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2023: hospitalero shortage

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Time of past OR future Camino
Many, various, and continuing.
It was clear in 2022 that something was up... and now in 2023 it's come a cropper. There are thousands of trained hospitaleros out there, but this summer --with record numbers of pilgrims stretching the infrastructure to the limit -- there's a real shortage of volunteers stepping up to care for the pilgrims and the camino, in locations all over the map.
Volunteers' plans change. People get sick, or die, or change their minds, but apparently in greater numbers now than ever. Some locations will have to close their doors for two-week stretches if help does not arrive soon.
Don't wait.
If you are planning your third or fifth or 18th pilgrimage, (especially if you're one of those 40% who took the training course and never volunteered to serve) consider giving something back to the path that's given you so much. Contact the HosVol, FICS (which is me), or your favorite albergue and offer to lend a hand!
And if you're on the Way now, be extra kind to the people running your albergue.
 
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
I cannot speak for HosVOL, the federated group that oversees about 17 albergues and runs a (required) hospitalero training program. Anyone who's been a hospitalero in the past (even without Hosvol training) can volunteer. Contact them at Telf: (34) 941-245-674. Fax: (34) 941-247-571 hosvol@caminosantiago.org. They are actively recruiting for many positions.

FICS, the group I work with, likes to employ trained volunteers, but does not require training. We need people mostly in the Fall and Winter this year, in our year-round albergue in Najera. I had this season well staffed, but people are now dropping out (or making demands I cannot meet) and I am very short on folks to fill in the gaps. I especially need a Spanish-speaking veteran for the first half of July. Send me an IM here, or an email at rebrites (at) yahoo. com.

Other calls for help are going up from albergues all around the caminos, in an unprecedented way. Without volunteer hospitaleros, we will soon have no donativo or non-profit albergue network, and only the well-heeled will be able to make the pilgrimage. This traditional hospitality is what makes this Camino different from all other hiking trails. It's time for the repeat pilgrims to step up and help out.
 
This is for next year, but if anyone in Australia is thinking about volunteering as a hospitalero/a in 2024, hosvol run yearly courses in Sydney every January and elsewhere if there is demand. Here is the website address:


January is when HosVol start assigning volunteers to albergues.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
The thing that prevents some from attending the US courses ( at least for me) was two fold:

The requirement specified that the potential volunteer had to have stayed in 3 non private albergues on a previous Camino. I'm not even sure if I will be able to do so in my upcoming ( hopeful) Camino Primitivo).

Also, the minimum 2 week stay, plus travel time, is not something I can do every year.
 
Part of that requirement is to make sure you understand how these kind of albergues operate and to give an understanding of conditions. Frankly if you only stay in private rooms or private albergues you may not know what you are getting into from a management perspective.
 
It is a privilege to serve. If you are not willing to make the compromises then it may not be for you. We should not shortcut the process in order to fill slots.

It isn't for someone who thinks that they will work for 4 hours per day in exchange for a room on the Camino. It is a12+ an hour day, but so worthwhile...
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
:::chuckle::: I wasn't complaining, and as a former ER nurse, I get 12+ hour days.
I was pointing out some of the "barriers to entry" that might help other readers here understand why 'veterans' might not be * able* to volunteer, regardless of their desire.
 
The requirement specified that the potential volunteer had to have stayed in 3 non private albergues on a previous Camino.
That is specifically an American Pilgrims on the Camino association requirement, here in Australia it is desirable but not obligatory. HosVol itself simply requires hospitaleros to have completed a camino, but they still have to do the 2 day course. It is a common sense measure, as J Wilhaus points out, if you've never stayed in an albergue, how could you know what to expect?

I have heard that hosvol have been using a shorter rotation of 10 days, but that is only because of a shortage of hospis. As I said before, too late now to relieve the situation for 2023 but looking ahead to next year, there will be another huge demand in 2024 so if there are any of you out there who have thought you would like to give back, get in touch with your local association and do their course. You won't regret it.
 
Does anyone have information for how Canadian pilgrims can find training?
not in a position right now for that to happen (cut short my 'post camino in Spain and France' just yesterday to return home to end-of-life parent). However, I'd love to be "ready to go" for 2024, and I'm one of those who is not concerned about being posted in the off season.
We have a CCoP where I live but it does not provide training.
Any Canada-based hospitaleros out there who can help out those of us in Canada who would like to be ready to go back to serve?
 
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Does anyone have information for how Canadian pilgrims can find training?
not in a position right now for that to happen (cut short my 'post camino in Spain and France' just yesterday to return home to end-of-life parent). However, I'd love to be "ready to go" for 2024, and I'm one of those who is not concerned about being posted in the off season.
We have a CCoP where I live but it does not provide training.
Any Canada-based hospitaleros out there who can help out those of us in Canada who would like to be ready to go back to serve?
Canadian Company of Pilgrims runs hospitalero training courses at their chapter locations scattered throughout the country. Canadian hospitaleros are second to none! Just go to their website for details and youtube videos.
 
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Sorry if this is a silly question, but do volunteers need to speak Spanish? I'd love to do this in the future but my Spanish is basic at best despite my best efforts.
It’s an advantage, but not essential. A lot of hospitaleros don’t speak Spanish. Many pilgrims do not speak Spanish either. You would probably be given a partner who was a Spanish speaker or in a team in a larger albergue.
 
We have taken Spanish lessons for several years now, but when we first started we didn't really know any Spanish. You can manage without it in most albergues and there is Google translate which is how we communicate with people who speak languages other than English, German, or Spanish.
 
Canadian Company of Pilgrims runs hospitalero training courses at their chapter locations scattered throughout the country. Canadian hospitaleros are second to none! Just go to their website for details and youtube videos.
Thanks... I guess I will have to wait for next year... They did an April training in Ontario from the looks of it... and unfortunately "throughout the country" hits nowhere particularly close to me. But perhaps I can figure out an arrangement for the 2024 round...
This is a "Canada problem" -- being massive geographically and very small in terms of population means that as a for example, I would have to spend several hundred dollars (or more, depending...) on travel and accommodation to get to a CCoP training site. I wish the CCoP would take up more remote delivery....
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
An online hospitaleros training course? Now there's a thought.
...assuming that the courses do not actually teach the manual tasks, but focus not he ethical and procedural... And I'd hazard that the price of admission for actually showing up is as much "filter" that one can rely on for people being willing to do the work on the ground in Spain...
So I don't know that there is anything to lose by doing it entirely remotely. I did read that a portion of a CCoP training was going to be done remotely last April, but I think it really could be done fully remotely...
 
I'd hazard that the price of admission for actually showing up is as much "filter"
There are costs (stationery, premises, communication etc) involved and these have to be covered so some fees have to be charged. The main reason there isn't an online course is that so far no one has had the time and inclination to do it.

Courses obviously include the ethical and procedural aspects but there are practical aspects as well and these have to be included as well.
 
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It was clear in 2022 that something was up... and now in 2023 it's come a cropper. There are thousands of trained hospitaleros out there, but this summer --with record numbers of pilgrims stretching the infrastructure to the limit -- there's a real shortage of volunteers stepping up to care for the pilgrims and the camino, in locations all over the map.
Volunteers' plans change. People get sick, or die, or change their minds, but apparently in greater numbers now than ever. Some locations will have to close their doors for two-week stretches if help does not arrive soon.
Don't wait.
If you are planning your third or fifth or 18th pilgrimage, (especially if you're one of those 40% who took the training course and never volunteered to serve) consider giving something back to the path that's given you so much. Contact the HosVol, FICS (which is me), or your favorite albergue and offer to lend a hand!
And if you're on the Way now, be extra kind to the people running your albergue.
I may be able to help out later. I’m not able to get to Spain in July, but you are on my radar.
 
There is also a cammeradery involved with being together in person. Yes, we spent more than $1,000 with our training, airfare etc several years ago, but it also exhibits a committment. People who are willing to take time and money from their busy lives may be more likely to volunteer after the training. Afterall, you will need to spend your own time and money to travel to Spain and take care of pilgrims for 2 weeks. You are paying for the privilege to clean bathrooms, look for bedbugs, among some of the less glamorous task. In the US trainers are not paid and the cost is for materials and the facility where the training is conducted. I gladly spend my time and money for the opportunity to serve. The training does help you understand what you are getting yourself in for.
 
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
This is something I have thought about, however I don't think I have the right temperament for the task. Most of the hospis I have seen have been great people and have a talent for dealing with the pilgrims and ensuring things run smoothly. While I believe I could run the administrative side of things, when dealing with groups of people my military background tends to come to the fore and I have been told that this is somewhat off putting to others.

I hope that the issue can be resolved, the volunteers have my respect and admiration!
 
I’m signed up for the hospitalera course being offered in London (Canada) at the end of June. Check with the CCoP to see if there are still spots available. I’m hoping to be able to volunteer in Sept/Oct of this year. 😀
 
Does anyone have information for how Canadian pilgrims can find training?
not in a position right now for that to happen (cut short my 'post camino in Spain and France' just yesterday to return home to end-of-life parent). However, I'd love to be "ready to go" for 2024, and I'm one of those who is not concerned about being posted in the off season.
We have a CCoP where I live but it does not provide training.
Any Canada-based hospitaleros out there who can help out those of us in Canada who would like to be ready to go back to serve?
That is not true. THE Canadian Company of Pilgrim has training in different places throughout Canada. Please access their website www.santiago.ca and look for the hospitalero training.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
I am planning a camino francés in October, I could shorten it and walk a week, work a week and repeat. However, I would not have time to do an onsite training before then. Would I be disqualified from helping out? I am a B1 in Spanish.
 
That is specifically an American Pilgrims on the Camino association requirement, here in Australia it is desirable but not obligatory. HosVol itself simply requires hospitaleros to have completed a camino, but they still have to do the 2 day course. It is a common sense measure, as J Wilhaus points out, if you've never stayed in an albergue, how could you know what to expect?

I have heard that hosvol have been using a shorter rotation of 10 days, but that is only because of a shortage of hospis. As I said before, too late now to relieve the situation for 2023 but looking ahead to next year, there will be another huge demand in 2024 so if there are any of you out there who have thought you would like to give back, get in touch with your local association and do their course. You won't regret it.
I understood that the 10 day rotation was only for Ponferrada.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
It was clear in 2022 that something was up... and now in 2023 it's come a cropper. There are thousands of trained hospitaleros out there, but this summer --with record numbers of pilgrims stretching the infrastructure to the limit -- there's a real shortage of volunteers stepping up to care for the pilgrims and the camino, in locations all over the map.
Volunteers' plans change. People get sick, or die, or change their minds, but apparently in greater numbers now than ever. Some locations will have to close their doors for two-week stretches if help does not arrive soon.
Don't wait.
If you are planning your third or fifth or 18th pilgrimage, (especially if you're one of those 40% who took the training course and never volunteered to serve) consider giving something back to the path that's given you so much. Contact the HosVol, FICS (which is me), or your favorite albergue and offer to lend a hand!
And if you're on the Way now, be extra kind to the people running your albergue.
Hello
I would like very much to participate.
Please let me know what I need to do to become a hospitalero.
I am presently in USA.
Thank you much.
I speak Portuguese and a bit of Spanish enough to communicate.
Studying daily.
Elizabeth
 
Does anyone have information for how Canadian pilgrims can find training?
not in a position right now for that to happen (cut short my 'post camino in Spain and France' just yesterday to return home to end-of-life parent). However, I'd love to be "ready to go" for 2024, and I'm one of those who is not concerned about being posted in the off season.
We have a CCoP where I live but it does not provide training.
Any Canada-based hospitaleros out there who can help out those of us in Canada who would like to be ready to go back to serve?
Canadian company of Pilgriks uas
Does anyone have information for how Canadian pilgrims can find training?
not in a position right now for that to happen (cut short my 'post camino in Spain and France' just yesterday to return home to end-of-life parent). However, I'd love to be "ready to go" for 2024, and I'm one of those who is not concerned about being posted in the off season.
We have a CCoP where I live but it does not provide training.
Any Canada-based hospitaleros out there who can help out those of us in Canada who would like to be ready to go back to serve?
Google Canadianhospitaleros@blogspot.com. If you go to the CCOP website after a bit of scrolling through all their links you will see a link Canadian Hospitaleros. It has contact info for Mary Virtue (Praisenr of CCOP I think) and Tom Friesen one of the trainers. They were offering training this year. Another source is Caminovictoria.com.
 
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I'm on the Camino a fair bit and, being retired, I have lots of free time.

I'm not willing to do a hospitalero training course because I've done enough Caminos to know pretty much what's required, practically and otherwise. Any albergue that might be interested is welcome to get in touch with me, especially if the alternative is closure. Short notice is fine.

I strongly agree with Rebekah Scott that closure of the donativo hostels makes it very difficult for less well-heeled pilgrims, especially the young, to walk the Way. Donations are also the very heart of the Camino and they have a great impact, and influence, on all who stay in them. The closure of a donativo is a backward step.

Having benefited so much from these wonderful places over the years I'd be grateful for the opportunity to give something back, so if anyone is interested (or stuck because someone pulled out at the last minute) they are welcome to get in touch.
 
Thanks... I guess I will have to wait for next year... They did an April training in Ontario from the looks of it... and unfortunately "throughout the country" hits nowhere particularly close to me. But perhaps I can figure out an arrangement for the 2024 round...
This is a "Canada problem" -- being massive geographically and very small in terms of population means that as a for example, I would have to spend several hundred dollars (or more, depending...) on travel and accommodation to get to a CCoP training site. I wish the CCoP would take up more remote delivery....
I had heard of a gal in the Montreal area that decided she did not want to travel to Toronto for the training and got a few interested individuals together and the Canadian Chapter sent an individual to her town to teach them. Worth a try!
 
Thanks... I guess I will have to wait for next year... They did an April training in Ontario from the looks of it... and unfortunately "throughout the country" hits nowhere particularly close to me. But perhaps I can figure out an arrangement for the 2024 round...
This is a "Canada problem" -- being massive geographically and very small in terms of population means that as a for example, I would have to spend several hundred dollars (or more, depending...) on travel and accommodation to get to a CCoP training site. I wish the CCoP would take up more remote delivery....
FYI.. If you pursue the training programs ask about staying with a local attendee. When I took the program several locals took in out of towners (room and basic meals provided) in true Camino fashion. So those costs may not lbe a barrier.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
We are currently in canfranc pueblo at Elias Valina donativo after having gone through the training in March 2020 in California. It was worth the wait! There is something about opening the door to tired, wet pilgrims (“sorry I smell so bad,” apologized a pilgrim today), and welcoming them to a warm bed and a beautiful space. My friend and I trained together and are now here together finding the rhythm of the albergue life and becoming a part of this very small community. It is rewarding and fulfilling, and there’s hard work involved as well. Don’t hesitate to volunteer if the occasion presents itself. English is good, Spanish helpful and a few key phrases in French and German help. We received excellent on site training by the previous hospitalera as we overlapped for a day.
 
This is for next year, but if anyone in Australia is thinking about volunteering as a hospitalero/a in 2024, hosvol run yearly courses in Sydney every January and elsewhere if there is demand. Here is the website address:


January is when HosVol start assigning volunteers to albergues.
Thanks for this. Will have a look.
 
It was clear in 2022 that something was up... and now in 2023 it's come a cropper. There are thousands of trained hospitaleros out there, but this summer --with record numbers of pilgrims stretching the infrastructure to the limit -- there's a real shortage of volunteers stepping up to care for the pilgrims and the camino, in locations all over the map.
Volunteers' plans change. People get sick, or die, or change their minds, but apparently in greater numbers now than ever. Some locations will have to close their doors for two-week stretches if help does not arrive soon.
Don't wait.
If you are planning your third or fifth or 18th pilgrimage, (especially if you're one of those 40% who took the training course and never volunteered to serve) consider giving something back to the path that's given you so much. Contact the HosVol, FICS (which is me), or your favorite albergue and offer to lend a hand!
And if you're on the Way now, be extra kind to the people running your albergue.
Hi Rebekah, I was trained this past February in Point Reyes CA, really enjoyed it. Am volunteering at a Portuguese albergue in August, and may also consider one for August on the Frances. Can you tell me where help is needed most then? Thank you!
 
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There are costs (stationery, premises, communication etc) involved and these have to be covered so some fees have to be charged. The main reason there isn't an online course is that so far no one has had the time and inclination to do it.

Courses obviously include the ethical and procedural aspects but there are practical aspects as well and these have to be included as well.
I think fundamentally we are singing to the same choir: people do not invest considerable sums and effort without having a high probability of showing up. I was thinking of the cost of airfare and on-the-ground to be a hopitalero on a camino more particularly than the cost of getting to a training site is all...
 
That is not true. THE Canadian Company of Pilgrim has training in different places throughout Canada. Please access their website www.santiago.ca and look for the hospitalero training.
"Across Canada" --- but if you live in Montreal, according to CCoP reply to a particular query then best option is to travel to Ontario (Toronto or London)... and that is just the reply to one query. "Across Canada" is, as you know, a term we use very, very liberally here without it meaning that those things peppered here and there are anywhere near to a particular person. It's not a criticism -- just a reality, and for me, it certainly requires travel that I cannot manage for the foreseeable as I reside nowhere near to a place that training is being offered this year (as far as I can tell).
Regardless, while I occupy the metaphorical woods with my parent in the end-stages of life, I won't be looking to do any training until 2024... hopefully somewhere nearer to where I live, perhaps a commutable distance instead of one requiring train or plane plus hotel etc.
 
An online hospitaleros training course? Now there's a thought.
I wrote one ten or more years ago, back when I was a Federation hospitalero trainer. Ivar had it all rigged up to go "live," but the Federation shot it down. It's gotta be face-to-face.
That may have changed, now that we have Zoom.
And FICS still does on-the-job training for people who cannot make it to a national training session.
 
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Where can you get training in Great Britiain, specifically in Scotland?
the Confraternity of St. James (CSJ) in Blackfriars, London, sponsors training sessions in places up and down UK. Not sure about Scotland, but you can look them up and they'll tell you. In my experience, their training is focused on the two albergues they run... but it qualifies you to serve anywhere on the donativo network.
 
I cannot speak for HosVOL, the federated group that oversees about 17 albergues and runs a (required) hospitalero training program. Anyone who's been a hospitalero in the past (even without Hosvol training) can volunteer. Contact them at Telf: (34) 941-245-674. Fax: (34) 941-247-571 hosvol@caminosantiago.org. They are actively recruiting for many positions.

FICS, the group I work with, likes to employ trained volunteers, but does not require training. We need people mostly in the Fall and Winter this year, in our year-round albergue in Najera. I had this season well staffed, but people are now dropping out (or making demands I cannot meet) and I am very short on folks to fill in the gaps. I especially need a Spanish-speaking veteran for the first half of July. Send me an IM here, or an email at rebrites (at) yahoo. com.

Other calls for help are going up from albergues all around the caminos, in an unprecedented way. Without volunteer hospitaleros, we will soon have no donativo or non-profit albergue network, and only the well-heeled will be able to make the pilgrimage. This traditional hospitality is what makes this Camino different from all other hiking trails. It's time for the repeat pilgrims to step up and help out.
Is it possible to link an untrained couple with and experienced hospitalera? Looking more to late fall. I've walked the Frances and repeated a bit again, will have walked the Portuguese by then. Have English, French and a smattering of Spanish and happy to work hard. My husband hasn't walked but would be happy to help. We live in France, so could drive down. Would this work without training? (I've run youth camps in the past, so used to organising)
 
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It was clear in 2022 that something was up... and now in 2023 it's come a cropper. There are thousands of trained hospitaleros out there, but this summer --with record numbers of pilgrims stretching the infrastructure to the limit -- there's a real shortage of volunteers stepping up to care for the pilgrims and the camino, in locations all over the map.
Volunteers' plans change. People get sick, or die, or change their minds, but apparently in greater numbers now than ever. Some locations will have to close their doors for two-week stretches if help does not arrive soon.
Don't wait.
If you are planning your third or fifth or 18th pilgrimage, (especially if you're one of those 40% who took the training course and never volunteered to serve) consider giving something back to the path that's given you so much. Contact the HosVol, FICS (which is me), or your favorite albergue and offer to lend a hand!
And if you're on the Way now, be extra kind to the people running your albergue.
We felt fortunate that the review process was early and we jumped on an opportunity before ticket prices doubled. If we were paying current fares, our plans would have been put off. Hospitalero‘s of the world your time in Spain will be worth more than your education, because it introduces you to the world. Say hi to Pam and Maria in Ribadiso mid September. I will be sauntering again.
 
the Confraternity of St. James (CSJ) in Blackfriars, London, sponsors training sessions in places up and down UK. Not sure about Scotland, but you can look them up and they'll tell you. In my experience, their training is focused on the two albergues they run... but it qualifies you to serve anywhere on the donativo network.
Do the CSJ sponsored courses qualify you to work in a HosVol run albergue?
 
Is it possible to link an untrained couple with and experienced hospitalera? Looking more to late fall. I've walked the Frances and repeated a bit again, will have walked the Portuguese by then. Have English, French and a smattering of Spanish and happy to work hard. My husband hasn't walked but would be happy to help. We live in France, so could drive down. Would this work without training? (I've run youth camps in the past, so used to organising)
Write to hosvol, or pm Rebekah. With hosvol, I was paired with an experienced couple my first time, but I did not need to take a bed in the albergue so it didn't cause a problem. I was literally next door, so that was just the same in practical terms - I was as much on duty as the couple was. I also stepped in for a couple of days a few years ago to fill a gap, but again did not need to take up an albergue bed, I went to a private albergue for those days. I would imagine your offer would be seen positively. It is so worth it!
 
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Agree that if you want to volunteer, you must take the first next steps. Responding here to a forum threat is nice, but take action to contact the organizations directly for the best results. Rebekah has provided her contact info and the contact info of HosVol and Astorga. If you are in the US, you will get all the contact info at your hospitaleros training course for these opportunities and others.
 
Mopping floors and cleaning toilets doesn't require Spanish. 🙃
That is a very simple description of being a hospitalero and in fact quite offensive ... The cleaning work is done in the morning, when the pilgrims have left the building so nobody is there except you and your colleague(s).
But in the afternoon: welcoming pilgrims, checking them in, helping them, answering their 1.000 questions ... a basic knowledge of some foreign languages - not only Spanish - is very helpful.
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
offensive
You missed the 🙃
I am very well aware of the work involved and have boundless respect for anyone who does this.
(Edited to add that what I was not saying in the service of making a lame joke was if you can't speak Spanish, there is no shortage of work and many ways to contribute as a hospi.)
 
"Across Canada" --- but if you live in Montreal, according to CCoP reply to a particular query then best option is to travel to Ontario (Toronto or London)... and that is just the reply to one query. "Across Canada" is, as you know, a term we use very, very liberally here without it meaning that those things peppered here and there are anywhere near to a particular person. It's not a criticism -- just a reality, and for me, it certainly requires travel that I cannot manage for the foreseeable as I reside nowhere near to a place that training is being offered this year (as far as I can tell).
Regardless, while I occupy the metaphorical woods with my parent in the end-stages of life, I won't be looking to do any training until 2024... hopefully somewhere nearer to where I live, perhaps a commutable distance instead of one requiring train or plane plus hotel etc.
The province of Quebec has a Camino association that might provide training although I would expect it to be provided in French

 
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

€46,-
The province of Quebec has a Camino association that might provide training although I would expect it to be provided in French

Taking a prep series in French would be fine by me. I'm sort of in a geographic location in which "it will cost the same for me to go to London, Toronto, or Montreal". Victoria is out of the question... I think there's something in Calgary... but anyone in Canada who lives in a semi-urban or rural area is going to encounter significant travel and accommodation costs to get to one of the "all across Canada" locations. It's just how it is here.

I'm going to look into the ACC for Santiago spring/summer 2024. They are active in the greetings and supports at the Pilgrim Office in SdC and it seems that they always need volunteers, but not, perhaps hospitaleros. That's fine for me... there are many ways to serve...
 
It was clear in 2022 that something was up... and now in 2023 it's come a cropper. There are thousands of trained hospitaleros out there, but this summer --with record numbers of pilgrims stretching the infrastructure to the limit -- there's a real shortage of volunteers stepping up to care for the pilgrims and the camino, in locations all over the map.
Volunteers' plans change. People get sick, or die, or change their minds, but apparently in greater numbers now than ever. Some locations will have to close their doors for two-week stretches if help does not arrive soon.
Don't wait.
If you are planning your third or fifth or 18th pilgrimage, (especially if you're one of those 40% who took the training course and never volunteered to serve) consider giving something back to the path that's given you so much. Contact the HosVol, FICS (which is me), or your favorite albergue and offer to lend a hand!
And if you're on the Way now, be extra kind to the people running your albergue.
How does one take the course to volunteer?
 
How does one take the course to volunteer?
Check with your national Camino Amigos group. Most big English-speaking camino-fan countries offer a training program four or five times a year. (American Pilgrims on the Camino, Canadian Company of Pilgrims, Confraternity of St. James UK, South Africa, Australia...) You also can take one in Spain, from Hospitaleros Voluntarios (HosVol), if you speak Spanish. Do an online search.
 
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

€46,-
Thanks... I guess I will have to wait for next year... They did an April training in Ontario from the looks of it... and unfortunately "throughout the country" hits nowhere particularly close to me. But perhaps I can figure out an arrangement for the 2024 round...
This is a "Canada problem" -- being massive geographically and very small in terms of population means that as a for example, I would have to spend several hundred dollars (or more, depending...) on travel and accommodation to get to a CCoP training site. I wish the CCoP would take up more remote delivery....
I believe there may be another in Ottawa in the fall. At least, that's what I was hearing from the fellow that runs them. I'm planning on attending that one.
 
Check with your national Camino Amigos group. Most big English-speaking camino-fan countries offer a training program four or five times a year. (American Pilgrims on the Camino, Canadian Company of Pilgrims, Confraternity of St. James UK, South Africa, Australia...) You also can take one in Spain, from Hospitaleros Voluntarios (HosVol), if you speak Spanish. Do an online search.
Okay..thank you kindly I will do that..
 
Thanks... I guess I will have to wait for next year... They did an April training in Ontario from the looks of it... and unfortunately "throughout the country" hits nowhere particularly close to me. But perhaps I can figure out an arrangement for the 2024 round...
This is a "Canada problem" -- being massive geographically and very small in terms of population means that as a for example, I would have to spend several hundred dollars (or more, depending...) on travel and accommodation to get to a CCoP training site. I wish the CCoP would take up more remote delivery....
There is also training in London, ON June 23-25. (I had put that one out of my mind because I'll be in Spain then.)

 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
I cannot speak for HosVOL, the federated group that oversees about 17 albergues and runs a (required) hospitalero training program. Anyone who's been a hospitalero in the past (even without Hosvol training) can volunteer. Contact them at Telf: (34) 941-245-674. Fax: (34) 941-247-571 hosvol@caminosantiago.org. They are actively recruiting for many positions.

FICS, the group I work with, likes to employ trained volunteers, but does not require training. We need people mostly in the Fall and Winter this year, in our year-round albergue in Najera. I had this season well staffed, but people are now dropping out (or making demands I cannot meet) and I am very short on folks to fill in the gaps. I especially need a Spanish-speaking veteran for the first half of July. Send me an IM here, or an email at rebrites (at) yahoo. com.

Other calls for help are going up from albergues all around the caminos, in an unprecedented way. Without volunteer hospitaleros, we will soon have no donativo or non-profit albergue network, and only the well-heeled will be able to make the pilgrimage. This traditional hospitality is what makes this Camino different from all other hiking trails. It's time for the repeat pilgrims to step up and help out.
I'm finishing my Camino Frances this Fall (been on it for 10 days x 2) and hope to do the course in Canada this coming winter. So, not able to help out this year, but definitely want to next year.
 
I will look into that one… if it does not collide with other scheduling, that could be my best bet.
I don't think it has been scheduled yet. I will try and remember to update this when I find out more information. Or you can look into it by contacting Tom Friesen who will be leading it. (Contact info on the page I linked to above for the Canadian Hospitaleros.
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
Perhaps two dumb questions but I feel I must ask. #1. I am not Catholic or religious for that matter, is this fact an immediate disqualification? #2. My hubby and I would love to do this however we are both 72 years young. Does age make a difference?
We can mop floors, scrub toilets and I speak fluent spanish, a little portuguese and french. Would I/we qualify for the training!
 
It was clear in 2022 that something was up... and now in 2023 it's come a cropper. There are thousands of trained hospitaleros out there, but this summer --with record numbers of pilgrims stretching the infrastructure to the limit -- there's a real shortage of volunteers stepping up to care for the pilgrims and the camino, in locations all over the map.
Spreading the word, Rebekah! Abrazos. Davíd y Colleen.
 
Perhaps two dumb questions but I feel I must ask. #1. I am not Catholic or religious for that matter, is this fact an immediate disqualification? #2. My hubby and I would love to do this however we are both 72 years young. Does age make a difference?
We can mop floors, scrub toilets and I speak fluent spanish, a little portuguese and french. Would I/we qualify for the training!
No. You don't have to be Catholic or religious. At some albergues there may be Mass or a meditation service. You can request not to be placed at one of those sites. We are not Catholic, but enjoy those sites anyway. We are 61 and 72. There are a lot of retirees who are hospitaleros.
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
Perhaps two dumb questions but I feel I must ask. #1. I am not Catholic or religious for that matter, is this fact an immediate disqualification? #2. My hubby and I would love to do this however we are both 72 years young. Does age make a difference?
We can mop floors, scrub toilets and I speak fluent spanish, a little portuguese and french. Would I/we qualify for the training!
Neither age nor creed is a barrier to serving as a hospi. You qualify big time.
 
Perhaps two dumb questions but I feel I must ask. #1. I am not Catholic or religious for that matter, is this fact an immediate disqualification? #2. My hubby and I would love to do this however we are both 72 years young. Does age make a difference?
We can mop floors, scrub toilets and I speak fluent spanish, a little portuguese and french. Would I/we qualify for the training!
Re #1: I have never heard of religion as a requirement to be a hospitalero. I'm pretty sure I know some who are not Catholic.

Re #2: I know hospitaleros who are older than you. :)

I expect you would qualify for the training.
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
Does anyone have information for how Canadian pilgrims can find training?
not in a position right now for that to happen (cut short my 'post camino in Spain and France' just yesterday to return home to end-of-life parent). However, I'd love to be "ready to go" for 2024, and I'm one of those who is not concerned about being posted in the off season.
We have a CCoP where I live but it does not provide training.
Any Canada-based hospitaleros out there who can help out those of us in Canada who would like to be ready to go back to serve?
Same question. I am ready to go on my second Camino. I think it would be amazing to stop and help for a few weeks in the middle.
 
I would, but don't speak Spanish, so I guess that kind of rules that out. I read somewhere you need to be fluent to apply, I think on the CSJ website. I will never be fluent and probably never be much beyond the basics. But this year is a bust anyway. Maybe when i'm older and wiser (or just older).

If it didn't boil down to speaking Spanish, I can clean toilets and do general caretaker level stuff as well as the next person.
 
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
Just returned to Canada after spending time in Spain. While had plans to do two volunteer sessions, one at Ponferrada and one at Villadangoes I ended up spending an additional two weeks at the albergue in Astorga. and this may have been my favourite Camino of the 5 I’ve been lucky enough to do. Being a hospitalero is hard work, but so rewarding…if you have the chance - do it. You’ll meet pilgrims from all over the world, and being in an albergue for two weeks lets you have a chance to see more of the life in the towns you are in. And while being able to speak some Spanish is an asset … don’t be put off if you don’t. I speak no Spanish (my teacher in my last class said “you have no affinity for language“). But was able to manage well, even when I was on my own in one albergue. Every albergue is different, but the spirit is the same …
 
I would, but don't speak Spanish, so I guess that kind of rules that out. I read somewhere you need to be fluent to apply, I think on the CSJ website. I will never be fluent and probably never be much beyond the basics. But this year is a bust anyway. Maybe when i'm older and wiser (or just older).

If it didn't boil down to speaking Spanish, I can clean toilets and do general caretaker level stuff as well as the next person.
I speak no Spanish, even after taking classes here in Canada, but have been a hospitalero at 5 different albergues … when all else fails, google translate! But a smile makes up for a lot, and I’m in awe of all the pilgrims that speak English
 
2 courses just offered in the US in April. Difficult as we are catching up from the Covid years. It used to be so competitive to get an albergue for veterans. Hope some will come back!
How do I find out about signing up for training in the U.S.? Obvs it would have to be for next year. I walked the Camino from SJDP ten years ago and have my passport to prove I stayed in albergues.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Here is the next training. American Pilgrims on the Camino sponsors several training each year. More likely to be scheduled. The training teams are also volunteers and try to have trainings in different parts of the US.
 
From reading through the Canadian site, it seems HosVol are more open to people volunteering than CSJ. There is no explicit need to be fluent in Spanish to volunteer, where as CSJ seem to make it an absolute.

I think if I end up doing this, I will have to go to a hostel early to get the training. I can't seem to find anyone besides CSJ that do it in the UK.

It won't be until next year. This year is fully booked for me

Does anyone know what the best way to contact HosVol would be, as someone who is in the UK, but doesn't want to go through the CSJ for training (nor can)?

As to staying in donativo albergues, the only one from their network I think I've stayed at is Astorga, back in 2017, but do have a cheeky stamp from Ponferrada in the same year, although i didn't stay there in the end (bugged out to the Invierno). I mostly use municipals.
 
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

€46,-
We are relieving the HosVol coordinator on 31 May. He currently serving in person at Arres.

Here is link with the contact info. Manuel is the coordinator and his email is listed the hospitalero pages. He has been asking that country coordinstors contact him and not new hospitaleros directly. Be patient if you don't hear right away as this is a busy time for him.
 
I think if I end up doing this, I will have to go to a hostel early to get the training. I can't seem to find anyone besides CSJ that do it in the UK.
You will probably need to go to Spain to do the 2 day course if you want to volunteer for HosVol. They do not train 'on the job' - that is not their policy to the best of my knowledge. CSJ training, I believe, is specific to their albergues but if they allow you to do their course, Hosvol may accept you as a volunteer but you'd have to ask them directly. J Wilhaus's thread above has the link. As Rebekah has mentioned, FICS do train volunteers in house, so that might be your best option.
 
I'll contact CSJ and see if it's definitely a no go with them. If so I will look into other possibilities.

Thanks to everyone for the help.
 
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So what we know so far...
~There is a shortage of volunteer help now and 2024 is expected to be the same.
~This thread contains a lot of Great Q&A as well as links on how to volunteer.
~New members seem more inclined to ask again rather than search or even read the entire thread they are in. Even veteran members on this site have had difficulty locating info in old strings.
~Keeping these places open is in everyone's best interest.

Is this perhaps a good time for someone in the know to create a "Resource" with all of this Great Info to help Rebecca for 2024?
 
The thing that prevents some from attending the US courses ( at least for me) was two fold:

The requirement specified that the potential volunteer had to have stayed in 3 non private albergues on a previous Camino. I'm not even sure if I will be able to do so in my upcoming ( hopeful) Camino Primitivo).

Also, the minimum 2 week stay, plus travel time, is not something I can do every year.
I received the invite for the September training in Michigan and the requirement for albergue stays seems to be lowered to 1. Check the American Pilgrims website.
 
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
Yes, it has been lowered to one, and I sent them an email that complimented them on that decision. It's still not anything I can do until I ( hopefully) complete the Primitivo this September ( God willing). But we'll see about next year.

I didn't join this forum until well after our first Camino...


I received the invite for the September training in Michigan and the requirement for albergue stays seems to be lowered to 1. Check the American Pilgrims website
 
Can someone direct me to a list of the HosVol albergues?
We just let them know when we are available and go where the coordinator feels the need is greatest. There is no "list" on the website, but if you look at their newsletters posted on the website there is a list of sorts in a recent one, where hospitalero statistics were reported.
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
There is no definitive list. I think at the moment they organise placements for about 17 donativo albergues. Mainly on Camino Frances, but a few on other caminos. As mentioned above, once you are trained, you just provide the 2 week periods that you are available ( 1st fortnight or 2nd fortnight of the month) and they will allocate you where you are needed.
 
I'll contact CSJ and see if it's definitely a no go with them. If so I will look into other possibilities.

Thanks to everyone for the help.
Can you please post their reply on here when you get it. I am also interested for next year but not fluent in Spainish
 
There is no definitive list. I think at the moment they organise placements for about 17 donativo albergues. Mainly on Camino Frances, but a few on other caminos. As mentioned above, once you are trained, you just provide the 2 week periods that you are available ( 1st fortnight or 2nd fortnight of the month) and they will allocate you where you are needed.
I have done three shifts of voluntering for FICS, my fourth is coming up in July. But I don't think I'm nice enough to let HosVol send me anywhere they want...
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
I have done three shifts of voluntering for FICS, my fourth is coming up in July. But I don't think I'm nice enough to let HosVol send me anywhere they want...
Would you explain what you mean? Or is it too complicated? About your comment that you are not nice enough...I doubt that!
 
You can opt in/out for albergues that have communal dinner and religious services so there is some choice. Also it’s part of the fun not knowing where you’re going 🤣
 
the Confraternity of St. James (CSJ) in Blackfriars, London, sponsors training sessions in places up and down UK. Not sure about Scotland, but you can look them up and they'll tell you. In my experience, their training is focused on the two albergues they run... but it qualifies you to serve anywhere on the donativo network.
I’m a new CSJ hospitalero. The training this year was online via Zoom or equivalent.
 
New Original Camino Gear Designed Especially with The Modern Peregrino In Mind!
Would you explain what you mean? Or is it too complicated? About your comment that you are not nice enough...I doubt that!
There are places I stayed one night as a pilgrim where I would not want to spend two weeks as hospitalera. There are many, many places I'd love to serve, but not just anywhere. That's why I'd like a list. Next summer, we'd gladly offer two weeks between July 1st and August 15th, in albergue A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J or K, but NOT L or M...
 
After a frank conversation with the volunteers at Rabanal a few weeks back i will be submitting my application in the next week or so. I still feel drawn to it and have the time to spare. I probably won't go on Camino for a couple of years after this one. I am kind of partied out on the walking bit for now.

There are places I stayed one night as a pilgrim where I would not want to spend two weeks as hospitalera. There are many, many places I'd love to serve, but not just anywhere. That's why I'd like a list. Next summer, we'd gladly offer two weeks between July 1st and August 15th, in albergue A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J or K, but NOT L or M...
I can see where you are coming from in relation to this. I stayed at many good places when I walked, but some places weren't so good and a couple were the worst places I've ever stayed. Coming from CSJ I think I would be spoilt as the Rabanal refugio is pretty nice and I expect the one on the Norte is too. But a handful of the ones I stayed at would be challenging to work at, no names mentioned. Though the volunteers at them did their best in difficult circumstances.
 
There are places I stayed one night as a pilgrim where I would not want to spend two weeks as hospitalera. There are many, many places I'd love to serve, but not just anywhere. That's why I'd like a list. Next summer, we'd gladly offer two weeks between July 1st and August 15th, in albergue A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J or K, but NOT L or M...
We always have a choice given to not serve at the offered albergue. As an example, we loved Arres this year. But it was very costly for us to rent a car this year to get groceries at this more remote location. We probably would not accept the invitation to serve there after I retire and we have a more modest income. There was an option for grocery delivery, but we opted for the more convenient but expensive rental car.
 
...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
the Confraternity of St. James (CSJ) in Blackfriars, London, sponsors training sessions in places up and down UK. Not sure about Scotland, but you can look them up and they'll tell you. In my experience, their training is focused on the two albergues they run... but it qualifies you to serve anywhere on the donativo network.
My experience of this was that the course was online. I loved playing my part as hospitalera in the CSJ albergue in Rabanal this year.
 
My experience of this was that the course was online. I loved playing my part as hospitalera in the CSJ albergue in Rabanal this year.
Hi Catharine, can you tell me roughly some of the topics that an online course covers please? What about offering meals? Are there specific courses, how does buying ingredients work? Is that dependent on the hospitaleros?
 
yes, it does. It qualifies you to serve anywhere. But you will find HosVol albergues a bit different from the CSJ ones!
Hi Rebekah
I am interested in training but can you give a rough guide about how the albergues are run differently between the two organisations, please?
 
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

€46,-
Hi Sue. Clearly, I am not Rebekah!
Before posting the extract about hospitalero shortages yesterday ( a moderator moved my post and made a new thread of it), I checked to see if it was ok to post in the forum. Here is the answer, and you may well find the answer to your question...

Hola
Puedes publicar los boletines donde quieras.
Te indico que en la web de la federación www.caminosantiago.org están todos publicados, desde el año 1995.
Un saludo.
 

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