Why Volunteer?

New Friends, Old Friends, Small Friends, Big Friends – Csilla

Csilla is currently part of our finance team. She joined in 2017 and visited Magyarbánhegyes. When she is not occupied with the children from the Knapsack Camps, she is studying at the Veres Pálné High School and prepares for her applications, goes for excursions or teaches her dog strange tricks. Now, she is summarizing her experiences in her first Knapsack Camp.

The first semester of the eleventh grade was very busy with lots of organizational tasks. It was refreshing afterwards to spend time at home, sleep and mostly not to do anything. This was just enough by spring time, and me and my friend, Orsi started to feel that we should do something useful during the summer. Most of our classmates looked for summer jobs as well, they participated in student unions and went for interviews at McDonald’s. We also had similar plans, but we wanted to “change the world” in a way. Orsi definitely wanted to do something with kids, and we wanted to stay together, therefore we started to look for opportunities and organizations who are running camps. Although we applied quite late, Knapsack Camps answered a few days later for arranging a meeting.  Our interviews were one after another, and I remember how enthusiastic we were after it; we felt that something very special has started.

We did our first step, we were successful and were added to the team of the organization, however I started to have doubts and became very afraid. I had almost no experiences with children from before, and feared doing/saying something wrong, that they wouldn’t like me, include me; not only the children but neither the volunteers. This feeling lasted until the first 20 minutes of our first day in Magyarbánhegyes, and from that point it started to disappear rapidly. When we stood in a circle on the courtyard of the school, we introduced ourselves with a name-game icebreaker. The boys next to me created more and more difficult movements, with which they wanted to introduce themselves. Joyfully, they were jumping and explaining from which I calmed down at once.

I have never experienced a week so full of intense events and emotions before in my life. From the icebreakers until the last day’s running on the football field and baking we got so much impulse, that it was very difficult to stop talking about it for days after it was over.

During the days: programs, games, lunch, more games and other plans. Even when the children are resting, we were running and playing ninja and pay attention to everyone, those who might have felt left out, those who might have been bored. And even though it is very tiring the continuous concentration, there was always something that made us forget our exhaustion. Our relationship with the children deepened every day. There were also so many important moments, it would not make sense to seperate them highlight each one of them. The first time he or she asks “Will you be my pair?”. The first tight, really tight hugs. When they say goodbye smiling, because we know we will meet tomorrow. The first deep conversations, and the worse and worse jokes. Children, who learn from each other to swim, glide and jump into a pool for the first time.

The volunteers only intensified and made this experience more joyful with the children. Surprisingly, we almost never argued, everyone found each other’s wavelength on the first night. Even though we all came from very different backgrounds (or due to it), we had very interesting conversations every night, and played games sometimes with some preparations, sometimes entirely spontaneously.

“I would have never thought that in less than 6 days, someone could have grown so close to you. Or nearly thirty someone.

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