Full of positive memories, we are looking back to the Membership Meeting of Kolping Youth Europe in Luborzyca (near Krakow), which took place between the 22nd to 24th of November 2019. More than 30 young Kolping members from 15 different countries participated and shared our experience regarding youth work in their country. But let’s start from the beginning…

With a Saturday full of meetings and workshops, some of us opted to arrive on Thursday evening to take the opportunity and discover a beautiful piece of Poland on Friday. Thus, everything started on Friday morning, when we headed toward the city center and decided to join a free walking tour around Krakow; the medieval city of old, but full of young people. Many of us haven’t met before and it was amazing how a group of strangers can walk around a foreign city and get along like they have known each other since forever! That is what the power of youth consists of! Even though it was cold, Jerry’s humor – our tour guide – and a delicious cup of hot chocolate was able to warm us from inside. At the end of the tour, we were all convinced that the city was amazing and that we need something to eat, quickly! The help came in form of Zapiekanka, a Polish pizza-bread, that gave us energy to take some group pictures and head back to the Kolping house. At 6 o’clock, everybody has arrived, sane and safe and was waiting for the evening to start. It always begins with games to get to know the new people, then continues with jokes to get comfortable around each other and ends up with simple and honest discussions, when everyone feels themselves welcome in the community and free as a bird to be themselves. Everybody has a story to share and everyone needs a story to feed their spirit.

Saturday morning came too quickly, and the official meetings began. The Board of Kolping Youth Europe represented by Gellért Szabó (former president) presented the activity report of the last years and the plans for the upcoming year. Patrycja Kwapik followed by showing us the report about the financial situation. Then all the participants had the opportunity to present the youth activities of their Kolping families, which gave us the opportunity to appreciate the diversity and the particularities of each association. It showed what Kolping means to each of us and there are so many different ways, how we can involve young people in volunteering activities.

Then, the time for the elections had come. Everyone had a chance to propose and to become a candidate for the new board of KYE, but only seven would be chosen. After a calm and safe election was held (I wish it could be like that in my country...) a new board was on its way to make the Kolping community even greater. The new members are Edona Staka (Albania), Grlica Golusin (Serbia), Dominik Presul (Slovakia), Heinz Strässle (Switzerland), Luis Saavedra (Portugal), Jerzy Wolf (Poland) and Sven Messing (Germany) who was also unanimously voted president in the first board meeting that followed shortly thereafter. We are very grateful for the work of the previous board members who did not candidate again to give the opportunity to others: Viktorija Erjavec (Croatia), Marko Bojin (Serbia), Henrietta Blejan (Romania) and our former president Gellért Szabó (Hungary). 

After the elections, an inspiring workshop about Erasmus+, led by NGO expert Magdalena Szczud?o, reconfirmed that we have creative and amazing ideas for changing the world through good practices and how easily things could be done if the „elders” trusted us more. And why not? We have proved that we are the best agents of change, we are the leaders of the revolutions and at the same time the peace ambassadors; we are the bridge-builders between communities. It is enough to light one candle and it will light thousands of others. Our time is not somewhere in the future, our time is the present! But before pretending to change the world, give us a chance! Give us the space, the means, and the time. We are hungry for changes, but we do not have the opportunities. We want you to engage us more seriously through honest competition and joint efforts! 

In the evening, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of Kolping Youth Europe. Everyone brought traditional dishes and drinks from their countries: from homemade chocolate and sausages, to gingerbread and “laknur” – a mouthwatering delicacy from Albania! And after tasting everything the orange party began: we were dancing to all the traditional songs one by one, having group pictures and laughing out loud while enjoying the time together, because we are young and beautiful and also ready to be a role model in society. 

On Sunday morning we all woke up, not realizing that this amazing event was about to end, and everyone had to go back to their home country. But we were sure that we keep the memories and motivation that this meeting gave us in our hearts to share it back home. 

"Dziekuje bardzo" to our hosts from Kolping Poland for their hospitality, to our youth adviser Patrycja for her huge organizational support and to everyone who was there because youth is the answer! 

Edona Staka

Membership Meeting in Budapest

23 representatives from 11 different countries met in Budapest from 08.-10. March 2019 for the annual Membership Meeting of Kolping Youth Europe. The delegates represented the national Kolping Societies from Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Poland, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland and Ukraine.

Thanks to the local Kolping Youth from Budapest, the meeting began with a delicious self-made Hungarian dinner and an intercultural evening close to the Hungarian Parliament. In a nice atmosphere, the delegates were meeting old friends and new youngsters from different parts of Europe.

The current situation and recent activities of Kolping Youth Europe and all national Kolping Associations were presented on the next day. For example, the Kolping Youth of Serbia informed about their event series “You in the eyes of an employer”, while the Kolping Youth of Romania directed the interest of the delegates towards a social project in which Kolping Families collect shoes for children in need. The German Kolping Youth advertised the 72-hours-campaign that consists of plenty of social projects being organised end of May 2019.

Afterwards, Marko Bojin (Serbia) and Sven Messing (Germany) were elected as new members of the board of Kolping Youth Europa; supporting the current board members Gellért Szabo (Hungary), Viktorija Erjavec (Croatia), Henrietta Blejan (Romania) and Dominik Presul (Slovakia) as well as the Youth Advisor Patrycja Kwapik (Poland). In the next months, the board will continue to work on the results of the workshops in which the delegates exchanged their experiences and wishes regarding communication, advertising, fundraising and local youth work.

Information about future events will be published on the Facebook page “Kolpingjugend Europa” as soon as the funding is ensured.


Sven Messing

Membership Meeting 2017 in Timisoara

Albania, Czech Republic, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Ukraine and Hungary are the 12 countries from where 22 youngsters came to Timi?oara (Romania) to represent their national associations at the Kolping Youth Europe membership meeting, which took place on the 9th-12th of November 2017.

Friday morning we headed towards the office of the organisation and, together with Ana-Maria Andronic, the facilitator of the „Promotion and motivation” workshop, we managed to get to know each other better. Then the Board of Kolping Youth Europe, represented by Gellért Szabó (president), Henrietta Blejan (vicepresident) and Viktorija Erjavec, presented the activity report (important to point out are the European Youth Week, the photo contest and the newsletter) and the plans for the upcoming year, while Patrycja Kwapik spoke about the financial situation. Then followed the presentation of the youth activities of each participating country, which gave us the opportunity to appreciate the diversity and the particularities of each association, at the same time making us think of the words of Adolph Kolping – "The needs of the times will teach you what to do." During the afternoon we clarified what Kolping means to each of us, which are the target groups when we talk about attracting new members and how we can involve young people in volunteering activities. In other words, we focused on promotion. A great opportunity to unwind and to have fun was the cultural evening that took place alterwards.

The discussions we had on Saturday were focused on motivation. Divided into 5 working groups, we shared experiences, discussed what motivates and demotivates us, identified the common problems we face in our volunteering work and saw how, through the activities carried out, the association responds to every level of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. During the afternoon we mixed business with pleasure and also reinforced the idea of teamwork by working together in order to get out of an escape room. Later that day we participated at the Holy Mass and said the Prayer of the Faithful in every language of the participants.

On Sunday, during the evaluation session, Serbia expressed its desire to organise the next Membership Meeting of Kolping Youth Europe in Novi Sad. Proposals for organising the European Youth Week are still awaited.

Gathered together from all over Europe and without previously having had the opportunity to interact very much with each other, this promotion and motivation workshop gave us the opportunity to build stronger ties and it also gave us an impulse for the following year. I will conclude with the words of Adolph Kolping, which could be considered a conclusion to our meeting – ”Those who want to win people must leave their hearts as a token.”


Ana-Maria Nicu

The meeting was financed by the European Union (Erasmus +).

Youth Week 2017: „Europe – Common values?!“

Which values connect us in Europe? And which values connect us as Kolping Youth? In August, 41 youngsters from 15 European countries dealt with these questions in Nuremberg. The Youth Week 2017 was hosted by Kolping Youth Bamberg. “Even though the participants stem from so different parts of Europe, the week showed that some values are shared by all of us”, said Sven Messing (Kolping Youth Leader in the Diocese of Bamberg) who prepared the event together with Johanna Gärtner, Natascha Künkler, Johannes Mayer, Christoph Will and Theresa Straub.

The participants from Albania, Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Switzerland and Ukraine worked on answering the questions raised at the beginning of this article. While discussions, workshops and outdoor activities the topic of Human Rights came up to be relevant, also for Nuremberg. As it is widely known, during the Third Reich the city was very important for the National Socialist Party due to celebrating their annual party conferences. The group visited the Congress Hall, the biggest preserved National Socialist monumental building, which nowadays houses a museum that shows the times when rights were violated. As a contrast to the sad history, the participants went to the “Street of Human Rights”, a place in the city centre that was created to promote their importance.

But how can we influence the future while having our values in mind? In order to answer this question the youngsters took part in a political role-play as campaigners. They were divided into different parties, were given an election program and were asked to present it to others. In this simulated election campaign, it was striking that a persuasive presentation with manipulative argumentation can influence one’s opinion – even if that person does not share the values promoted by the party.

During the week, the international group had the chance to get to know interesting personalities. One of them was the Mayor of Nuremberg, Dr. Klemens Gsell, who welcomed the group in the Historical City Hall. Another significant person was the Auxiliary Bishop of Bamberg, Herwig Gössl, with whom the group explored the importance of Christian Values in present and in future. 

At the end of the week, the participants of the Youth Week celebrated a Final Event together with members of the local Kolping Youth. During the event, the international guests showed previously made posters informing about their home countries and their Kolping activities. Afterwards, the young people took part in fireside chats with Prof. Dr. Klaus L. Wübbenhorst (Economic Head of the Metropolitan Region of Nuremberg), Lisi Maier (Head of the Catholic Youth Associations in Germany), Anna-Maria Högg (Head of Kolping Youth Germany) and Simone Detzlhofer (Head of Kolping Youth Bavaria).

An international Holy Mess summarized the week. The interior of the church was dominated by a 7-meter-high cross on which the flags of all participating countries were placed. It had a very metaphorical meaning as the cross was made of puzzles highlighting the fact that all our countries are unique but connected. During the Holy Mess, the participants put twelve yellow stars on a blue cloth that was placed at the foot of the cross. Each star contained one value that we identified as being shared by us as Kolping Youth. This led to creating the flag of Europe symbolically referring to the topic of the week, “Europe – Common values?!”

This project was funded by the European Union (Erasmus+), the Catholic Funds, the Citizen Movement for Human Dignity in Middle Franconia and the Doris-Wuppermann-Foundation.

Frist unofficial Kolping Youth Europe Meeting – a small idea with a big effect

A visit turned into a small unofficial international meeting. With a dash of motivation, happiness and work, Kolping youth Europe overcomes boundaries and offers activities, adventures and friendship

Everything started with the aim to visit Bratislava with a friend from Kolping youth (KY) Hungary. When the responsible person of KY Slovakia heard of this, he said that Kosice is more beautiful as Bratislava and we could meet him there. That was the first step towards the first unofficial KY Europe meeting.

After a short moment, a Facebook group was created. KY members from Croatia, Ukraine and the Czech Republic joined in happily. Thanks to Doodle and Hostelworld, a time point as well as an accommodation was found quickly.

On Friday the 9th December, I travelled to Kosice by plane and car with a stop in Budapest. There an exciting and cheerful weekend with twelve KY members from six countries was waiting for me.

Saturday started with a collective breakfast in the Kolping house, afterwards we discovered the snow-covered Kosice. We visited the famous church tower and listened to stories about curiosities of the city. To warm up, we tried local specialties and hot wine at the Christmas market. After that, we successfully fled an EscapeRoom, a game where you need to solve riddles to get out of a room. A nice dinner completed Saturday and small gifts from the different countries were exchanged. We had biscuits from Ukraine, smoked cheese from Slovakia and of course chocolate from Switzerland. After long discussions and consumption of delicacies of all countries, Sunday had arrived faster than we thought. After a savory brunch at the Kolping house, everyone started sadly the journey home. The next possible destinations had already been discussed and who knows, maybe it will be in Switzerland.

If this story appealed to your spirit of adventure, or you know young people who would love to participate in international Kolping activities, visit and make publicity! During the year, several meetings and workshops in whole Europe are being organized and especially the youth week in summer is a highlight. This year, the European youth week will be in Bamberg (DE) from the 13th to the 20th of August. I hope, I will meet you there!


Heinz Straessle


8th-11th October 2015, Ludbreg, Croatia

From October 8th until October 11th 2015 all Kolping roads were leading to the „centrum mundi“, to Ludbreg, Croatia. Catholic apprentices society-Kolping from Zagreb Archdiocese, Kolping society of Varaždin diocese and Kolping Youth Europe were organizers and hosts of workshop meeting „Creative leader-motivated group“.

Young Croatian organisation team from Kolping family Saint Joseph (Zagreb) was preparing for half a year everything to make this meeting possible. For the first time in history of Croatian Kolping work one European Kolping youth meeting was held in Croatia. Thirty European young Kolping members gathered in Ludbreg. Twenty-two of them were from seven countries: Ukraine, Poland, Serbia, Romania, Hungary, The Czech Republic, Slovakia and eight of them from Croatia.After the arrival of participants and the greeting words from Ms. Anita Petri?evi?, the president of  Catholic apprentices society-Kolping from Zagreb Archdiocese and Mr. Stjepan Vincek, president of the board of  the same society, guests participated at the Croatian cultural evening. Video, photo, food and drink, dance and music „tour de Croatia“ welcomed all participants. 

Second day of meeting was mostly workshop day. Petra Pervan, young psychologist and expert in working with young leaders, was leading participants through all workshops. Some workshop points were the main leaders characteristics, how to understand some group process etc. Petra gave to the participants also opportunities to experience some games and ways of working with youngsters and a lot more. Afternoon sightseeing in Varaždin, in a „town of baroque, music and flowers“ near Ludbreg, started with a visit to the cathedral of Varaždin. Priest of Kolping society of Varaždin diocese, Antun Per?i?, welcomed the group. Powerful organ masterpieces played by Mr. Višeslav Jaklin made this visit more interesting. After the free time in Varaždin, group ended the day  with nice dinner in a restaurant called „Knegine?ka hiža“, in Kneginec near Varaždin.  Third day was reserved for the continuation of workshop and for sightseeing of Ludbreg.  Priest  Silvijo Koš?ak  was the tour guide through the town. After visiting parish church, „centrum mundi point“ and castle Battchany, a group had one special assignment. Organizers prepared a game through a part of the town for them. In five smaller groups they had to find five spots and papers with notes at each spot, which were leading to the final spot and to the „treasure“, of course. Seeing a group running throught the town centre, asking local people and laughing a lot, one local man commented: „A running and trying to find a „treasure“ like this was not present here in Ludbreg since Roman times J.“ Later that day was Holy Mass together with older Kolping members from Zagreb and Varaždin. It was served by Kolping priest Zdenko Perija. Youth choir „Agape“ was leading the singing during the Holy Mass. After the dinner, young guests presented their countries and Kolping work in their countries through singing, dancing, acting, showing the country beauties etc. Intercultural evening was very interesting to the older Kolping members but also to all participants. Second part of Intercultural evening was only with meeting participants where they presented their countries throughout brought food.

Last meeting day was reserved for information about Kolping Youth activities on European level, which were shared by Patrycja Kwapik. Also, evaluation and thanksgiving part made this last day special.

Idea of this meeting is very modern: to train and prepare young people for leadership so that they could be better leaders and so that they could lead other youngster to be responsable participants of their society, responsable participants of the Church.

Creativity and motivation are important in a life of every group. There is no unique answer how to become creative or motivated, everything we are and our characteristics lead us to the points where we can try to make something for our society. Every good step is right step and it makes a difference, it makes our surroundings better and more human. So the idea of the meeting was to awake some positive energy in the participants and motivate them so that they would like to become more active and more creative and motivated participants of their society, of their Kolping families and also to share with them a part of ideas how to make it.

According to the positive feedback and nice experience, this meeting is a beginning of nice friendships and who knows-maybe also of some future projects.

May the life and work od blessed Adolph Kolping help all to continue their motivated work in Kolping society.


Media Workshop of the Kolping Youth Europa

Nearly 30 members of Kolping Youth Europe from 12 countries met for a media workshop from 12 to 15 of February 2015  in Voiswinkel near Cologne/Germany.

The international group learned more about the Public Relations of Kolping International and visited the radio channel "Domradio" in Cologne. The young people prepared a radio transmission, which was broadcasted and now can be downloaded from the internet site:

How to good communicate with the young people and what it’s mean for the RP-work of the Kolping Youth on the international level? This and another questions was discussed by about 30 youngsters from 12 European countries during the Media workshop of Kolping Youth Europe in Voiswinkel near Cologne/Germany. The young people from Poland, Germany, Lithuania, Serbia, Moldova, Hungary, Albania, Kosovo, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania and the Czech Republic developed communication strategy of the organization.

During the workshop the communication strategy of the Kolping Youth Europe was discussed and the participants developed new ideas about Public Relations.

The youngsters worked with different aspects of the public relations in four small groups. The group “Newsletter & Flyer” was preparing professional advertising material for the Kolpingjugend Europe, the “Pictures” group took different motives and used it in the promotion materials.

The group "New Media" worked out suggestions how to reach more teenagers and young adults to visiting the Facebook and internet site. The work of the "radio" group was also interesting - this one took a radio program about voluntary work and prepared the interviews with the participants from the different countries. The radio program prepared by Kolping Youth from Shkoder/Albania can be used in the future to introduce the Kolping Youth Europe.


8 anniversary of Kolping Youth in Cameroon

Global Objective:

Contribute to the improvement of the youth’s life conditions for their complete development

Specific Objective:

Promote the creation of some activities in favor of the young and the reinforcement of their capacities.

Kolping youth in Cameroon is in the center of all the attention seizing the invitation of the international community and the church especially the one of my country. During their visits the pastors emphasize on the diversity of youth movements and their importance as a recruiting ground for the Catholic Church. And there Kolping Cameroon lead by Alain Serge BABA, who shows himself very dynamic in his ambitious program to regroup the following domains: Spirituality, environment, health, education, agropastoralism, sports and free time activities.

The spirituality is marked by the recollections during the time when the young people engage themselves with Kolping’s spirit, the social doctrine of the church and the retreats to deepen the spirituality in young age.

In the area of environmental protection a program is foreseen to rebuild a sensitive ecosystem especially in certain localities, where the chosen slogan is “one youth one tree”. For example, the Diocese of Batoury with the project of the altar boy in collaboration with the bishop of Batouri protector of the oeuvre in Cameroon.

In the domain of health, a sensitization program for young people in the rural and urban milieus on the preventive methods to fight against endemic diseases.

In the domain of education we look for a partnership with certain organisms, a refresh program for pupils and students and in certain orphanages.

In the domain of sports and free time activities the years are marked by the championships for the multidisciplinary holidays for the youth in the cities and the rural areas, the visits of zoological and botanical gardens, and the trips to the hinterland. All these activities are punctuated by competitions and raffles.


A volunteering program for youth see the day in 2013

Slogan: Youth in the service and exchange de culture

For young people that want to enrich their life experience, Kolping’s work allows each year a possibility in a volunteering activity in a district, city or country. This is possible thanks to the Kolping community that is an association of sending and hosting the program “youth in action” which means that it helps to organize volunteering programs and adopts the volunteers who want to work.

Due to volunteering, the youth has a chance to meet a different culture, acquire new competences and learn a different culture as theirs.

Everybody that has free time an wishes to use that time for providing help to others, can work as a volunteer in Kolping and more specifically with young people.

Volunteering is also a part of your projects based on the jobless people or people with working difficulties, those engage in working with others to break their passivity and improve their competences while sharing with others.

Alain Serge BABA
Responsible de Kolping Jeune Cameroun
Translated by Heinz Strässle

Esztergom – where is it? Report from the European Youth Week in Hungary

Esztergom – where is it? I have never heard about this place and I was curious what to expect. Esztergom is located in Hungary, north of Budapest. This town lovely placed by the Danube river is the third place with the biggest cathedral in Europe – I have never known about this fact before.

37 young people from all Europe met between 30.06 and 06.07.2014 in Esztergom - including myself Theresa Hartmann - President of Kolping Youth Bavaria.

Organizers provided us with a rich program, including sightseeing and learning about the Hungarian culture. During a visit to Budapest we could see the Parliament and had time to explore the city. Beyond the cultural program of the Kolping Youth Week participants learned better thoughts and works of Adolph Kolping, especially his thinking about professional work. During the workshop we could expand our knowledge of the recruitment process to work and conducting job interview.

Despite the fact that there were a lot of activities we had time to play also. Participants prepared short presentations on the European countries, furthermore we could taste typical dishes for these countries. Dancing, laughter and fun ... without borders and language barriers!

That week I have gained a lot of great experiences, I found many new friends and just have fun. Maybe next time you'll take part in the Kolping Youth Week?

Theresa Hartmann

Project was supported by Renovabis Foundation and „Youth in Action” Programme.

08.05.2014: European Parliament: exciting, committed and versatile – visit to Brussels


Loud discussions and serious negotiations in the European Parliament – this is nothing new – but it is surprising when young people from various Kolping associations are present at this place.





Kolping Oituz - Romania - Voluntary Action

Sunday, March 9, 2014, Kolping Youth Association from Oituz, Romania organized a voluntary action called "Market cake" to help 40 children from the local orphanage.

Volunteers of Kolping organized this action willing to practice feeling of solidarity with those children living in children's home "Maria Montini Lavezzari" .

We enrolled 50 local women who have prepared some cakes from their resources and these sweets were sold by Kolping volunteers in the court of the local Roman catholic church.

Monday, March 10, Kolping volunteers with some of the local women passed the money (200 euro) to this project.

Kolping Association promotes the members and their actions, solidarity, active involvement in the local community, training, volunteering service, spirituality and proposing forms of development of the community and our society.


Delia Sterpu, youth coordinator from Kolping Oituz, Romania


Letter of Solidarity to our friends in the Ukraine

Dear Kolping Friends in Ukraine,

all of us have been following strained the recent events in Ukraine, from where sorrowful news reached us. Everyone has the right to freedom of speech, and we believe that the situation will turn better according to the happenings at the beginning of this week.

Until the situation in your country turns right, the European Kolping Youth assures its support to our Ukrainian Kolping sisters, brothers and to the whole Ukrainian people by saying a prayer in each day.

We believe that the Ukrainian democracy will rise again after these hard months with the intercession of Adolph Kolping.

We wish you all the best, and we hope we will see each other soon.

Gellért Szabó
President of Kolping Youth Europe

Letter of Solidarity
Letter (ukrainian version)

Youth Goes ahead! Without unemployement.

The seminar for young people called “Youth goes ahead! Without unemployment.” took place in October 2013 in Cracow/Poland.

Twenty people from nine countries (Poland, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Albania, Austria and Ukraine) took part in this seminar. The main topic of the meeting was unemployment among young people and methods of its prevention. During the first day participants had opportunities to get to know each other better, using integration games. On the second day Piotr Prokopowicz PhD presented a lecture and cleared up how to prepare correctly a CV and what means motivation and efficiency at work. After the workshop participants prepared the cultural evening. Using national costumes, folk dances and  traditional food they showed the diversity of Europe.

On the third day participants had the opportunity to get acquainted with interesting youth initiatives and opportunities of  development. Trainer Urszula Marcinkowska from STRIM Association ( explained the rules of European Voluntary Service and presented many practical examples of voluntarism in Poland. In the afternoon young people presented activities and events in their countries.

On Sunday participants of the meeting took part in polish Holy Mass in Luborzyca/Cracow and read common prayer in various languages.

Members of Kolping Youth Europe could sightsee the most interesting places in Cracow and visit the Rynek Underground Museum. Young people had the opportunity to learn more about the history and culture of Poland.

This seminar was funded with support from Renovabis Foundation.