Youth Camp in Sindelfingen: An Inspiring Exchange for Ukrainian Youth from Zviahel

Initiative and Planning

The idea for the recreational camp emerged from the desire to offer Ukrainian youth a safe and peaceful environment to relax and engage with others. The participants, aged 13 to 17, had previously been involved in their hometown’s “School Civic Budget” project, a Council of Europe-supported program aimed at strengthening democratic processes. Their engagement was directly acknowledged by the city of Sindelfingen, which provided financial resources, infrastructure, and logistical support to make the camp a resounding success.

The connection between Zviahel and Sindelfingen was established through the Cities4Cities United4Ukraine platform, which has previously organized several aid transports to Zviahel and fostered a solidarity partnership with Ludwigshafen am Rhein. An initial recreational camp for children and teenagers from Zviahel took place in Sindelfingen in winter 2022.

A Diverse Program with a Reception at Sindelfingen Town Hall

From May 25 to June 3, 2024, the 23 teenagers and their two chaperones and city council representatives experienced a diverse program. A highlight was the meeting at the town hall, where Mayor Dr. Bernd Vöhringer welcomed the group on Tuesday, May 28. In his welcome speech, Dr. Vöhringer emphasized the importance of this exchange:

“The ongoing war in Ukraine has dramatically altered the daily lives of its youth. I am particularly pleased that we can offer these young people from Zviahel a welcome respite and new positive experiences with this camp. Our connection to Zviahel began with Sindelfingen’s very first aid delivery via the Cities4Cities United4Ukraine platform. I am delighted that we have maintained and deepened this connection through projects like the youth camp. I thank everyone involved in making this camp possible.”

During the meeting, the teenagers presented a thank-you video for a donated fire truck and a film about Zviahel. A musical performance in Ukrainian and an engaging discussion with the mayor about youth initiatives in Germany rounded out the event.

Additional Activities and Highlights

The program included a city tour of Sindelfingen, a visit to the Sindelfingen fire station with a firefighting demonstration, a trip to the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, an excursion to Hohenzollern Castle, and much more. There was also a youth political exchange with the Sindelfingen Youth Council, celebrating its 11th anniversary at the Nord Youth Center. A special highlight was the painting masterclass, where the teenagers painted the Martinskirche Sindelfingen. Two signed artworks were presented as gifts to the mayors of Zviahel and Sindelfingen.

Roland Narr, head of Sindelfingen’s main office, commented: “We are delighted to provide our guests with an unforgettable time during their stay in Sindelfingen. The varied program allows the teenagers to explore our city and surroundings, offering many opportunities for exchange and fun.”


The positive impact of the camp was immediately evident. The Ukrainian teenagers expressed their gratitude for Sindelfingen’s hospitality and the many friendly encounters. Many of them formed new friendships and enjoyed the interaction with their peers. They appreciated the chance to escape the war and gain new strength in a peaceful environment.

Dr. Vöhringer was impressed by the youth’s commitment and highlighted the significance of such projects for intercultural exchange and the strengthening of democratic participation: “I am pleased that we could contribute to giving the youth from Zviahel an unforgettable time, allowing them to make new friends and have positive experiences.”

The city of Zviahel thanked all those involved in making this successful youth camp possible and looks forward to future joint projects with Sindelfingen.

The recreational camp in Sindelfingen was a great success and a shining example of how community engagement and humanity can bring about positive change. The teenagers returned home with renewed self-confidence and new perspectives. The camp not only improved their quality of life but also laid the foundation for long-term friendships and cooperation between Germany and Ukraine.

This project demonstrates the importance and value of providing support and hope to young people in times of crisis. It is an inspiring model that can undoubtedly be continued and expanded in the future to help even more youth in need.