International Summer Camp of the Order of Malta, Poland 2016: "One for all and all for one"

International Summer Camp of the Order of Malta, Poland 2016: "One for all and all for one"

Thirty-third ever, third in Poland, for the second time in the same location, created in part by the same people. Boring and monotonous? Never! The International Summer Camp of the Order of Malta for Disabled Youth will be held from 13 to 20 August 2016. Piekary near Kraków will be home for 500 young people from all corners of the earth for one-of-a-kind summer vacation.

This year's motto is "One for All&All for One".

Each Malta Camp is a separate little universe, created each year from the best elements taken from previous years. It is a unique reality made by Maltese brethren from all over the world. Life is different there and one feels and sees different. With over 500 participants, including 200 disabled and 100 "crew" - there is no place there for boredom and monotony.

The camp is a week long but it is preceded by over two years of preparations. In 2013, Poland was asked to host the camp for a third time in in 2016. The first official meeting for volunteers took place in December 2014. Many of those who attended had participated in "Little Malta" before and included a group who remembered the previous camp in Piekary in 2006. There was also a numerous gathering of first-timers, only beginning their adventure with Maltese works. It was very encouraging to see the next generation of volunteers who will in upcoming years be involved in organising similar events. The following meetings continued to have great support and work groups began to form, divided by topic: transportation, logistics, workshops and integration games, excursions, music and play, media and prayer – no field was omitted.

Logistics – it is a term difficult to define. In our case it means taking care that all the elements necessary for operation of each "branch" of the camp were on time and in the right place – a difficult and demanding task. It also means securing the entire medical and rescue area of the camp. The participants of the camp have specific needs, therefore the location of the camp and the medical point have to be able to meet those needs. On site, apart from the medal point where the camp doctors will provide ad hoc medical assistance, there will also be paramedics and ambulances of Maltese Medical Aid (MSM) present, taking care of the safety of the participants.

Transport – it is one of the most difficult parts of the camp. How and by what means to commute from place to place safely and in comfort. Finding coaches and minibuses for all the participants and staff – it is the "transportistas" job. It includes also ramps as some of the locations we will be visiting do not have the correct facilities for people with disabilities. Preparation of the best access routes to make them the most effective – it is also the field they operate in. But the most difficult piece of the camp puzzle under the care of our transport wizards is the the complicated process of "get on-get there-get off" which must be carried out with efficiency and precision.

Workshops and integration games – these are those moments durng a camp when the participants get to meet each other and try their strenghts in various games and workshops. Pottery, jewellery making, cooking, painting, dance – it goes on and on. What can help people come together better that dancing or cooking together?

Excursions – endless topic. Kraków and its area is a real treasure vault, the choices will be rich. I cannot divulge the details but the selection is truly ample for every weather.

Music and entertainment – let's not forget it is a summer camp. During every camp there must be space for spending time with friends. How better spend it than on the dancefloor?

Here is your answer – on prayer. I think it requires no further comment. If God is in the first place, everything else is in its place. It is the most perfect therapy, amplified by presence and support of those around. One could think that such a non-material and elusive area needs no coordination and earthly supervision but it is not so. Order of holy masses, prayers, hymns and even the quantity of candles and altar wine – it all requires logistic ingenuity as well as enormous sensitivity and tact. It is a challenge that has to be met.

Media – oh, those media. Please, do not get me wrong, it not mass media that are in question. These are internal publication within the camp: camp paper, program and all the communication materials, these are our media. Authors, photographers and graphic designers make sure that all the important camp info is distributed to the participants on time and without disturbances. Anyone who runs a paper can confirm it is not an easy task.

One cannot forget the Camp Office. They have many tasks – from registration of national and international teams, preparation of a detailed duty roster for each participant to contact with sponsors and benefactors whose help and goodwill make this opus happen.

A few words have to be said about the venue of this year's camp. Centrum Edukacyjne "Radosna Nowina 2000" in Piekary near Kraków. What a marvellous place it is. Across the river from the benedictine abbey of Tyniec, thirteen kilometres – in a straight line – from Kraków Market Square, close to the motorway and the airport. The best location we could ask for, with boarding school buildings, swimming pool, sporting fields and own church – it can't get any better.

With such assets and organisational team we cannot fail. But please pray for us anyway and keep your fingers crossed, it always helps.

"One for all and all for one!".

"One for All & All for One"

Community being served:

  • Disabled Children and Adults