From 9 through 16 August 2014 The Netherlands hosted the 31st annual International Camp for Disabled Youth of the Order of Malta. Nearly 500 people participated in the summer camp. It was a week of friendship, teamwork, achievement and inclusion for disabled people between the age of 18 and 35 years old from over 20 countries.
The 2014 theme is Friendship in Freedom. The camp provided a unique place that enabled and nurtured new friendships in a spirit where disability does not matter and does not limit anyone’s freedom of being whom he or she is.
The week was a unique and extraordinary opportunity for our almost 200 disabled guests to partake in activities and events that will help them overcome personal challenges in the spirit of inclusion, friendship and fun, and it provided a chance to visit some of Holland’s unique sites.
For the nearly 300 volunteers the camp also offered a wonderful experience in caring for others and the self-fulfillment in joining our disabled guests for this once in a life time experience.
And last but not least, the event provided respite for many of the families who care for our guests all year round.
In 1984 the Grand Hospitaller of the Order of Malta initiated an annual summer camp to offer young people who have physical or learning disabilities an opportunity to meet other disabled people of the same age, as well as to provide some respite for their carers.
The first camp in Salzburg (Austria) hosted 50 people from 5 countries. The Netherlands hosted the camp twice before, in 1992 and 2001. Participation has jumped to over 450! And since its inception nearly 5,000 young disabled people from across Europe have experienced an international summer camp of the Order of Malta.
The Dutch Association of the Order of Malta announced in 2011 that The Netherlands will host the 31st Annual International Camp for Disabled Youth of the Order of Malta.
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