By Lydia O’Kane
Friendship, faith, and fun are just some of the words that have been used to describe the atmosphere at Maltacamp. This annual week along summer gathering brings together over 500 young people from around the world, including those with disabilities.
Breaking down barriers
This year Germany is hosting the camp, which the Order of Malta says, aims to “break down barriers of what can be achieved by people with disabilities.”
As well as friendships being forged across language and cultural confines, those attending the Summer Camp have been participating in a range of activities.
For instance, if scuba diving is your thing, then it can be ticked off the “to do” list. And there’s more, guests can also try their hand at kayaking, horse-riding, or what about indoor skydiving?
The backbone of this camp, however, are the young volunteers who are on call 24/7 to help guests who range in age from 18 to 35.
Reinier from the Netherlands is one of the many volunteers here. He describes it as an enriching experience, so much so, that he has been volunteering at the event for the last few years.
“The first time I went I thought I was going to do a week of voluntary work, but what I found out was that it was actually so much fun and such an enrichment for my life and the way I perceive life and live my life that I come back not only to help others but also to be helped myself.” It’s a magnificent vibe in which we create a small world that is more positive and loving than the outside world can sometimes be.”
Another of the Dutch volunteers is Hatsjo. For him, Maltacamp is a special place where barriers are broken down and friendships are made.
“It provides a space where people can connect with each other; where everyone is equal”.
Returning home with memories and friendships
The guest experience is just as positive, Chloe has been immersing herself in the camp’s activities for the past week, she describes one of the highpoints.
“One of the organization guides told to me personally that I am a great inspiration; that gave me a lot of tears.”
Chloe says that when she returns to the Netherlands she will have much to tell her friends and family about her camp experience.
Maltacamp runs until August 10th.