, noticing that there was also steam in the sauna, like the outdoor pool, but here the steam was warm...

The steam sauna was also beneficial for several children with sensitive airways. Valentin said that they should visit the sauna more often. The 8-year-old Pavel and 11-year-old Annika also enjoyed relaxing in the sauna with their teachers. They visited both the steam room as well as the Roman sauna.

Underwater with tubes and masks

The diving course was taught by two instructors from the Barrakuuda diving club and, naturally, with full equipment. Anton and Laura, both 14 years old, were really stoked about it. Kaidur was also excellent and earnt praise for it from the instructors. Jegor found that it was quite cool to see what goes on underwater. He said that breathing with a tube was not at all as easy as it looked. Some boys tried out the diving equipment several times with the help of the instructors.

The children were in awe of the fact that you could look around and even breathe underwater with tubes and masks. By diving, several children overcame their fear of the water and became friends with it instead. It is, after all, well known that this friendship will last for a whole lifetime!

Due to his age, Trevor was not able to join the divers. However, he was not sad about it, as he would dive in the jacuzzi instead.

“The outdoor pool was awesome: it was steaming, but not cold at all! The small pool was bubbly, it was funny and ticklish to sit there!” explains one of the smaller children the new sensations.

Practice makes perfect: Kevin

Kevin woke up early that morning. He was very active, scrambling about as if being chased. He made his bed, got dressed and brushed his teeth and laid his swimming gear in the bag to be ready for the fun water party: everything by himself and with great eagerness, being proud to announce that he was ready to go. The other children found it funny, as they still have quite a bit of time left until leaving. Then Kevin helped the others get ready, being especially friendly and helpful.

At the spa, Kevin felt happier than ever before in the water. He also tried snorkelling along with his brother. It was not an easy skill to master, but Kevin was not a quitter and could finally enjoy the view under the water. The instructor would come and ask whether the boy could pass the gear on to others waiting, but Kevin remained firm, saying that he would try again.

Although the water got into his mouth and the tube did not stay in the place, Kevin did not give up before he got the hang of snorkelling. The teacher said that the eagerness and passion displayed by the boy at the pool will take Kevin to the beginnings of greatness and success.

Sometimes we’re just good at something new: Kert and Klaarika

Kert was also very excited about the water party, chatting so much before leaving that the others were getting a bit annoyed with it. Finally the boy admitted that he could not wait to leave.

He was also very active at the water party, eagerly taking part in all contests. He learnt snorkelling very fast and was instantly good at it even though it usually takes him a lot of time to try something new and sometimes he does not succeed at all. Now he had plenty of reasons to be proud of himself and he clearly felt it. Kert showed the girls of his family how to snorkel, moving back and forth proudly with his face in the water and the pipe sticking up.

The boy, who is otherwise restless, was very engaged with the activity and even had enough patience to master this new skill. By the night, he was a bit tired, but the emotions were intense!

Klaarika was at first, as her nature is, timid in the water, but she was increasingly brave to try new equipment and engage with the little ones and help them.

Let’s just stay in the water and have fun!

The children only agreed to get out of the pool to attend the first aid and diving class and to enjoy a tasty ice cream shake that gave them the much-needed nourishment to carry on with the fun.

The family who left the spa last was so carried away with the diving and bathing that they did not notice the pool emptying gradually. This weekend the clock had been set to daylight saving time, but one of the clocks at the pool was still showing winter time and everyone thought there was still an hour until five. Finally, the pirate kindly asked whether they were planning to go home and it became clear that it was already five o’clock.

Having fun in the water gave the children much positivity and new challenges. After the water party they shared their good spirits and powerful emotions with others. At the end of the day the children were not tired at all, but full of energy, with a content look in their eyes and lightness in their soul. They did get to have fun in the water all day, play ball and meet other children.

How to save someone who is drowning

The anaesthesiologist Piret Hermanson taught the families what to do when someone is drowning. The children listened carefully. They got to try mouth-to-mouth breathing and learnt how to help another person when an accident has happened to them. Marek was worried that when you need to push so hard, ribs may break and it may hurt – but what is more important, broken ribs or saving a life, is an important question.

The children were also taught about safety in and near the water: you’re not allowed to run and joke around near a body of water, or jump into the water in an unfamiliar place.

The children could also pose for a professional photographer to take family pictures to remind them of the day: some tried many poses to make sure that the pictures would come out really nicely.

You need to keep 200% of your attention on children in the water

When having dinner at home, the water party was all the children could talk about. They also remembered well how to give first aid. Now they know a bit more about how to save a life.

Visiting the spa was also an educational experience for a Ukrainian volunteer who accompanied one of the families of a children’s shelter. At first the young man was expecting to relax in the pool himself, but how wrong he was: you need to keep 200% or a bit more attention on the children.

The children really liked swimming in the outdoor pool – it was awesome to swim outside in the cold weather. Diving was fun and the instructors knew their field well and were helpful. And it was nice to enjoy a cocktail in the pool! Quite a few of the children drew a palm tree and sun when thinking back to the spa day – the water party was like a tropical holiday abroad.

 

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