My Week at Adventurecare e.V. Camp
By: Liesel Klokkers, Manager Solution Engineering, Salesforce
Adventurecare e.V. is a nonprofit organization that helps children suffering from cancer, and their families, to find a new trust in life, regain some power and maintain and develop positive thinking. The idea is to organize adventure and nature camps for these families so that they can take some time off from their often very challenging day-to-day lives and experience relief through the community. Adventurecare eases financial pressure for the families, by fully funding these camps.
I participated in the first of these camps which took place in August 2015, using my Salesforce Volunteering Time Off (VTO). The camp was set in the beautiful “Wildhölzkaser” close to Reit im Winkl in the Bavarian Alps. I took the role of “helper” – to assist with children’s activities and help with general tasks around the camp. We hosted 5 families, with children ranging from 4 to 15 years old. My daughter, who is 8 also joined us for the week.
On the first day we had to immediately get stuck into work because the cook had fallen ill and they needed help in preparing the dinner for everyone. As the families arrived one by one, we got to know each other; the very funny welcome session worked great to break the ice! The first night ended like all the rest to follow – with everyone getting together at the open fire outside; the kids barbecuing marshmallows and everybody talking about the day, and making new friends
The next day we participated in a local “Georgi Ritt”, a procession with horses to honour St. Georg, and in the afternoon we took the kids to a climbing park nearby. Holger, a Salesforce colleague who had arrived that day and myself along with the other helpers helped the kids get through the climbing course. It was amazing to see the kids so brave, and also so proud as they mastered some not-so-easy obstacles, that were a challenge even for some of the adults (at least for me!). Also to see some of the older ones taking responsibility and looking after the smaller ones was great, especially since they had only met the day before.
In the following days we took part in many more activities with the kids. One day they built a water wheel from scratch and actually managed to install it and get it running in a nearby current.
They had art activities with a professional photographer, who had accompanied the group, as well as an expedition into the forest to get to know the different plants and fauna. One day we even built a full raft and transported the whole group over a small lake!
It was amazing to see how the group, adults and kids, families and helpers grew together and built a very close community. You could see how the children, who in many cases had to carry a lot of tasks and responsibilities well above their years in their day-today lives, loosen up, start to laugh and have fun again, all while making new friends. And the adults could spend some time on their own, knowing their kids were well taken care off.
When my daughter and I had to leave the camp after five days, and we were both really sad to go. But, on the other hand, we were happy to have been part of the experience and to be able to give these families a couple of happy days; making them feel strong, and lighting up their lives at least for a while. Rarely in life, do you make so many good friends in one place!
“We couldn´t have done without the Salesforce helpers. Whether being a playing partner for the kids, helping with the woodwork or conversing with the women in the camp, they were really essential for the success of the camp. We could have used many more of them!” – AdventureCare
AdventureCare will run the next camp during Easter week and will again need helpers to run the program. They are also looking for sponsors and donations to help finance the camps. There are so many ways to get involved. Check out their website for more details: adventure.care
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