The Ecumenical Youth Services (EYS) is an international volunteer work camp program, following the tradition of the International Ecumenical work camps, developed and organized by the Youth Council of the World Council of Churches (WCC) after World War II.
Today EYS is under the auspices of the Amt für kirchliche Dienste (AKD) of the Evangelical Church Berlin-Brandenburg-Upper Silesia (EKBO).
EYS work camps provide an opportunity for young people from all over Europe and the world for two weeks to meet and work together in an international context on meaningful, socially relevant projects. Young people from 16 to 26 years of age are given an opportunity for international exchange.
The term workcamp was developed mainly in the US-American group pedagogy in the period after the Second World War and demonstrates the efforts for a democratic education of the young generation after fascism. Despite its ambiguity, the term has established itself in international youth work and is still used today.
The Ecumenical Youth Services are supported by funds from the Federal Child and Youth Plan (Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth) – Due to this support, the work camp participation fee is only 25 euros!
What happens during the Camp?
- During the Camp you live, work and spend leisure time for two weeks within a group of ca. 15 young people
- A Work Camp gives young people an opportunity to meet other young people from other countries, cultures and ways of faith
- The Camps are accompanied by 2-3 young volunteer camp leaders
- The Camps have a special theme which provides a framework for us to contemplate and discuss our feelings about life and God
- “Work” means doing volunteer service for 9 days, 6 hours a day on ecological, social or community projects. Apart from working-teams (on the cemetery, in the garden, …) a cooking and housekeeping team will do the grocery-shopping, cooking and daily housekeeping (including keeping the accommodation neat and clean). Everyone will be part of the cooking and housekeeping team at least twice.
- For the camp to be a good and memorable time for all volunteers, it’s important show regard for one another, to actively participate in group activities and to contribute one’s own ideas, for example towards leisure activities. It is important that participants should attend their camp from the beginning to the end.
The website of eurodesk provides general information about workcamps.