Despite the pandemic the Emmaus groups in Europe are adapting in order to organise their summer camp events for as many people as possible.
Summer is here which means the Emmaus summer camps are back too! Emmaus groups across Europe open up to the general public in the summer months and to young people in particular, offering a fantastic experience of volunteering in the Emmaus communities, encouraging the participants to get involved in the movement and to discover the movement’s principles and values. Given the exceptional circumstances this summer the majority of the groups have had to adapt their plans for the camp events in order to create safe conditions for the volunteers.
Despite the ongoing travel restrictions in many countries the groups La Poudrière (Belgium) and FIS (Bosnia-Herzegovina) are inviting all those who are allowed to travel to the groups to their camp events. The two groups wish to run as normal as possible an event, whilst taking all appropriate preventive measures.
The French groups and their national organisation, Emmaus France, have decided to work on a different format for the 2020 camps in order to meet the high demand from volunteers wishing to get involved and support the movement. Local volunteering will be encouraged in order to reduce long-distance travel and gatherings but face-to-face events will still be allowed. In parallel the French are looking into the options for online events in order to maintain the bonds with their international volunteers and they are also organising remote volunteering assignments for all appropriate activities.
Unfortunately some groups in Europe have had to put the welcoming of foreign volunteers on hold for now. This is the case for Emmaus Åland (Finland) which has had to put registration for its summer event on hold whilst waiting for further information from the authorities about the easing of the current travel restrictions to the Åland islands. In Italy, where summer camps are generally very successful, the groups have had to take the difficult decision of cancelling the events this year.
We shouldn’t forget that whilst the spread of the epidemic which hit the world in spring now seems to be slowing in Europe other regions are still in the eye of the storm. Whilst travel and gatherings remain uncertain this year the Emmaus groups from across Europe look forward to welcoming back volunteers as soon as the health situation allows it, whether that be this summer or at a later date.