It would be almost impossible to maintain such a large facility as Helfštýn without the help of numerous volunteers, friends, and supporters of cultural monuments.
Thoroughly mowed lawns, raked leaves, neatly stacked wood – not only more-observant visitors will notice at first glance that Helfštýn is always tidy. However, it takes a lot of effort and time to keep the complex of over 21,000 square metres in perfect order. The castle administration does have a workforce in charge of keeping the premises tidy, but it is beyond the power of even the most active staff to ensure everything.
Since the 1980s, Helfštýn has welcomed hordes of volunteers, initially linked to the Brontosaurus Movement nature conservation group.
At present, groups of varied composition help the castle administration. They include official associations, such as the Scouts and some volunteer associations, but also people who know each other from work, school, or who became friends at Helfštýn. They devote their strength, free time, and skills to the castle almost every weekend during the regular tourist season. People of all ages take part in volunteer work. The desire to participate in a meaningful cause binds a diverse mix of personalities – tradespeople, entrepreneurs, students, lawyers, people of all educational and professional backgrounds.
By their active participation over the weekends, they help maintain the castle in a condition that few monuments in the Czech Republic can boast. At the beginning, the Brontos (as all volunteers are called here) participated in the largest building modifications of the castle’s architecture. Nowadays, they mainly look after tidiness, help run and organise major cultural events (including the international meeting of artistic blacksmiths – Hefaiston), maintain the greenery, fix minor defects… “The Brontos – help of all kinds”, as one could sum it up in a nutshell.
A place to meet, a space for self-fulfilment, an opportunity to strengthen old friendships and find new ones, the incredible atmosphere of a medieval castle, and an opportunity to participate in interesting cultural events. These are just a few of the things that make the Brontos keep coming to Helfštýn so much.
However, it must be emphasised that they devote their free time, work holidays, muscle, and litres of sweat to Helfštýn completely free of charge. The only contribution they receive from the Helfštýn registered association is a lunch.
This is quite rare in today’s consumer world. They deserve our gratitude, respect, and appreciation.
Gratefully, Jan Lauro, Helfštýn Castle Warden