Caritas Camps Open Their Gates Again

This year, Caritas Hungary’s day- and sleepover-camps are once again offering nearly 4,000 disadvantaged children the chance to enjoy summer relaxation along with developmental and sports activities.

The 2024 national camp season was kicked off with the blessing of the Most Rev. Antal Spányi, in the presence of Dr. Anita Herczegh, Gábor Écsy, Dr. Pál Téglásy, and Klaus Höhn, as well as members of the popular Hungarian band "Magashegyi Underground" Bíborka Bocskor and Miklós Toldi.

The 16 diocesan Caritas organizations and the National HQ have coordinated with volunteers and staff to organize the "Summer Awaits!" camps across the country, held at parishes, community centers, and various locations around Lake Balaton. These camps often provide the only vacation opportunity for children from disadvantaged families and offer significant relief to parents struggling financially.

The traditional "Summer Awaits!" program officially began with the opening event in Balatonakali on June 26, 2024. Caritas camps welcome children from families in difficult situations identified by parish volunteers nationwide, as well as children and young people with disabilities. Some groups come from the poorest settlements in Transcarpathia and Délvidék (a region with significant Hungarian minority population in Serbia), as well as from villages involved in CH's "Emerging Settlements" program. A day camp was organized for the children of families forced to flee Ukraine, in collaboration with the CH's Budapest Integration Center.

Caritas Hungary's National HQ has been maintaining a 50-place camp in in the lakeside town of Balatonakali since 2022, where disadvantaged children can enjoy week-long stays over the span of more than two months. This year, the organization welcomes not only Hungarian schoolchildren but also nearly 100 children from Délvidék, Transcarpathia, and Ukraine, providing them with the opportunity to enjoy a vacation by Lake Balaton. The first group includes young people from Técső (Tiachiv) and Kőrösmező (Yasinia) in Transcarpathia. Planned activities include games, obstacle courses, arts and crafts, strategic games, hiking, bus excursions, and swimming. The program also includes discussions on health, selflessness, disability, and environmental stewardship, in line with Caritas Hungary’s spirit.

The national camp-opening event was attended by the Most Rev. Antal Spányi, President of Caritas Hungary; Dr. Anita Herczegh, the organization’s goodwill ambassador; Gábor Écsy, National Director of Caritas Hungary; Dr. Pál Téglásy, Secretary of the Charitable Council; Klaus Höhn, CH's goodwill ambassador in Germany; Bíborka Bocskor, singer of Magashegyi Underground; and Miklós Toldi, singer-songwriter and guitarist. The campers welcomed the guests with a short performance.

Gábor Écsy welcomed the attendees, saying, "Caritas camps provide not only vacation opportunities for children but also offer lifelong experiences, social development, and skill enhancement. We thank everyone who contributed to making this possible with their work and support."

Dr. Anita Herczegh, who has been the goodwill ambassador of the organization since 2022, brought gifts to the camp, including biblical coloring books and the popular Balaton chocolate bar. In her speech, she said, "I hope that those camping here this summer thanks to Caritas Hungary will enjoy this vacation filled with wonderful experiences. I hope it will have all the good things that can make a vacation memorable." The Goodwill Ambassador gave a special welcome to the Ukrainian and Hungarian children from Transcarpathia, highlighting, "For you, this vacation means an escape from the daily hardships in a different, more complicated sense."

Finally, the Most Rev. Antal Spányi, President of Caritas Hungary opened this year’s camp season with a short prayer and bishop’s blessing. The official event concluded with a sing-along led by Bíborka Bocskor and Miklós Toldi, teaching various songs to the enthusiastic young participants and discussing the importance of empathy and love towards each other.

Caritas Hungary gladly accepts donations to support the implementation of the camps. You can contribute to the organizational costs by calling the donation line 1356, which provides 500 HUF per call, or through online donations at, enabling more disadvantaged children to join the program.


Images: Tibor Vermes

Katolikus Karitász - Caritas Hungarica

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