Critical Thinking Development Camp in Veszprém

Critical Thinking Development Camp in Veszprém

On 23 July, the Critical Thinking Development Camp started in Veszprém for the groups Kaposvár 2 and Szeged 2. For those from Szeged, the long morning journey was made up for by a homely hospitality from Kaposvár and during the short break, the guests were treated to freshly prepared delicacies by their parents. There was a buzz on the bus, with everyone enthusiastically recounting their summer experiences.

After our arrival in Veszprém, the children started the afternoon with “warm-up” sessions, where they got to know the developers and got a taste of the topics of the further programmes. We ended the day with an evening stroll through the historic city centre.

In the coming days, issues related to artificial intelligence, ChatGPT and the future of our planet will be explored in sessions with pre-prepared essays. The sessions will also include logic games, puzzles and drama to exercise young minds. They will also get to know the town of Veszprém through a quiz, and visit Tapolca and the Castle of Szigliget to get to know the area. After a visit to Pannonhalma, we will hike in the Bakony, then spend an afternoon in Tihany and Balatonfüred, and there will be time to go to the beach and try out the bobsleigh track in an adventure park. At the end of the camp, Fogarassyné Dr. Vathy Ágnes, Associate Professor at the University of Pannonia, will give a presentation on ChatGPT and Artificial Intelligence, summarising the main issues of the week.

It looks like no one will have time to be bored!


Summary thoughts on the camp

Between 23-29 July we participated in a logic camp with groups 2 from Szeged and Kaposvár. In addition to testing our minds, we also visited the historical and geographical sights of the  county to the north of Lake Balaton and the surrounding area. In the morning sessions, Ádám Balogh developed the participants’ critical thinking skills with playful logic exercises, and András Zalavári held drama lessons on the responsibility of our decisions after team-building and cooperation games.

In the afternoons we visited the Castle of Szigliget; we explored the Tapolca Lake Cave; we sailed on Lake Balaton, visiting Tihany and Balatonfüred. Our programme included a visit to the Pannonhalma Abbey and a walk along the valley of the Cuha stream in the beautiful Bakony. There was also time and opportunity for team building and strengthening activities, and the all-night bowling and billiards party was really popular. The evening stroll along the shores of Lake Balaton and the laughter-filled board game parties became a favourite for many. Thanks to our volunteer Ádám Balogh, we tested our orientation and logic skills in an unusual city quiz. Even though we visited a lot of places during the week and had even more experiences, we all concluded that we would like to come back to this area, to leave behind the undiscovered places, because they are interesting, exciting and very beautiful.

 The camp (like the one we attended) was open to applications with an essay on a specific topic. This year’s topic was particularly exciting for us, as without AI and ChatGPT, there is no news on any platform today. Everyone is interested and excited about the topic. We, graduate and undergraduate assistants, also awaited with great interest the interactive lecture of Fogarassyné Dr. Vathy Ágnes, Associate Professor at the University of Pannonia. We also had a task, and not an easy one: the essays we received had to be evaluated after our immersion in the topic. This was done by our invited speaker. The best essays were written by Enikő Sármány, Edmond Rutai and Szandra Vass, based on the unanimous opinion of the “jury”. Four other authors were also singled out by our rapporteur and the mentors for their commendable work, namely Petra Varga, Róbert Tallián, Anna Pajor-Vincze and Dávid Berta.

“It says a lot about the quality of the performance that we spent as much time talking about it as it took: everyone was enthusiastic, expressing their own opinions and actively participating in reflecting on the performance. The Associate Professor invited our young people to further collaboration, and we can visit the development lab of the Faculty of Informatics and Robotics Research at any time during the academic year. Even I, as a humanities student, would be very happy to join in. Together with my fellow mentor assistants Anna Benczúr, Attila Koza, Sarolta Makra and Péter Sárközi, we tried to help the mentors who organised the camp, from organising the breakfast to the programme to team building, and we wanted to be available to help our younger peers to spend their free time in a useful and meaningful way.

As a mentor assistant, I tried to question the participants, our presenter, my younger peers, on how they felt about their time together. Below you can read the summaries of Enikő Sármány from Kaposvár, Máté Németh from Szeged and Sarolta Makra, our partner.”

Eszter Sárközi, mentor assistant

“The end of July means, for every child, that there is only one month left before they have to go to school. But I was still looking forward to the aforementioned date, as it meant we could spend a week in Veszprém with the members of Szeged 2. The last time we had met was at the Guidance Festival, but we didn’t get to spend much time together there either, so we were looking forward to having a whole week together. We visited many, many beautiful places, including Tihany and Pannonhalma, and we also walked in the Cuha Valley. We thoroughly enjoyed this and luckily, despite the initially overcast weather, we managed to stay dry. However, this wasn’t the case for all our days, with the skies coming down quite heavily one afternoon. We were actually very happy about that too, because it meant we could play more rounds of board games. It was really interesting to see and explore a city that I had only been without going through the usual sights. Well, not just those. We had to look at drinks stands, bookshop windows, posters, signs, bus stops, solve puzzles and count stairs. Sasa, as always, thought how nice it would be to have an ice-cream while we were at it, so this was built into the task. The questions were thought up by Ádám and Saci, and I would like to thank them for making it so good. In a way, of course, learning made up the morning, but I still looked forward to them immensely and enjoyed every moment of the development lessons held by Ádám Balogh and the drama class led by András Zalavári.

Maybe I enjoyed them so much because I feel I pushed my limits more than once. I put the logic worksheets away with the intention of finishing them at home and showing some to my family. All in all, I think this was one of the best camps we’ve had so far and I’d love to come back as a mentor again.”

Enikő Sármány

“The critical thinking development camp in Veszprém was a wonderful experience for me. The team from Szeged and Kaposvár created a great harmony, so I was part of a great community and we were able to solve exciting challenges. I feel that I improved and had fun at the same time.”

Máté Németh

“I spent the last few days as a mentor in the camp in Veszprém. The programmes were varied, we enjoyed the panoramic view of the castle of Szigliget, boating in the lake cave, wandering in the valley of the Cuha, and the special city quiz thanks to Ádám Balogh. As the days went by, the members of the groups became more and more liberated and open, which was very nice and reassuring to watch from the outside. New friendships were finally forged during the camp, not least because we were able to get to know the members of the two groups better, with whom, I can honestly say, it was a great pleasure to spend this time together. We have tried to overcome all difficulties (I am thinking of the weather, which often pulled us through our calculations). In my opinion, it was a super team and I would love to join them for another week of experiences like this in the future.”

Sarolta Makra mentor assitant