Wonder Stag Hungarian Community Camp and Community Center provides educational enrichment, nature programs, and cultural activities to Hungarian children and families as well as youth from the area in Georgia, especially in Franklin and Gwinnett county,
The camp and community center was founded by László Ádok and his wife Mónika Kardos with Balázs Kovács, a childhood friend in 2019, when they purchased a beautiful 20 acre wooded property with a fishpond in Toccoa Georgia near the South Carolina border. They have founded the Hungarian Community Camp, Inc. the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 2020 to provide educational, cultural, and nature programs.
Wonder Stag is a mythical creature who led Hunor and Magor, the two sons of Nimrod from the city of Babel to a most beautiful country that was fertile with abundant game – they later settled the land that became Hungary, named after the brothers.
Our founder fell in love with the camp's location in Georgia as it is filled with deer and looks like such a magical place!
The founders have invested their personal savings and time to create the basic infrastructure for this wonderful new facility. Founder Mónika Kardos, who has been active as a community-organizer in at the Hungarian House in Miam,i is responsible for programming, while her husband László Ádok works in construction and has led a team of volunteers to prepare the ground-work for the camp as well as the buildings.
In 2021 we carefully began to pilot outdoor programs: some participants brought their own tents while others stayed at hotels near-by. Despite of the pandemic, the Family Day had 20 participants, a weekend-long Summer Family Camp had 85 participants in June and another family camp in August had 60 participants. We have highly subsidized every participant’s fees and children could participate free of charge.
In 2022 we are hosting three family camps and begin constructing cottages, a pavilion, outdoor kitchen and communal buildings.By 2024 we are planning to open our all summer long children's camp, animal therapy center, educational farm and community center hosting a wide range of programming all year around .
The geographic reach of the camp is not only Georgia, but the surrounding states and beyond. Inclusivity is important to us, and we know that our kids benefit from being in a community with diverse socio-economic backgrounds, as well as the cultural and racial diversity that is found at all of our camps. We appreciate the resilience and beauty that emerges from our community’s diversity.
We strive to create a welcoming, inclusive community where campers feel empowered to be truly themselves. We celebrate the unique gifts of each individual and create safe, loving community where each person is appreciated. So far 100% of campers receive some subsidy and it is a priority to keep the camp affordable to all .
Our programs incorporate farming-related and nature-based learning, STEM educational enrichment, exploration of cultural traditions, and team building activities. The camps provide a ‘back to basics’ wilderness experience, no technology allowed. Since a strong connection to the land the basis of the traditional East European way of life, we already purchased three goats and chickens and planning to settle more livestock at the Valley.
We’re committed to maintaining a small environmental footprint and promoting healthy lifestyles. Campers are sleeping in tents, not using electronics, cooking and eating are happening communally outdoors – by 2024 we would like to build up eco-friendly dorms and communal buildings. We are passionate about teaching campers about living in harmony with nature and protecting the environment.
While the youngest camper was a year old and the oldest in her sixties, the average age of campers is elementary and middle school age, along with their parents. Once the cottages are built, we will be able to host seniors and campers with disability. Each camper has the opportunity to become a leader through shared responsibility for our animals, farm and communal spaces - we honor the wisdom of every age group.
WonderStag is a DYI community: everyone has the opportunity to chip in and take the lead in shaping our activities and our environment. We believe that children benefit from seeing their parents actively engaged in building the community that matters so much.
"In 2021, we held three camps with more than two hundred participants. I am sending a heartfelt thank you for the wonderful time, the great food, the new friendships... for all the seeds of love that you planted in the soul of the Wonder Stag Valley! We spent wonderful days together in the spirit of unity. It is almost impossible to list how much you have contributed to making it all happen!
As an exchange we have received: the wonderful smile of our children, the feeling of freedom, happiness, safety, trust and faith that Hungarians belong together! By getting to know ancient Hungarian scribal arts, we were able to get closer to our roots. With our self-designed skill-building wooden toys, our children could gained insight into the world of Hungarian folk tales. By reviving and practicing ancient arts & crafts, we were able to learn felting in a playful way. Meal prep was a real team effort!
Thank you for your cooperation, donations and help! It was a pleasure to see everyone coming together as ONE. It would take a long time to write down all the special moments that make my heart so full! I am looking forward to building this community together!" - Mónika Kardos, Board member