“Be courageous, we have to be brave to welcome those who suffer and those who are strangers to us”. With these encouraging words, the Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto addressed the participants of the Order of Malta’s 35th International Summer Camp for young disabled, on 15 August. Altogether, some 500 guests and Order’s volunteers coming from all over the world gathered in Hampshire, south of England, last week for a high packed fun schedule which included a visit to London, outdoor sports and moments of prayer.
After a solemn Mass in Arundel Cathedral, celebrated by Mons. Jean Laffitte, Prelate of the Order, the Grand Master together with his Delegation wound its way around to the castle grounds. A hog roast, jousting and falconry displays awaited the enthralled guests.
From air ballooning to disco dancing, even this year’s Summer Camp allowed many young disabled to spend a week with peers, enjoying a break from the daily routine. Since the very first camp organized by the Order back in 1983, the formula has never changed: each guest is accompanied by a helper the same age, allowing bonds and friendships to blossom.
“The volunteers give us a lot, but the guests give so much back! It is a combination of satisfaction and kindness” said one of the young camp volunteers, many of whom have already confirmed their participation in next year’s camp, to be held in Germany.
Every summer several Associations of the Order of Malta organize a number of national summer camps for disabled people. Each year an international camp is organized in a different European country. 2018 was Great Britain’s turn.