Volunteers of Camping Le Belvedere

Hey there. My name is Ahmet Özgür Çınar. I’m 24 years old master student who is studying in the field of education and geography.  I’m one of the Erasmus+ EVs volunteers of The Initative Developpement Citoyen (IDC) Organization in Camping de Belvedere at Lastours. IDC is a cooperative founded in April 2010 in Lastours, France with the aim to promote sustainable development, international mobility, active citizenship, mutual cooperation, ecological engagement, and awareness of different cultures.

The cooperative also organizes and hosts Erasmus-funded projects that aim to provide learning and capacity-building opportunities for the youth. The projects host volunteers from Europe, South America, and Southeast Asia and focus on topics related to knowledge exchange, communications, and sustainable development.

IDC organizes different activities, events, and workshops ranging from topics on ecological building, farming, maintenance of vegetable gardens and greenhouses, and hosting costumers. For example; this June we will organize two different work camps about Permaculture and Greenhouse. Given our focus on sustainable development, we encourage the involvement of volunteers or participants who appreciate living in nature and understand the need for ecological preservation.

The Organization is based on a campsite: Camping Le Belvédère, overlooks the Cathar castles of Lastours which sit atop a rocky outcrop overlooking the small village of Lastours. It is located 20 km away from Carcassonne in the Aude Region in the South of France.

Surrounded by rolling green hills and vineyards, the campsite provides a peaceful and relaxing eco-tourism spot for campers and hikers. Our accommodation features a number of fully equipped mobile homes and specific places for tents. We also have animal friends in this camping area. We have 2 donkeys; Manu and Pipu, one pig Lulu, two dogs Iru and Keila and three cats.

The campsite is one of the projects of the cooperative and is based on the principles of eco-tourism. We promote responsible travel, making sure that we minimize the impact of tourism on the environment while sustaining the wellbeing of the local community.

We try to reduce the impact of camping on the environment through promoting eco-friendly practices, recycling our waste, using natural waste for compost, reducing the purchase of plastics, utilizing energy saving lighting, and only using eco-friendly cleaning products.

The bathrooms are always cleaned with the use of ecological cleaning products. One bathroom is specially equipped for persons with reduced mobility and small children. Accessories for babies are also at our clients’ disposal (bathtub, changing table, toilet seat, etc.).

Today I’m going to talk to you about my friends who also volunteer like me in the same camp. Everyone has a responsibility on a special topic but generally, we are sharing common tasks and helping each other on our tasks.

First I would like to introduce myself to you; I’m 24 years old master student who is studying in the field of education and geography. I’m generally working on office works, taking care of donkeys and Lulu, Cleaning Common Areas and most importantly I’m working on European Benefits workshop and on a personal project which is about the inviting refugee youth to our work camps to make their social adaptation and integration easier.  I’m here because I would like to study European Studies, Migration, Borders and Sustainability. I want to enlarge my knowledge, to see my capacity and limits and generally know myself. I thought that this place could be a perfect place to work and think about these topics.

So, let’s meet with my friends:

1.         Francesco Cannolicchio

This Italian guy who is in his 21 is coming from Napoli. His main task in camp is working on projects and workshops about European Identity, European Union, and Active citizenship education. For his reason to be here: He is saying that he was always wondering how it feels to live in nature, in a camping area. Because since his childhood he always interested in Nature, minimalist lifestyle. He also likes to enlarge his knowledge of sustainability and ecologic life. This is why he is here.

2.         Veronica Vahtaric

Veronica one of our two Croatian volunteers. She is 21 years old. She always adds joy to the camp with her warm smile. She is taking care of animals and to the garden. Reason to be here: She is interested in topics like nature, sustainability, animals, gardening, therefore, she is thinking that this camp with its offers perfectly fits her interests.

3.         Alicia Vargas

Alicia is one of our non-European volunteers with Lucas. She is coming from Peru. Also last year, she was here for 2 months. In the camp, she is mostly working in reception, Works on communications and marketing also she is organizing yoga events for the volunteers and customers. Her reason to be here: actually, this is not her first time in here.  She said that she really likes the area, camping, and discover potentials of the place, explore nature around, develop herself in a professional and personal way. Because she studied communication sciences and strategical marketing.

4.         Maddalena Causin

Maddalena a.k.a. Maddi/Maddima is one of the Italian volunteers. She is in her 23. She is going to do a master’s degree in Sustainable Terrıtorıal Development. She is a really responsible and hardworking person. She is working on outdoor activities, taking care of animals, gardening, taking care of the stuff in the garden. Her reason to be here: She is interested in sustainability, living in the close contact with nature, living in a multicultural place, having new responsibilities, learning as many new things as she can; challenging herself and getting to know better herself and her capacities.

5.         Ivan Perkovic

Ivan is our other Croatian volunteer. He is 26 years old. He joined us almost one month ago. His main task in camp gardening. He is here because he interested in Permaculture sustainability and running workshops on that topic.

6.         Irene Ferroni

Irene ‘piccola’ is our youngest volunteer. She is 19 years old girl from Veneto/Italy. She wants to study psychology. I’m betting that she is going to be a perfect psychologist, especially her energy and joy are enough to make us happy. She is generally working in the kitchen with Lucas. She is here to do gardening and living in a community which cares about nature and our World.

7.         Irene Polly

Irene ‘Polly’ is our long term EVS volunteer from Italy. Yes, Italy. We have a small Italian community here. Irene is one of them. She is 25 years old newly graduated girl.

She is working in reception, she is generally helping on planning, shopping, communication in social media with Alicia. She is recently graduated therefore she wants to have some practice and get experience. She wants to do personal projects, enjoying nature, working on the non-profit fashion industry. Above all, she loves our motto: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

8.         Lucas Neves Lobue

Lucas is one of our volunteers from out of Europe. He is a Brazilian guy who is in his 35. He graduated from International Relations. He also lived in Africa four years before joining us. He is a really kind guy and always spreading positive energy. He is responsible for our common kitchen and garden. He is working in the garden and permaculture, cooking. He is here because he wants to live more integrated with nature and in the community.

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