The Spirit of Volunteering Work – Good Deeds and Amazing People


Written by Pia Lex from Germany

June 2020

After finishing school in Germany in the year 2016, I wanted to try something new and different. Still having no idea what I should study, I thought maybe it would help to distance myself from my normal life. Participating in a work camp with people from all around the world seemed a good way to do something for nature and to take my time to think about my future. Therefore, I searched the SCI workcamp site and applied for the Killarney National Park Workcamp in Ireland. This workcamp is carried out by the Voluntary Service International multiple times a year. The park has a serious problem with the rhododendron plant because it overgrows and evicts the native plants. The work from the volunteers is to prevent the further spread of the rhododendron. Already the walk to the site where we were working for the day was worth the travel. We saw places of the park that normal visitors cannot see, and all those places were wonderful. Here you get the first part of the volunteering spirit. Working while knowing that your work helps nature or the people just feels good. 

But a workcamp is far more than just its work. It is about meeting new friends, learning about other cultures, living together and becoming a little volunteering family, even if the camp just lasts two weeks. We were ten volunteers and two funny camp leaders. We lived in a house in the park, without a wifi connection. For writing to your family, you could take a little walk to a bar just outside the park. After the workcamp was over, everyone agreed that having no wifi in the house made it a lot easier to connect to each other. Instead of wasting our free time with our phones, we spend all the time together. Playing games, singing, cooking, exploring the park, swimming in the lake and talking a lot. On our free weekend we made amazing road trips to wonderful sites and landscapes. We had a “workcamp song” and every time I hear it now, I remember the road trips, laughers and the fun we had. I felt peaceful there and I totally forgot about my worries regarding my future. And that is the second part of the spirit you find when you participate in a workcamp. You meet so many interesting and wonderful people and you experience a totally different life. It sounds strange, but you find peace surrounded by people you did not know before. And the spirit of each person is just positive because everyone is there to do something good.

So, if you have some time, participate in a workcamp because the world needs help everywhere and you will never forget the time! I still think back to those two weeks in Ireland with a big smile. Besides, it helped me in deciding what to study: Energy Engineering and Resource Optimization. 😉


* This story was part of the the first SCI Stories contest “Voice yourself”. Pia, thank you very much for your participation. Thanks to people like you, the SCI movement continues to be alive and positively impacting the lives of thousands of people!