An alpine choir and fifty children aged 15 to 20, units that merge into a single, sometimes smeared, melody that connects past, present and future. The ANA school camp, ongoing in recent weeks in the Merlini alpine refugium just above Ferrara di Monte Baldo, is also this: an evening spent testing his voice in a choir, in the words of Bènia Calastoria by Bepi de Marzi, the story of Beniamino’s return to his Venetian mountains, after immigrating to Belgium to work in the mines.
On Monday evening, the management of ANA Verona reached out to the group of boys – 39 under 18 and 11 adults, boys and girls, mostly Veronese but also from outside the region – who participate in the ANA school camp that started on Saturday 23 July and which closes on Sunday 7 August with the excursion to Monte Grappa.
The day starts at 6.30 and continues with morning gymnastics, breakfast, personal and room cleaning before the start of the activities: orientation courses, theoretical and practical demonstrations of civil protection, first aid, mountain excursions, alpine songs, sports competitions. They are tested, putting their competitiveness and altruism to the test. Projected by the stories into life in the mountains of their peers a century ago, they learn history. Above all, they rediscover the meaning of “we”, how to get out of individualism to join together and create communities. All without smartphone, tablet, social network and Wi-Fi network: in this case a valuable added value.
During these two weeks – a useful training opportunity also at school level for the recognition of educational points – young people live a community experience, rejected Alpine values, history and memory, experience and live in the mountains. “To be here with these guys, to see the team spirit and the enthusiasm that moves them is a huge satisfaction. Looking at them also teaches us adults a lot and makes us reflect. This experience is a training ground for life and citizenship that should be extended to all of us and our young people”, commented the president of ANA Verona Luciano Bertagnoli. “After the flag is raised, they are divided into groups for activities, both in the classroom and in the mountains. We have put a lot of effort into making these young people a cohesive group: the first moments were more difficult, but already after a few days the progress was clear», explains field manager Claudio Rondano. “I want to join Civil Protection and this is an excellent opportunity to experience live”, says Michela Capietti, 19, who got to know him from the Alpine world through the stories of her father, Penna Nera di Aosta. All day without a mobile phone? “It’s not a problem for us, for many of our comrades instead, the first few days were really hard, but then they got used to it”, adds Capietti with an adventure companion: Luca Fattori, 20, already volunteering in the civilian . Protection, excited about working with Rangers.
Exposed to periodic tampons, to be able to carry out group activities peacefully despite Covid, young people are involved in the activities normally carried out by ANA and civil protection volunteers, learning basic concepts of first aid, of setting up tents, of related activities to logistics , radio communication, activities in the dog units, of the forest fire department, drone team. And again, climbing and trekking and the opportunity to spend a few moments with the Alpine troops on duty, thanks to the cooperation between the ANA and Alpine troops, to also connect with candidates and troop volunteers. In recent days, the young people worked at the school camp together with the soldiers from the 4th Ranger Alpine Parachute Regiment, where they did orienteering and searched for tracks in the forest. And the collaboration continues tomorrow morning, when the group is expected at 8 o’clock at the Duca di Montorio barracks, where the Rangers are stationed. Then towards Borgo Roma to challenge the King Rock climbing wall. On Saturday, however, they will travel to Bassano, where, together with the groups from the other ANA school camps in Veneto, they will climb to the top of Monte Grappa to the impressive military memorial, which houses the remains of over 12 thousand soldiers, 10 thousand of whom are unknown.