Volunteer Cara

Cara is the Irish word for “friend.” Learn more about the role and responsibilities of volunteers here.

Roles and responsibilities of a volunteer cara at camp

Everyone who volunteers at Barretstown is known as a ‘Cara’.  Cara is the Irish word for “friend.” As the title suggests volunteer Cara’s roles and responsibility are for providing a safe, fun and supportive environment for each camper in our care.  As a cara your role at camp is also to look after the daily needs of the campers, to accompany them in their activities and provide them with a fun, safe and supportive environment. All our programmes are facilitated by trained staff.

All volunteering is residential. You commit to the entire number of days for for a summer camp (8 -5 days of camp, 1 day of training which is extra).

A weekend is 3 days for Family Camp, 4 days for Bereavement Camp.


Volunteering at Barretstown is a truly unforgettable experience – fun activities, lots of laughs and the knowledge that you are directly helping children living with a serious illness and their families.

Interpreter roles and responsibilities

To look after the daily needs of the campers and to accompany them in their activities and provide a safe, fun and supportive environment for each camper in our care.
As Interpreter Cara you perform a very important role as the link between campers and staff. All Interpreters take on Cara roles when they get to Barretstown.
Barretstown reimburses a percentage of your flight ticket to Ireland if you are an Interpreter. The amount is specified in your offer letter. You will receive in cash (Euro) this amount towards the end of your session at Barretstown.
Facilitate smooth and effective communication across all aspects of the programme to ensure maximum participation for non-English speaking children.
Translate instructions and assist campers to participate in all activities.
Interpret announcements at meal times and during evening programmes for all of camp.
Assist Caras to communicate with the children in their cottage and activity at all times.
Help Caras to learn key words that will help them communicate with the children.
Interpreter Caras undergo a full days training.
As Interpreter Cara you perform a very important role as the link between campers and staff. All Interpreters take on Cara roles when they get to Barretstown.

Chaperone roles and responsibilities

To chaperone the campers to and from their home country. As a chaperone you provide comfort, companionship, safety and support during travel.

At camp you are also responsible for facilitating smooth and effective communication looking after the daily needs of the campers accompany them in their activities and provide a safe, fun and supportive environment for each camper in our care.

Terminology for activities

How to make the magic come alive


Some campers may display low self-esteem, feel isolated from their peer group, miss home or demonstrate attention seeking. It is our job to label campers to boost their self-confidence and self-esteem and ensure that every camper feels fully included in all activities.


At Barretstown, our focus is on the ability rather than the disability of the individual. Therefore, it is important to adapt all camp programmes to ensure everyone in the group feels included. It is vital that no camper feels patronised by being given a “special role” because we decide they are unable to participate in the activity. THE KEY IS PREPARATION – each cottage and activity group will be given alert lists ahead of time, making them aware of the ability of each participant and giving them the opportunity to adapt their activity accordingly.


Some campers arrive at Barretstown who may have learning difficulties or special needs. These will usually have a Cara from the cottage group assigned to them, who will be briefed to ensure the participants daily needs are being met and that they are adequately brought through Therapeutic Recreation.


Barretstown offers a child-centred programme for children from different European countries with a huge variety of cultural differences during the summer. It is the role of each staff member to ensure openness of each culture. It is the role of staff to encourage and facilitate the sharing of each other’s cultures and traditions at camp e.g. learning a few simple words in each language, encouraging cultural exchange through food, song, dance, stories and costumes.
It is also important to not allow English to dominate the camp. Tip: when giving instructions change around which language is spoken first, use active listening at all times and encourage non verbal communication.

Spring, Summer and Autumn responsibilities

Some of your responsibilities will include:

* To help in any way possible
* Help out in activities
* Take a lead with behaviours in activities
* Positively engage and interact with campers
* Role model
* Reassure parents
* Listen and be unobtrusive
* Be the eyes and ears for safety
* Have fun with families
* Respect 2:1 Adult Policy
* Play with camper
* Participate in the programme
* Be aware of safety at all times
* Facilitate Therapeutic Recreation in all aspects of camp

Summer only

These are additional responsibilities for summer volunteers

* Attached to a cottage group of up 8 days with 12 children/teens.
* Provide 24 hour care, staying in the cottages with children.
* Attached to an activity group with some members of your cottage team.
* Facilitation of the Therapeutic Recreation.
* Being aware of safety at all times.
* Positively highlight and label each individual’s successes. Reflect on these successes with children.
* Following Barretstown’s Behaviour Support model & communicate with respective teams thereafter.Effectively translate if you are a Chaperone or Interpreter
* Use of non verbal communication & Active Listening.
* Celebrate Cultural Awareness and Diversity by bring songs, games, dances from your won countries.
* Facilitating communication between Caras and children in the cottages
* Assisting Activity Leaders in translating safety procedures, introduction and de-brief in activities
* Translating announcements
* Translating Evening Entertainment
* Translating written information i.e. posters/signs and children certificates
* Suggesting culturally appropriate activities

Dining hall roles and responsibility

Dining Hall Responsibilities
• Before Lunch and Dinner, all of camp “Groove for our Food”…which means we dance before we bring out our food.
• Food is brought out in big bowls on trays, one per table.
• Please eat from the bowls provided.
• Nothing can go back into the kitchen for health and safety reasons therefore it is important to only take out what you need.
• Pay attention to alerts on alert lists for food allergies.
• Role model positive eating habits.
• Table Clean Up -everyone is responsible for cleaning their cottage table and surrounding floor area. Remember this can be fun and engaging for children. This is an opportunity to give responsibility back to the young people to clean up after themselves.
• Ozzie Ozzie Ozzie is shouted to get everyone’s attention on camp so when you hear this we ask the group to be silent and you reply Oi Oi Oi and then the announcement is stated.

Types of camps

An opportunity for the whole family to experience the magic of camp in a supportive environment. ...

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This camp is for siblings who have a brother or sister (aged infant to 17) who are currently being t ...

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Our Teens camps are specially designed camps for campers aged 13-17 from a number of countries, who ...

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The bereavement weekends offer families who have lost a child a supportive environment where they can spend quality time together, share their experience of loss and find ways to look to the journey ahead.

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