I am a EVS volunteer, here, in Czech Republic for six months now and recently I was volunteering in a camp for mothers and kids and I’ve discovered some of the benefits of doing volunteering in a camp .
Here they are compressed for you:
- Meet new people
Maybe you’ll know some of the people before you go there, but for sure there will be others that you meet for the first time, so what better chance then this to socialise. In the camp I was, most of he people I meet there were new for me, from my colleagues to the mothers and kids that were participants in the camp, so this was a good opportunity for me to socialise and connect with them and also as EVS volunteer was a chance to exercise my language skills both in english and czech.
- Make new friends
The camp frame offer people the environment to stay together as a group for all the period of the camp and this gives people the chance to connect easier. Soon you start discovering that you have things in common with some people and making plans for new meetings after the camp or for future project or activities collaborations.
- Learn new things
From my perspective we are always learning if we are present, involved and opened. You can learn from observing others how they work – this was for me the easiest way to connect with my colleagues; you can learn by listening - for me I need to understand what I need to do, so usually I am asking additional questions or resay with my own words what the other person said and this helps me to be sure I got it right and not to suppose what the other expects from me; and the best way we learn is by doing – this is how for example I’ve learned to do an eight knot :-).
- Get experience
The camp you choose to go in might be connected with you work field, so this can be an excellent opportunity for you to add value to you CV and gain or develop your competencies. For me it worked both ways, as I felt I could bring my contribution by having already some experience in working with kids, but I’ve also learned new games and ideas in approaching them.
- Bring your own contribution
As I said above during the camp I had the opportunity to bring my own ideas of games and activities, besides some games for kids, I made also a workshop on how to create your own mandala for mothers and a presentation about my home country.
These was the case for me, what about you, if you’d have the opportunity to bring your own knowledge, experience and resources to this kind of event what would you bring? Is important to first know yourself, in order to be able to communicate it with the organisers and if it is possible and suitable for the camp to also do it.
- Participate for free at the activities
For this point I am not sure if is available for all the camps, so before subscribing check with the organisators to be sure. I got the chance to go hiking, visit a view tower, a famous cave and also go with the boats on the lake.
- Have the feeling of achievement
The most satisfying feelings I had during the camp were: one after the mandala workshop when I saw the reaction of the participants and received their feedbacks and the second one was at the end of the camp when we prepared a treasure hunt for kids, and when the kids found the treasure, after going through different activities and seeing how happy they were, in that moment I had the feeling of happiness and that in a small way I’ve contribute it to their happiness.
- Connect with your inner child
What better way to connect with your inner child then by working with kids? :-) Remember how it was to be a child, the games you used to play and love, and allow yourself to act like a child again.
Of course you need to be also responsible when working with kids and be sure they are safe, I am not saying that you should let them get hurt or lost, but in order to connect and communicate better with the kids you need to allow yourself to act foolish and this you can do it only by connecting with your inner child.
- Challenge yourself
I don’t want to say everything will be rainbows and unicorns :-), maybe at some moments you’ll be put in the situation to face some fears and overcome them, do that, you’ll grow and be stronger after. Think about it, you are in a safe environment and even if the task seems overwhelming you have people around you that can help you overcome it. You always have two options yes or no, it depends on you which one you choose :-).
I hope this article brought some inspirations and motivation in your way in deciding if to be or not to be a volunteer in a camp.
All the best! ;)
Maria, ICM Prostějov