In August 2019, the Fund’s Grant Manager, Ruth Stanley, visited the Malteser Youth International Network’s first summer camp for volunteers in Jaroslawiec, Poland.

One of the Order’s greatest strengths is the enthusiasm of its young volunteers. Whether running camps for disabled children, supporting isolated elderly people in their communities, volunteering at soup kitchens or distributing food parcels to those in need, the sheer range of Order projects instigated by young volunteers is a huge inspiration to us at the Fund. Indeed, we often find ourselves asking: how can we support and inspire these young people to develop and grow in their work on the Order’s behalf?

This summer, one answer came from Jaroslawiec, where we funded the Malteser Youth International Network’s first volunteer summer camp, hosted by the Polish Association. The aim of the week was to give 80 volunteers from seven central and eastern European countries an opportunity to connect, learn from each other and gain relevant skills, such as project management, leadership and team-building, to take back to their local projects.

Attending the camp on behalf of the Fund, I was awed by the energy and compassion of the network’s young volunteers. Attendees took part in team-building games on the beach, presented on each country’s work and plans, engaged in workshops on public speaking, cultural exchanges, and candlelit evening prayers. Throughout it all, they showed a tremendous enthusiasm to learn and share, an obvious love of their neighbour and desire to help those in need.  A particular highlight for me was an afternoon tea party with residents of a local old people’s home, where singing and cake soon overcame any language barriers!

Watching the camp unfold, its value for investing in the next generation of our Order’s leaders was plain to see.

The Fund are pleased to have been able to support the Malteser Youth International Network in this impressive initiative.