While many young people in the U.K. are gearing up for a summer of backpacking or the beach, one group is choosing to stay home and spend their holidays in a more unusual way — doing voluntary conservation work in ancient cathedrals, chapels and churches.
Cathedral Camps, run by the U.K. charity Community Service Volunteers, is seeing about 150 young people from ages 16 to 25 painting walls, polishing spires, ringing bells, surveying tombstones and cleaning graveyards during the day and sleeping overnight in gardens, presbyteries or cloisters.
“The experience is a chance to see the hidden corners of some of the nation’s most iconic religious buildings in England, Scotland and Wales,” said Hannah Foxon, a seasoned camper. “It’s also a great way to meet new people and learn new skills. Most volunteers come away with the feeling of great pride, success and achievement. This is my fourth year and fifth camp as a leader for CSV Cathedral Camps, and each camp I have attended has been totally different.”