Friday, August 03, 2012

Military camp for youth

Youth military camp in Hungary promotes learning, responsibility and pride.

Recently, a new camp opened for Hungarian youth near the city of Zalaegerszeg. It is a "patriotism camp" (Hazaszeretet Tábor), where about 50 local Hungarian youth will spend several weeks during the summer. The camp is open to both boys and girls. The camp's program consists mostly of cultural heritage activities that show the youth their rich Hungarian culture, tradition and history. There are workshops that the youth get to participate in.

The youth are taught survivalist skills as they are shown fishing and hunting techniques. Hungarian Parliament House Speaker László Kövér attended the opening of the patriotism camp. He told the youth, “Always be proud of your Hungarianness, and never let others discourage you from it." He believes that the camp is very beneficial for Hungarian youth.

The Hungarian Government and the Budapest Police partnered up to open another camp for Hungarian youth as well. This one definately has a military feel to it. The camp is called "Military Camp" or in Hungarian, Militarytábor. The camp teaches boys and girls the same things that was mandatory for soldiers during the times when conscription existed in Hungary. Conscription no longer exists in the Hungarian military. It was phased out when Hungary joined NATO. The organization required that Hungary drop conscription in the military in order to create a more professional army.

The youth that attend the military camp participate in military exercises all day long. They train with and get to fire AK-47 assault rifles. They participate in urban combat, night raids, hand grenade throwing and camouflaging exercises. The camp is run by both military and police experts who give the youth the real feel for the military lifestyle. The youth that attend the camp also get to play sports and games such as football to keep them in shape. It is definitely a fun environment that the children will never forget.

The "patriotism camp" and the "military camp" have come under some criticism by the left-wing in Hungary. Some see these camps as far-right wing camps to train and indoctrinate Hungarian youth. They believe that Hungarian youth shouldn't feel proud of their heritage and culture. On the other hand, some see these camps in a different light. They believe that the camps are positive as they stress learning, responsibility and pride in your culture. Joining these camps is purely voluntary and they are not forced on anyone. This contrasts to the old communist regime when elementary students were "forced" to participate in the communist pioneers. The communist pioneers were a sort of scouts organization that indoctrinated Hungarian youth with far left-wing ideology.

We can say that the camps are definitely not far-right-wing training camps as some say. It seems that children who want to do something positive and fun are attending these camps. Far too long, Hungarians were not allowed to learn and enrich themselves in their long and proud history. When they want to do so, they are labelled as extremists. It seems that those on the Hungarian left still want to deny Hungarians their identity and a sense of pride as they agree with old views from the communist past.

For more on Militarytábor: