Organising and leading an international Workcamp is an interesting challenge for those who enjoy working together with young people from all over the world, which are willing to take over a big responsibility and who look forward to a great summer in Germany. The camp leader's role lies in building a bridge between the participants of the Workcamp, the organisation as well as the technical leaders who guide the practical part of the camp. S/he supports the group of volunteers from a social and intercultural point of view. Open Houses is looking for people who are highly motivated and responsible, open minded and which already have some experiences in handling with other people. The main tasks are to organise the social life for all volunteers during the camp period. The leader will welcome the volunteers and make them familiar with the camp site. S/he will prepare the daily schedule, indicating the working and eating times including breaks and will furthermore be responsible for organising the cleaning and cooking teams, alternating within the group. The camp leader will buy the food for the group, having an eye on the everyday changing cooking teams with their individual dishes. Additionally, s/he organises leisure activities after the working days and is welcome to prepare campfires, barbecues, games or other group activities. For the weekends the camp leader should be ready to plan little trips to bigger cities nearby or other activities. A camp leader has rarely time for personal things during the Workcamp. S/he is always the person in charge of everything and contact person in any questions and needs of the volunteers. This should be clear to all applicants.
It is also important that the camp leader stays in close contact to the technical leaders, who are organising the working groups and know which work has to be done. It is helpful to support the technical leaders by taking over the responsibility for a working group, if there are no other works to be done for the camp leader. At some camps, especially in environmental camps, it can happen that the functions of camp and technical leaders are running more together. So it is good to be prepared also to organise a little bit the working part.
The camp leader is also responsible for managing the deduction and finances of the camp and to take care of the documentation – writing down what has been done, taking pictures and leading the evaluation of the camp. It is important to do this documentation with a certain care, so that the camp leader which will lead the following camp will know what happened in the past and doesn't need to look for the same information or to do the same mistake a second time.
The camp leader has to be able to work independently as well as in a team. Since most of the camps are organised by several camp leaders (one or two and one or more technical leaders) it is necessary to agree upon several issues in a team. All in all, leading a camp means a lot of work and empathy as well as a lot of fun. Open Houses gives the camp leaders the opportunity to be creative and to take over responsibility for their own work. Of course, they will not be left alone in their role. Before getting active as a camp leader s/he will take part in one camp as a volunteer, parallel to the introduction as camp leader. It will be a good experience to be an “ordinary participant” for one or two weeks and to get to know the camp leader's tasks from the participants' point of view. After experiencing the atmosphere of the first camp and after Open Houses and the potential camp leader have gotten to know each other better, Open Houses will decide if s/he will be able to lead camps or not or if s/he would need an additional introduction time. During the summer season Open Houses organises a lot of Workcamps in different places in Germany. Depending on the camp leader's interests and abilities Open Houses and the potential camp leader will decide together where s/he will lead camps. In general, Open Houses offers two possibilities: The volunteers can lead several successive camps in one place (at Lohra Castle) or can lead different camps at various places. For each camp leading of two weeks the volunteer receives a 150 € allowance. S/he does not have to pay for food and accommodation. The camp leader will receive the pocket money after the camp, when all the camp documents will be checked by the office staff and everything will be fine. After two or three camps, is highly recommended that the volunteer takes a break. S/he can stay as a participant in a project. In that case, the food, accommodation and insurance is covered but the volunteer will not receive pocket money.
Logement et nourriture
In Lohra castle: Shared rooms with 2 - 5 beds in 3 guest houses, warm shower (limited hot water), 1 camp kitchen (cold water), coal-burning stoves.
The camp leader can also go to other camps with similar accomodation conditions, but this will be previously agreed with the participant.
The meals will be prepared together as they are part of the community life, what means that every participant will be responsible for the meal at least once during its stay. So it would be very nice if the participants could bring typical recipes from home in order to introduce each other to the preparation of food from all over the world
The locations may vary between all the camp places of Open Houses' 2020 programme. Several workcamps will be in Lohra Castle and various locations mostly in Eastern Germany.
The camp places are usually located near small villages in rural areas, so the participants should not expect busy places and normal city activities for the leisure time during the working days. Small trips in walking distance are possible in the afternoon. On the weekends it is possible to organise an excursion to nearby cities or to have other leisure activities.
Usually average temperatures in Germany during the summer time are about 20º C to 30º C; during the night it will get colder. It is possible that there may be three weeks of non-stop sunshine, but every day rain is not impossible either. In September and October it's about 8º C to 18º C.
The history of Open Houses Network dates back to the mid-1980s, when a group of young people began to restore village churches in East Germany in voluntary work to protect them from decay. The initiative to save these buildings brought together people who enjoyed the freedom these activities provided, bringing life again to these places in ways which by far exceed the craftsmen's work done – through exhibitions, concerts, making music together or just sitting by a camp fire.
Today, spaces free of political and ideological pressure are no longer urgently required; nonetheless, it is now rare to find places where people can meet without commercial pressure, free of bureaucracy and institutionalism, free of prejudice and the exclusion which it produces. What should be easy – to go somewhere in order to meet people and to work together – has become difficult. The tightrope walk between, on the one hand, public activities in a monetary and functional sense, and the retreat into private life on the other, is very difficult, and it requires a lot of power and permanent efforts to tackle red tape and financial restrictions.
Free spaces are less and less understood as common property, and are permanently being cut back. The idea of public property seems to have gone out of fashion, and places of common responsible work have become rare.
Open Houses Network tries to create and protect such spaces. In this process, we do not want to be the do-ers. We want to be those who propose vision of initiating a new change in perspective while still being aware of the need to rely in the co-operation of others. We understand our projects and events as offers – as offers to create space for commitment, for changes, for meetings.
Point de rendez-vous
Detailed information will be provided on the infosheet to be sent to the selected volunteers.
Volunteers should bring:
- working gloves
-stable work boots, really appropriate for practical work
-appropriate clothes, waterproof coat
-mosquito protection lotion
-typical recipes, sweets, music, instruments and games from the participants' home country for group activities
-More detailed information will be sent later on the infosheet
Motivation letter related to the project
and CV + photo required
Good Spoken English is required, basic German and other languages are welcome.
-EU-members should bring their European Health Insurance Card; those which have an individual travel insurance should bring the certificate