Teamer Experience Reports

Statements from team members

2017

  • Nikolett: “We are like one big family. Charlottenburg was the scene of meeting incredibly interesting characters, cultures and stories this year. We laughed a lot, went on many excursions, which was fun for all of us, but during which – almost unnoticed – deep friendships were made. It was a great feeling to work with motivated, curious and open-minded people.”

Field report by Monika from Košice (Slovakia)
How did I get the idea to lead a Work Camp?
After 2 beautiful Work Camps, which I could experience as a participant, I got the feeling that I could engage myself more deeply in this field. I noticed that I could understand many languages and that’s why I often helped with the organisation. I always liked the role of the leader and I felt comfortable with the ideas of developing and guiding different games. When I was approached by Karolin (during her visit to the  Work Camp), I simply said YES, but hoping that everything would be explained to me.

What were my motives?
The decision was a big challenge for me. I wanted to get to know new people again, but this time I wanted to see the project from a different perspective in order to gain new experiences.

What experiences have I gained?
I used to work as a carer for small children in Saxony, but that was different. Motivating and “leading” young people of the same age is not always easy. I learned how best to create a good atmosphere in the workplace and at the same time achieve the desired performance. On the other hand, you also have to deal with many important adults during the camp (partners, mediators, “community”).
But one of the most important tasks of the teamers is the financial administration. Because I study economics, I was particularly interested in getting to know the whole process of “bookkeeping”. Organizational and planning management (excursions) as well as the ability to work in a team have also developed in my life through this experience.

How did leading a Work Camp shape my future life?
First, friendship. I am still in contact with some participants, but especially with team members, we meet a few times a year and visit each other in Europe. I met great people here, whom I will never forget.
Secondly, it is my own personality. I have become more open, less afraid of new tasks and unknown situations and my language skills have also improved.

How was I prepared for my task and role as a volunteer camp leader?
Before every summer there are so-called preparation seminars where you can discuss everything important. For me, it was also very helpful that experienced team members shared their previous experiences and were thus prepared for several critical situations.


Field report by Lisa from Leipzig (Germany)
How did I get the idea to lead a Work Camp?
I started in 2014 after I visited a high school in the USA for one year and lived with my host family there. I wanted to fill the long summer after that with meaningful volunteer work and preferably spend it with international people. Running the workcamp combined both of those things and provided many more great experiences.

What were my motives?
To lead a camp is to give something back to the community and besides to meet many new friends from all over Europe.

What experiences have I gained?
Living together, working, cooking, having fun and visiting new places, that’s what workcamp is. I have experienced many things in the camps I have been a part of, whether it was the great changes in the place we worked together, the long evenings filled with conversation, a few newly learned words in a foreign language, fun tours of the brewery or the hours spent at the lake or sightseeing. I don’t want to miss the memories and experiences of my camps.

How did leading a Work Camp shape my future life?
Although I am studying something in the natural sciences, the friendships I have made with team members and participants also accompany me the rest of the time when there is no work camp season.

How was I prepared for my task and role as a volunteer camp leader?
The seminars are very good preparation, but the experiences of older teammates, such as my co-teammates Anna and Clemens, also help immensely.


Field report by Evita from Riga (Latvia)
How did I get the idea to lead a Work Camp?
When I participated in the workcamp, I looked at the teamer and thought to myself – yes, it would be relaxing to be a teamer. At the end of the workcamp the teamer asked me if I wanted to lead a workcamp. Answer for me was natural.

What were my motives?
People! Although camp lasts only two weeks, it is difficult to describe how incredibly much happens during this time. The people I meet during the camp are great and we stay in touch. Volunteering is also my passion and the main idea of the workcamp “United we work” speaks from my heart.

What experiences have I gained?
Participants come from different cultures and backgrounds, but for two weeks we live like one family. Nowadays many forget that despite all the differences it is possible. I find that with each camp, we (slowly but surely!) get closer step by step.

How did leading a Work Camp shape my future life?
First, as I wrote earlier, people are overall very similar and helpful. So now I am more open to new adventures and friendships. Second, I no longer have to get accommodation in many countries because I have met people who can provide me with places to stay. J Third, I already know what I will be doing next summer (running camp – of course J).

How was I prepared for my task and role as a volunteer camp leader?
There are two seminars a year – in May and in October, where you learn how to prepare for the camp. It is not only about organizational things – money and time planning, but also about team building and free time. Seminars are well structured, but if you still have doubts, you can always ask for advice.


Field report by Anna from Dresden (Germany)
How did I get the idea to lead a Work Camp?
I didn’t come up with the idea, the idea came to me. At the end of 2011 I was asked by the then secretary of the YMCA Silesia if I would like to lead a workcamp in Kollm together with my boyfriend.

What were my motives?
It was mainly the experience with the YMCA Silesia and my personal motivation that brought me to the workcamp. And the combination of physical work and international exchange I found and still find great.

What experiences have I gained?
Besides the language, an enormous broadening of horizons, not only in dealing with foreign friends, but also in leading peers and larger groups.

How did leading a Work Camp shape my future life?
I now know that it hardly takes anything to make friends on an international level. The world is open and you have to do very little to feel that and benefit from it.

How was I prepared for my task and role as a volunteer camp leader?
During the regular preparation and follow-up seminars, we always discussed important points of leadership. But it was mainly the conversations with experienced and inexperienced co-teamers that strengthened me in my leadership role. Knowing that there are people who have experienced and are experiencing similar things to me helps me the most.


Field report by Michal from Prague (Czech Republic)
How did I get the idea to lead a Work Camp?
It was not my idea, but the idea of the teamer of my first workcamp, where I was a participant. He asked me if I wanted to lead a workcamp. The request was followed by thinking about it and deciding in favor of it.

What were my motives?
It’s all about self-confidence. After the first work camp as a participant, I was sure that I could somehow live as a foreigner in Germany. The next step was to talk to the local people and act responsibly. And the most difficult question was: Will the camp I lead be as good as the one where I was once a participant myself?

What experiences have I gained?
As a participant, you only see one person, the one leading the group. But there is more to do than announcing what the group or individuals should do now or what the program is. There is also a lot to do in the background, maybe even more. That gave me an idea of the value of other people’s help. And sure enough, every year I’m surprised that such good relationships and friendships have formed in such a short time.

How did leading a Work Camp shape my future life?
After the workcamp I always have the feeling that it makes sense to give your best and to put energy into any activity. However, one must not forget to have fun in the process.

How was I prepared for my task and role as a volunteer camp leader?
In the preparation seminar you get to know your teammates well. This forms good team groups and is a good basis for the camp. What happens during the camp cannot be predicted. In a good group, everything can be solved more easily and if the leadership team has prepared a framework program.


Field report by Lisa Maria from Berlin (Germany)
How did I get the idea to lead a Work Camp?
I read in a newsletter of the ejbo (Evangelical Youth Berlin-Brandenburg-schlesische Oberlausitz) that they were looking for teamer*innen for a workcamp. It sounded exciting and I was just finishing school, so I applied.

What were my motives?
I found it exciting to get to know new people and cultures, to live and work together with them, to explore the surroundings and to have fun. And the camp was also a challenge for me to create.

What experiences have I gained?
I have accompanied youth groups on trips before, but always only as a helper. I never had the responsibility and was given the tasks by the leaders. It is very different to stand in front of a group, to organize everything, to delegate tasks myself and to carry the responsibility. I gained a lot of self-confidence, got to know new cultures (and for the countries typical, very tasty food!!! <3), I learned to create daily plans together with others, … and experienced that there are very different customs in other cultures than I am familiar with, and that the whole group has to adjust to each other and try to understand and accept each other and the different views and customs.

How did leading a Work Camp shape my future life?
I got to know myself and other cultures and people (better), I gained self-confidence and knowledge and I hope that maybe soon I will be able to visit some of the participants. Because you make a lot of wonderful contacts during the camps!

How was I prepared for my task and role as a volunteer camp leader?
Before the work camp, there is a preparatory seminar where you get to know the other team members, where organizational matters such as managing the money and planning the day, but also group dynamics, games and conflict resolution are discussed. At the seminars, you can learn a lot from the experiences of the other, older team members. And at the follow-up seminar, you can discuss what went well and what didn’t go so well, so that you can perhaps learn from this for the next camp. 🙂


Field report by Clemens from Dresden (Germany)
How did I get the idea to lead a Work Camp?
In contrast to probably most of the other team members, I was directly approached by the camp partner to lead a workcamp. Since the work of the camp partner is very close to my heart and I find the idea of a workcamp ingenious, I decided to lead a camp.

What were my motives?
One cannot really speak of real motives. As already mentioned, the work of the camp partner (YMCA Schlesische Oberlausitz) is very close to my heart. Kollm as my first camp location is an important place for the camp partner and the construction of the retreat home there (a place for fellowship) motivated me to lead a camp.

What experiences have I gained?
I learned a lot about different cultures. Leading a work camp teaches you to be sensitive to the needs of a group, but also to recognize what those needs might be. However, even when leading the fourth work camp, you don’t have a standard solution for certain problems, because they simply don’t exist.

How did leading a Work Camp shape my future life?
The work camp has become an important part of my leisure time activities in the summer and it was usually already clear a year in advance that I would lead a camp again the next summer. The new friendships that you make through the camp are unique; you see each other very rarely, but then the reunion is all the more intense.

How was I prepared for my task and role as a volunteer camp leader?
Before each work camp, seminars were held where you learn general tools such as a first aid course and how to deal with finances, as well as things about group dynamics and conflict resolution. Since the seminars are always attended by teammates from previous years, it is possible to get to know their experiences and to look together for ways to deal with certain situations in the future.


Field report by Maria from Wechselburg (Germany)
How did I get the idea to lead a Work Camp?
When I learned that an ecumenical work camp was taking place in my hometown (Wechselburg), I accompanied the young people for a few days and met very lovely and motivated young people who wanted to make a difference. That impressed me and I was infected by the camp fever.

What were my motives?
My motives were, on the one hand, to support the camp partners and projects in order to get something going. But also the intercultural exchange that takes place during the days in the camp should broaden my horizon. I wanted to get to know cultures up close and make contacts. In addition, it is exciting to plunge into an adventure with a great responsibility and a well-planned organization and to try yourself out. And perhaps also to reach one’s limits for once.

What experiences have I gained?
It is always a great feeling to experience a challenge with the help of lovely people. The intensive cultural exchange, which is mandatory in the daily camp routine, changes or opens new perspectives and has enriched my life in a wonderful way. People are so different, but still the same.

How did leading a Work Camp shape my future life?
I learned how to lead a group for two weeks and how to find a solution for all possible cases. My interaction with other cultures has broadened and I am more relaxed about solving conflicts and can deal with them better. In addition, through the group process, I got to know myself better and how to work together in a team in a very confined space. In addition, as a teamer, you get to know new places within Germany, which are mostly cultural or religious. That is very interesting.

How was I prepared for my task and role as a volunteer camp leader?
The teamer seminars before and after the camps offer excellent preparation for the tasks of a teamer. With the help of many experienced teamers, you can exchange ideas during the meetings. Furthermore, you are not left alone during the camps. There is always the emergency phone of Karolin. So you are not only supported in organizing and designing the camps, but also in spiritual support 😉 This is a great help and it is always nice to meet your co-teammates at the seminars and get further training.


Field report by Lena from Berlin (Germany)
How did I get the idea to lead a Work Camp?
After my voluntary service in Poland – there I had participated in many international youth encounters – I felt like getting further involved in this field.

What were my motives?
I wanted to work with young people from different countries in Europe for a good cause and to share life with them for two weeks. I wanted to get to know places in Germany that are not always tourist highlights, but are exciting nevertheless or precisely because of that.

What experiences have I gained?
I learned to be culturally sensitive and at the same time realized that cultural differences are often just a pretext for interpersonal problems and that without cultural differences it can be at least as complicated.
I now know that almost everyone can cook, even if not everyone knows it themselves.
And I have made the experience that every group develops its own dynamics.

How did leading a Work Camp shape my future life?
I am very interested in intercultural educational work with youth and young adults and have also completed an internship in this field.

How was I prepared for my task and role as a volunteer camp leader?
The preparation and follow-up seminars offer opportunities for exchange with other team members and interesting people. They encourage and inspire.