Giving a day of my summer to the forest


The "Sustainability and Solidarity Summer Camp 2024" project builds upon the annual initiative known as "Giving a Day of My Summer to the Forest," which has been operating since 2007.

This transformative project, running from June to September each year, focuses on safeguarding the forests surrounding the majestic Mount Olympus. It operates through two daily observation shifts, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., with a crucial partnership between local fire brigades and community volunteers.

At its heart is the strategic use of an observation tower, equipped with binoculars and clear instructions as well as cold beverages and electricity, where dedicated teams monitor the forests. The project enjoys wholehearted support from local fire brigades, recognizing its vital role in combatting the recurring threat of forest fires in the region.

Over the years, "Giving a Day of My Summer to the Forest" has delivered impressive results. It has significantly reduced the risk of forest fires and heightened awareness of environmental protection issues by mobilizing and sensitizing people. The unwavering support of local businesses attests to the project's consistency and tangible results.

In 2024, the initiative takes a technological leap by incorporating drones, generously provided by Aegean Motorway A.E., for enhanced forest surveillance. This innovative approach underscores the project's commitment to environmental preservation and community engagement, setting it as a model of effective grassroots action for all of Europe.

This year, the project expands its impact by transforming into a team volunteering activity for 20 young European participants. They will be organized into five groups, each responsible for various daily tasks, encompassing forest observation, meal preparation and service, facility maintenance, and involvement in other solidarity and social projects organized by KSK. "Sustainability and Solidarity Summer Camp 2024" promises to be a unique and impactful experience, fostering environmental consciousness and community spirit among participants while continuing the legacy of forest protection.

Where in Europe am I?

We are located right between Greece’s highest mountain and the endless coastline of the Thermaic Gulf in Katerini, Pieria, with all its rich leisure opportunities nearby. Here, in the span of just one day, one can hike in the lush forests of Mount Olympus, with its captivating trails and mythological allure, and afterwards explore diverse coastal wonders near Plaka, Litohoro, from fine sandy stretches to remote stone and gravel beaches, offering serenity and natural beauty. Katerini's own blue flag beaches in Paralia also provide an easily and quickly accessible getaway by bicycle from Kapnikos Stathmos.

For those interested in the cultural and historical legacy of the region, the Vergina Museum in close by Veria is a must-see, preserving the legacy of Philipp II and Alexander the Great through ancient tombs and opulent artifacts. Another obligatory stop are the gravity-defying monasteries of Meteora, where spirituality and architecture harmonize amidst stunning rock formations, as well as the Dion Museum, an important site of Zeus' worship.

For a stunning view and idyllic atmosphere Litohoro Village, the gateway to Mount Olympus, welcomes nature enthusiasts and connects them to picturesque landscapes, while those, looking for a pulsating urban flair will find everything they long for in Thessaloniki's blend of history and modernity, thriving with dynamic nightlife, museums, and cultural diversity.

Who is organizing it?

Kapnikos Stathmos Katerini (KSK) is an independent organization with roots dating back to 2007 when a citizens' initiative formed to address societal challenges. Since then, our volunteering group consistently initiated and executed projects and volunteering activities to raise awareness and support individuals in need, irrespective of their cultural, ethnic, or religious background.

After the economic hardships during the financial crisis prompted a need for more warehouse space, in 2011 we occupied and restored one of the few abandoned historical venues in our city: the former tobacco research institute Kapnikos Stathmos.

In 2019, recognizing the importance of formalizing our efforts, we established a non-profit organization and named it after the historical venue Kapnikos Stathmos Katerini (KSK). This organization has since been the ground and roof of various initiatives focused on environmental protection, social solidarity, and unconditional human rights, guided by core values such as social responsibility, cooperation, inclusion, and respect for individual rights and diversity.

KSK manages more than 19 diverse projects, including this project’s core activity and our very first action named "Giving a day of my summer to the forest," which aims to protect forests from wildfires with active involvement from local communities. Despite challenges, KSK operates independently of municipal or government support and continues to foster civil engagement, solidarity, volunteering, social inclusion, and environmental protection.

Through our work, we bridge different societal groups and cultural entities, striving to enhance societal cohesion and address pressing challenges such as climate change and economic disparities. Our commitment to shared European values of equality and human rights contributes to peace and solidarity within the European Union.

What are the exact dates of the activity?

This year’s “Sustainability and Solidarity Summer Camp 2024” will last from the 29. July to 8. September (6 weeks).

How is it organized?

The project will consist of five groups, each comprising approximately four people. These groups will rotate through a set of daily tasks from Monday to Friday:

The first group, known as the "Observers" will conduct fire protection shifts at the watchtower at Plaka, meaning they will spend the whole day at the beach observing the forests of Mount Olympus.

The second group, referred to as the "Stewards" will be responsible for setting up and taking down dining tables for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including doing all the dishes.

The third group, the "Sous-Chefs" will assist the professional cook in the kitchen. Depending on the specific day’s meals they will help with all preparations while getting a glimpse at how to cook “greek-style”.

The fourth group, titled "Facility Managers" will handle general cleanliness and maintenance duties according to the daily plan.

Lastly, the fifth group, the "Allrounders" will engage in various tasks related to the numerous other solidarity and social projects organized by KSK, e.g., the Social Pharmacy, the Social Goods Distribution or the Logistics Center for humanitarian Aid, where they will be trained in principles of warehouse logistics, circular economy and much more.

When and how many hours do I work?

The working hours depend on which set of tasks one is responsible this day:


The Observers-group will be at the watchtower from around 10 am to 8 pm, observing while parallelly enjoying the beach.

The other four groups will stay in KSK to fulfill their daily tasks for 5 hours, from 9 am to 2 pm. Afterwards, everyone is free to enjoy his or her leisure time.

The Steward-group will only work before and after the meals, amounting to less than 5 hours but with the obligation to be present before and after every meal.

This way, everyone does every set of tasks once a week – fair and diversified.

The working week is from Monday to Friday with Saturday and Sunday being task-free. Additional to the weekend, everyone has an extra two vacation days that can be chosen accordingly.

What’s the weather like in August?

In August, Katerini, Greece usually has hot and sunny weather with temperatures averaging around 30-35 degrees Celsius. All month clear skies and minimal rainfall are to be expected, making it an ideal time for outdoor activities and enjoying the beautiful Mediterranean climate while also posing the highest risk for forest fires.

Will I need special working clothes?

There is no need for special clothes, we encourage everyone to wear what he or she feels comfortable in. As it will be summer, and many tasks involve outdoor activities, participants should wear lightweight and practical clothing that can withstand getting dirty.

Nevertheless, we strongly suggest to include swimsuits for the beach and stable shoes for hiking in the mountains.

Do I have to take something like bed sheets or my laptop from home?

Everything related to accommodation will be provided by us, meaning that neither towels nor bedsheets have to be taken from home. The same goes for shampoos, soap and other basic goods.

Participants may choose to bring their laptop for their spare time or to use it for some of the tasks, but it is totally optional.

Can I wash my clothes there?

Every volunteer will have free access to our washing machine on site and plenty of space to dry the clothes. The cleaning agents will also be provided by us for free.

Where will I sleep?

In the spirit of a typical summer camp, during their stay all volunteers will be accommodated in a shared dormitory. This dormitory is set up in a spacious and cozy hall known as "Arani," providing a comfortable atmosphere in a historic building. In this communal setting, there are 10 bunk beds, allowing for all 20 volunteers to share the sleeping space together. It's worth noting that there is no separation between men and women in this dormitory.

Given the pleasant summer weather, volunteers will likely spend most of their time outdoors, using the dormitory primarily for storing their belongings and getting a good night's sleep. This arrangement encourages interaction among participants and contributes to the sense of togetherness and shared experiences during their stay.

How about sanitary facilities?

The sanitary facilities, located next to the dormitory, were constructed in 2019, reflecting their recent build and contemporary design. In 2022, we added four individual shower rooms, further enhancing convenience and privacy for our users.

There are separate men's and women's bathrooms, each equipped with multiple toilets, along with five shower rooms to ensure availability, even during peak times.

What will I eat and who is preparing the food?

Participants will enjoy a variety of delicious meals during their stay.

To start each morning, breakfast is served buffet-style, offering a range of options such as coffee, cereal, bread, fruits, and more.


For lunch and dinner, a rotating meal plan featuring traditional Greek dishes is followed, with the option for 2 to 3 meat-based meals per week. These meals are prepared on-site by a professional cook, ensuring their quality and taste while also giving flexibility to adapt to any special dietary needs if necessary.

Is there any climatization where I sleep?

The "Arani," where participants are lodged for sleeping, is a generously sized hall naturally ventilated thanks to its traditional construction design.

Furthermore, additional ventilators can be used for exceptional hot evenings.

What happens if I get sick or injured?

If a participant falls ill or any other emergency arises, support is always available. KSK staff, the coordinator and the mentor are always accessible and nearby to contact.

Furthermore, our organization has a network of trained and experienced healthcare professionals on standby to provide assistance when necessary. In case of illness, we also have additional rooms in apartments on-site, which can be used for quarantine or similar measures to ensure the well-being of all participants.

I arrived at the airport Thessaloniki. What do I do now?

The journey to KSK from the airport is quite straightforward using public transportation.

Right in front of the airport, there's a bus stop for the X1 Bus, which departs every half hour (please refer to the schedule []). Tickets can be conveniently purchased at the counter for 1.8 € in cash. Travelers take the X1 bus until it reaches the very final stop, known as the “KTEL Makedonia," easily recognizable by its distinctive giant dome building.

Upon arriving at the "Bus station (KTEL) Makedonia," find the "Pieria" Counter, situated to the right from the entrance. Here, tickets to Katerini, costing approximately 6€, can be obtained (more details available []).

The KTEL Bus will transport passengers directly to the KTEL station in Katerini, where the KSK team will be waiting to offer assistance and a warm welcome.




Sie finden uns

Bankdaten & IDs

Steuer-Nr: 9969 67 314 DOY Katerinis

IBAN: GR71 0172 2550 0052 5510 1380 536

European Solidarity Corps PIC number: 898062279