Note: Summer camps at Katarínka are organized in the Slovak language.
Are you a Christian camp?
Katarínka is a Christian camp open to all the young people. We are following the spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi and his charisma is reflected in the atmosphere of our camp.
I am a non-believer…
Our doors are open to everybody. We are a community of young people, mostly Catholics, but we have been “building bridges” to people from other denominations, non-believers and those who are searching. We fully respect everyone’s right to personal opinion. We are trying to create space and activities also for those who do not have a close relationship to God or do not feel like being believers. Everything is on a voluntary basis, so you can – but do not have to – join the prayers and the Holy Mass. We are trying to find something that can connect us and that can be a part of spiritual life of those who are searching and open to faith, or believing in a different way, or who are non-believers. These are the values such as Love, Work, Community, Peace and Good.
What types of work are there at the camp?
At the camp, you can select from a relatively big variety of interesting types of work. These include: repairing the walls of the church and the monastery (pointing, masoning, plaster fixing), logistics, working with pulley, chiseling the beams, plaining the wood, archaeology, help work in the camp (such as cooking, cutting the wood, carrying water from the spring). There are plenty of work activities – you can choose what appeals to you. During the camp, you can even try all of these activities!
Are there any age limits?
The camps are for young people from the age of 17; the upper age limit is not set. Based on my positive personal experience, when I was 27 I got on well with 17-year-olds and also with those who were 32.
The beauty of Katarínka is also in the fact that one does not perceive the age gaps so intensely as in everyday human relationships.
You need to be aware that the youngest volunteers coming to rescue the ruins of Katarínka are 17 and you will meet them in this place and – together with them – experience various adventures. Katarínka is not only about work, not only about the rest away from civilization, but mainly about creating a community, common experiences, historical adventures, all of which do not end after two weeks in summer, but continue throughout the whole year. So if you still have a desire to come and experience the community, help the historical monument, take a rest in the nature without mobile phones, watches and without computer and you are looking forward to surprises that are waiting there for you, our doors are open and you are more than welcome to join the rescuers of the St. Catherine Order.
One of the conditions for attendance at the camp is to spend the entire two weeks there. At first sight, this seems a long time, especially when one has many other activities during the summer. Katarínka has its continuity and point: as a camp beginning with wandering through Carpathian forests and continuing with getting to know the history of this place by form of experiences-adventures. Therefore, it would a pity to leave the camp in the middle of its time. Most participants would not make the camp shorter; some would even stay longer. During the summer, there are four available date periods for camps. Therefore, we hope that everyone finds their own date period when they can can attend the entire camp. Yet, if there are serious reasons to leave the camp (known already before the camp), they should be stated in the application form. The leaders of the camp can accordingly decide how to solve such situation.
Can I come to the camp at random?
No. You need to apply by filling in this form.
Mobile phone, electricity, internet?
The time that we spend at Katarínka is carrying the atmosphere of the 17th century – the time when people worked and lived without these inventions. In those days, people managed to help themselves different ways. We are living without electricity and mobile phones. We have the light from the sun and the days are long. At night, the moon replaces the sun, but we also use oil lamps and fire from the campfire. We kindly ask you to bring with you also small flashlights – headlamps (though it is true that sometimes even fireflies can visit us). If you come with a mobile phone, it is best if you give it to us and we keep it in a safe place to prevent its theft or damage, as well as you will not be tempted to have it with you all the time. Of course, if necessary, there are phone numbers to the camp which your relatives can call in case they need to talk to you.
Regarding hygiene, it should be noted that we are for two weeks in the middle of the protected nature. If you have been camping before, you may already know that you cannot make bubble bath there (unless you make it yourself:)). Of course, everyday you need to brush your teeth and clean yourself. We carry water by ourselves, so we use it sparingly. Not far from our camp there is a spring with clean water, but we need to take care of it – we use there only biodegradable soap, because the camp is in a protected landscape area. There is also a shower, for which we need to heat water and carry it there. If you have any allergies, do not forget to bring your medication so that you can spend the time in the camp without any related health problems.
How about the food? What if I have a special diet?
The food is served 5 times per day (breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, supper). If there are people with special diet due to allergy or vegetarians, the food is prepared for them with regard to their allergy. Due to how hard it is to cook for so many people in a camp, we do not cater to vegans though (only vegetarians). It is very important to inform us about this beforehand in the form when applying for the camp.
What types of work are carried out by volunteers? Is the professional work carried out under supervision of the trained team?
All work activities at Katarínka are carried out under the supervision of people who are already skilled in these types of work. As a result, the quality of work carried out at this cultural monument is on a higher level. In recent years, we have been doing mainly these work activities: re-masoning of damaged walls or small arches, pointing (replacing the missing mortar with a new one – this prolongs the lifespan of walls), hand chiseling of oak beams, hand plaining of oak boards, archaeological research, adjustment of the surroundings (mowing, stubbing) and so on. These types of work seem like work for men, but in fact, even many girls/women got to like them.