Pfadfinderdorf Zellhof: Give me love, give me hope, give me shelter!

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Scouts and Guides contributing to refugee support activities in their local communities in Europe (36): a story from the town of Mattsee in Austria and the nearby Pfadfinderdorf Zellhof

Children running around the house playing games and discovering the beauties of nature is nothing unusual for an international Scout Centre: in any average summer week you can meet up to 800 Scouts and Guides at the Pfadfinderdorf Zellhof. But in the middle of December, when there are nomally only a few groups at the Zellhof over the weekends?

“Some time ago”, explains Michael Steinmetz, from the Zellhof-Team, “we were approached by the authorities of Mattsee, who were looking for adequate places refugee families could find a temporary home.” In fact, they may have remembered the 1990s when the Pfadfinderdorf Zellhof had already given refuge to a number of families who had fled the atrocities of war in the Balkans.

“We agreed to offer the Stöckl, which is one of the houses at Zellhof. Since November, it is now home to four families from Syria and the Iraq, including nine children.” The families cater for themselves and are accompanied by volunteers from “Mattsee hilft” a spontaneously created volunteer support team from Mattsee, including people from the Zellhof-Team and the local Samariterbund. “The common goals are targeted assistance and integration: schooling, child care, language classes, football club, etc. And we are very happy to be part of this project!”

For the moment, it is planned that the families will stay at Zellhof until March 2016, before the Stöckl will again be made available for Scouts and Guides.

In older days, the International Scout and Guide Centre Pfadfinderdorf Zellhof near Salzburg, Austria, used to be integral part of the estate of Mattsee Abbey, and included a pilgrim’s inn. The Centre, which is part of the SCENES Network of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), is run by an international team of volunteers who make sure that guests from all over Europe feel at home during their camp and can experience a mini Jamboree while staying in one of the four houses or pitching their tents on some 7,5 acres of land on the shores of Grabensee. Today, Pfadfinderdorf Zellhof is a synonym for hospitality and international friendship. And not just for Scouts and Guides!

Find out more about the joint initiative “Mattsee hilft” on the internet and on Facebook
And why not organise your next summer camp at the Pfadfinderdorf Zellhof (on the internet and on Facebook)?