FAQ – All you need to know about workcamps
95% of workcamps take place between June and September, a few during Autumn and around Easter.
Most camps in Germany last two or three weeks. Additionally there are a few workcamps that last four weeks.
Most workcamps are open to volunteers between 16 and 26 years old. Some workcamps require a minimum age of 18 years (for example in KIDS projects). Teenage workcamps are for people between 14/15 and 17.
The age requirement is noted in each camp description. The age at the first day of the camp is decisive.
The language spoken in all camps is English. But do not worry, because in most cases a basic knowledge of English is sufficient! Some workcamps require basic knowledge of German. Language requirements are noted in the respective camp description.
Workcamps in Germany:
€ 100 (for the first workcamp)
€ 80 (after the second workcamp in a year)
ijgd-members receive a discount of € 20.
Some camps have additional costs, so-called extra costs. Whether extra costs will arise is noted in the respective description. Accommodation, catering as well as a small leisure programme are free of charge. Travelling to the camp is to be organised and paid for by volunteers themselves.
In 1948 a student initiative from Hanover organised the first workcamps in Germany. The goal of the „Lager“ was to „build and maintain peace through small international groups of volunteers who live and work together“. A year later this initiative became the Internationale Jugendgemeinschaftsdienste. Today the ijgd offers about 100 workcamps in Germany.
The goal of the workcamp on the one hand entails fostering citizens' involvement in young people and supporting non-profit projects. Just as important to us is the communal life and work in an international group. In this way we want to support intercultural learning amongst participants. The workcamps – just like all other ijgd projects – are based on the six pillars of our work.
International cooperation partners
Other countries within Europe and outside of Europe have also seen organisations formed with the same goals. In 1982 these came together to form the „Alliance of European Voluntary Service Organisations“. The aim of this network was to facilitate a cooperation as well as ensuring quality standards in the execution of workcamps. Today there are 50 organisations from 29 countries in Europe, Asia and North America that form part of the network. Additionally we also cooperate with over 30 partners from all over the world.
In the workcamp
The week is comprised of 25-30 work hours. Usually the group is free to enjoy their weekends. The working field is versatile: renovation of historical buildings, youth centres and playgrounds; social work with children, people with disabilities, old people, refugees; environmental projects in parks and in nature; culture and art projects, …All projects are aimed at public welfare. You do not require any special training or specific knowledge. Work projects are chosen in such a way that with a pair of gumboots, a rain jacket and lots of dedication a lot can be achieved.
Work is followed by leisure! Go for a swim, see what the night life has to offer, a warm welcome with the mayor, volleyball, workshops, bike tours, sightseeing, ...depending on the budget and the various possibilities on site you will decide together how you want to spend your free time.
Accommodation and catering:
Accommodation and catering is free of charge. The rooms are simple: in most cases accommodation is at a school, youth centre, forest cabin, alternative seminar house or even in tents. A sleeping bag is usually part of the luggage. You will receive more information with the info sheet, which we will send to you prior to the camp. Catering is usually organised by the group and prepared together.
You will receive a budget for this, so that your international cooking fantasies will have no boundaries. Depending on the workcamp you may also be provided a part of the meals or all of them; this is also noted in the information description.
The language in the camp is almost always English. But do not worry, basic knowledge is almost always sufficient. There are also a couple of French camps that could allow you to improve your French language skills. Some workcamps require special language skills (such as good English, French, Spanish or Japanese skills). This requirement is noted separately in the camp description.
ijgd-participants are insured for health, liability and accident insurance up to a certain amount. First however your own insurance (in case you have one) will be made use of. More information concerning this can be found in the participation/placement conditions.
Community in a camp
The workcamp group consists of 10-20 participants, so-called volunteers (vols). There are a maximum of three participants from one country (exception: bi and tr-inational camps). Participants come from all over the world. They are often pupils or students. Usually they do not know each other and are curious to get to know the other participants and their culture.
Camp groups are accompanied by 1-2 trained group leaders (mostly from the host country). They should not be seen as hosts but rather as a part of the group. They are responsible for certain tasks such as keeping a contact with the project, support of a self-organised group life or formalities.
During a workcamp you are a guest within a different culture. You will be closer to the other group members and locals than would usually be the case during a “normal” vacation. Tolerance and openness but also commitment towards people with a different mentality from yours are important to overcome obstacles and to experience an unusually intense and interesting time.
Application to your desired camp
As soon as you have found a fitting camp in our search engine, you can apply via the application form. Applications to camps abroad we will be passed on to our respective partners. They will then decide based on criteria concerning group constellation (nationality, gender, age) whether you will be able to be accepted in your desired camp. If your first choice does not work out, we will contact the camp of your second choice and so forth. It is therefore of advantage to you, if you list several alternative workcamps.
The entire application process may take up to 14 days. We will send you your application confirmation via email. Should all of your selected camps already be fully booked we will get in touch with you with alternatives.
When it comes to registrations for camps within Germany, we will of course be able to decide quickly ourselves. In this case you can expect response within three work days.
We will send the application confirmation via email. If a camp is already fully booked, we will offer you an alternative camp.
Applicable to all applications: the earlier you send us an application form, the greater your chances of receiving a spot in a camp of your choice.
With friends to a camp:
Most of our workcamps are international. Therefore we make sure to only accept two, or a maximum of three participants from one country when we put together a group. If you would like to travel to the camp with a friend this is not a problem. Make sure to note this in your applications with „I would like to travel with my friend“.
If you would like to travel together as a group, you can take part in a tri-lateral camp. As only three nationalities are represented in such a camp, depending on the camp 4-6 volunteers from each country may take part. You can find the tri-lateral camps here, or just contact us directly.
Participants with a physical disability:
Due to the different conditions (such as the state of the accommodation, type of project, but also the trip to the location) a participation in some camps will be easily possible while in others it might be more tricky. With the aid of the camp information you can find out which camps are possible and can then contact us. Please note your restrictions or special requirements when applying!
Preparing for a workcamp
No later than - but in most cases earlier than - three weeks before the start of the camp we will send you detailed information about the camp via email. (It is therefore necessary that we receive your email address in your application!). In this information sheet there is a detailed description of the trip to the camp and you will find out what you need to bring along with you. In many cases the group leaders also write a „welcome letter“, introducing themselves and sending final information. If other ijgd participants applied for the same camp abroad or in Germany, we will inform you. This will allow you to get in touch with each other already prior to the start of the camp. Unfortunately we will not be able to give any information about the international participants in the German camps due to privacy protection reasons.
Journey to the camp:
You will need to organise and finance your trip to the journey by yourself. As soon as you have received the official application confirmation via email, you can begin to plan your trip. The first and last day of the camp are the arrival and departure days respectively. (Please note that Iceland is an exception). On these days there will be no work. Sometimes the camp description already entails an exact meeting point (e.g. At 5 o'clock at the station XY). You can then plan your trip according to this information.
You can take part in camps in Germany, Europe, North America, Japan and Korea without any additional preparation. For all participants who would like to find out more about the adventure of the work camp in advance and not be thrown in at the deep end we offer preparation seminars.