* Soviet young pioneers: camp quality

Soviet Young Pioneers: Camp Quality

Figure 1.--Here we see an unidentified Soviet summer camp, we think in the 1960s. The children are in formation. We believe this was how they began each day. Note the buildings, a far cry from the tents that were commom before Workd War II. We are not sure who the person is depicted in the poster/banner. Note the trumpet and vsalutes by siomebof thebolder campers, nit not the senior leaders. A reader writes, "When I look at the image there appears to be two boys wearing romper styled shorts rather than the loose fitting short pants that most of the other boys are wearing. I could be mistaken but I thought it worth bringing to your attention. Both boys are at the younger age. The last boy in the back row on the far left of picture in the light colored romper shorts and another boy in the middle of the same row in very dark romper shorts." We think our reader is correct. We believe that the children became eligible for camp at age 7 years when they became Octoberists. Our understanding is that parents could buy inexpensive camp uniform sets in the stores. Apparently these parents for whatever reason did buy the camp sets. The biybat left is probably 7 years old. The other boys is probanly a little older, perhaps 8 years old. A reader writes, " did work for a Russian economist teaching at Harvard (long story). His children around year 2000 wore tights and rompers, but only when in Russia. Also, camp age began around age 7 as having children with family to watch them was considered important till then. I suspect the same is true, if not more so, in 1960s when this photo was taken. It maybe more conservative mothers or some other issue that had the two boys dressed in rompers."

Soviet Pioneer camos varied greatly in quality. Like schools and stores for privlidged adults there were some very impressive camps and reportedly hard to get into. Pioneer camps varied sunstantially in terms of facilities, especially lodging and other facilities. Meals also varied widely. Location was another variable. Especially important was proximity to bodies of water, forests, or other attractions. [Kondorsky] Most camps attended by the great bulk of the children were reportedly not very well equipped, although we have only limited sources of information. One observer indicates that except for the few well-equipped camps that they were rather boring places. Of course competent leaders can dream ip fun actibities without much in the way of facilities. A Russian reader writes, "Facities did vary. At least meals and medical care were always very good. The state carefully kept eye on that. Though some camps were lodged in buildings, some only had tents. They were almost always loacted rivers or lakes and in forest or other natural settings. Some were in suburbs and others in especially nice resort spots like the Crimea." [Prokiof] A Canadian author spent a summer in one of the showcase camps, but during the summer her group was taken for a visit to one of the regular camps. She was struck by the difference. She tells us, "To be honest I'm still so surprised the Soviet Government let westerners even see the regular camps and I can only guess that it was their own strange naivety." The Soviets running the camps having never visited the West had no idea about how far below American and Canadian standards these camps were. "Just read my experience at the regular camps in my book Lost in Moscow. It is really a fast fun sometimes-scary bizarre experience that is written so it reads like fiction even though it is true---I tell it through my 11-year-old eyes---I kept a day-to-day diary while I was in the USSR and I didn't miss a day. [Koza] To some extent, camp facilities were a matterbof chronology. Facilities except at prestige camps were very nasiv brfore World War Ii. Gradually as confitions improved after the War, facilitoes were improved. Ecen suringbthera of stahanatiin as the Soviet ecinmy exoerienved problems, camp facilities were not high cost projects.


Koza, Kirsten. Lost in Moscow (2005).

Koza, Kirsten. E-mail messages, September 25 and 26, 2005.

Prokiof, Ivan. E-mail message, October 2, 2002.



Navigate the Historic Boys' Uniform Chronology Pages:
[Return to the Main chronologies page]
[The 1900s] [The 1910s] [The 1920s] [The 1930s] [The 1940s] [The 1950s] [The 1960s] [The 1970s] [The 1980s] [The 1990s] [The 2000s]

Navigate the Historic Boys' Uniform Web Site:
[Return to the Main Soviet Pioneer camp page]
[Return to the Main summer camp page]
[Return to the Main Pioneer summer camp page]
[Activities] [Biographies] [Chronologies] [Countries] [Essays] [Garments] [Organizations] [Religion] [Other]
[Introduction] [Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Questions] [Unknown images]
[Boys' Uniform Home]

Navigate the Historic Boys' Uniform Web organization pages:
[Boys' Brigade] [Camp Fire] [Hitler Youth] [National] [Pioneers] [Royal Rangers] [Scout]

Created: 8:08 AM 5/30/2020
Last updated: 8:08 AM 5/30/2020