CEE/Newsletter/Newsroom/Armenian Wikicamps’ comeback after three years

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Armenian Wikicamps’ comeback after three years
By: Mari Avetisyan

This summer after three years' break, young people had the chance to come together once again for the long-awaited Wikicamps organized by Wikimedia Armenia. The camps were for teenagers aged 13-18 and young individuals aged 19-35.

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After three years finally Wikicamp is here!

This was the first thing everyone kept saying to each other when meeting instead of “hi, hello” weeks and months before the first Summer Wikicamp. The Armenian wiki community, similar to others, had its ups and downs after COVID-19 pandemic and hardships that Armenia has faced since September 2020. Wikicamps have become a safe space, a beam of light for the teenagers and the youth of the Armenian wiki community where they share their thoughts and experiences, their joy and sorrow with their peers.

The First Summer Wikicamp was for teenagers aged 13-18. A lot of new faces and very few familiar ones. It turns out three years is a lot of time in a sense that new generations joined the movement. It was their first Wikicamp ever so it should become one of the best memories of their lives. Most of them were from different Wikiclubs that are operating in various regions of Armenia: one more proof that Wikiclubs do a great work in engaging young people in the movement. Seven days of Wikicamp passed like a second with a lot of editing, competing, sports, fun, cultural events, singing and dancing, learning and sharing, and making new friends. As always the Wikicamp ended with a traditional campfire, a lot of crying, already missing the camp and new friends and promising to continue contributing to Wikipedia in order to meet next year.

The Second Summer Wikicamp was a much more serious one because young professionals spent seven days writing articles on topics of their profession and interest - medical students, doctors, linguists, history students, etc. The most exciting fact here was that most of the participants were familiar faces. These are those kids who three years ago were participants of Wikicamps for teenagers who grew up and now are eligible for youth Wikicamps. It’s always inspiring to see new faces but it’s heartwarming when the kids grow up right before your eyes, continuing to be dedicated Wikipedians. Here are some thoughts Wikicamp participants shared with us after the camps:

“There is a lot to tell but you have to be a part of the process to completely understand it. The busy agenda gave us a lot of strength and energy instead of making us tired. The competitions allowed us to self-express and uncover new skills.”

“There is a lot to tell, I don’t know where to start. I’ll just say that everything was so right and ideal. There were many new faces, new people. Lots of respect to the organizers. It’s difficult to return after the camp.”

Due to the two summer Wikicamps, 881 articles were created (in total 14,039,784 bytes) and 210,000 bytes were added to Wikidata. Due to these camps some content gaps were filled greatly related to medicine, Armenian football and international cuisine.

Additional information: Wikicamp Facebook page, Wikimedia Armenia's Instagram page