What is a voluntary workcamp? How can I participate?
Voluntary workcamps last from ten days to three weeks, and usually host five to twenty volunteers from different countries. During the camp, the volunteers work on a project introduced by the camp host. The work does not require any professional skills, as it consists of building, clearing, easy repairs, gardening or fieldwork, kitchen chores, helping to organize events, or arranging activities for children, the elderly or people with special needs. Most camps are organized during the summer. Annually there are over 1000 camps around the world.
- Duration: from 10 days to 3 weeks
- Price: camp coordination fee 100€ (130€ for Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia) and KVT’s membership fee 10/20€
- Age: 18 – 99
- Application time: throughout the year. Please note that most camps are organized during the summer
- Prior experience: not needed
- Camp locations can be found in our Online Placement System
Additional fees: Some camps may have an additional fee. This is always mentioned in the camp description. In Europe, US, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong there is normally no fee and the camp host supplies the accommodation and the food.
KVT’s co-ordination fee: If you do not get a spot on the camp, you can either apply to another camp or the co-ordination fee will be reimbursed to you. The volunteers need to pay their own travel fees and insurance.
For whom? Voluntary workcamps are suitable for you, if you:
- are 18 – 99
- wish to volunteer abroad, but cannot stay long-term
- want to do practical work
- like to work together in a group
- have an adventurous and flexible attitude
- want to help in a grass-roots project, and see beyond tourist attractions
- Previous experience in volunteering is not required!
How does the camp work in practice?
Normally, each camp has one or two camp leaders. They are in charge of guiding and supervising the group. The accommodation at camps is usually quite simple, sleeping on mattresses on the floor is common. The camp language is usually English, unless otherwise mentioned in the camp description. Basic knowledge of English along with motivation for the work can go a long way! The working hours on the camps are usually 6 to 8 hours a day, five days a week. Two days a week are reserved for free time. Many camps also have a study theme, and sessions related to this.
On a voluntary workcamp, you can for example:
- Work at a children’s camp in Croatia
- Take part in the life of a youth center in Northern Ireland
- Help organize a music festival in Belgium
- Participate in a whale conservation campaign in Iceland
- Repair medieval castle ruins in Czech Republic
- Do maintenance at a Jewish cemetary in Ukraine
All camps can be found in the SCI Online Placement System.
Who can go?
Anyone who is over 18 and interested in volunteering abroad can take part in a camp. There are no special requirements. You can apply to a camp with a friend or partner. Some camps also welcome children. To find these in the online placement system, choose “options”, and tick the box “child friendly camps”. Here you will find similar boxes for wheelchair accessible camps, international camps for volunteers under 18, and mixed age camps. On the mixed age camps, the goal is that 50 per cent of the volunteers would be over 30 years old. Normally, there is no upper age limit, but if there is, you will see this in the details of the camp.
Most of the camps take place between May and September, and the application time for them normally begins between February and March. The earlier you apply, the more likely you will get a place on the camp that you have chosen. However, camps are continuously added to the online placement system, especially in the spring. Each year there are also some winter camps especially in Africa, Latin America and Asia, but also in Europe, for instance in Iceland and in Russia.
The basic camps take place in Europe, the United States, Japan, Russia, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Turkey. Camps in Southern countries are organized in other areas in Asia, Africa and Latin America. See more information here.
The camp coordination fee includes SCI’s health and accident insurance, which covers the duration of the camp. This insurance is does not include travels to and from camp place, so it is advisable to get your own travel insurance. If the camp takes place within the EU, it is obligatory to get a European Health Insurance Card from Kela.