Saturday, 20 July 2024

Summer Camp 2023

Summer Camp 2023 was held at The Chellington Centre in Bedford. It is a converted Church with plenty of space for games and times by the campfire. This time at Summer Camp we had 15 campers attend, ranging in ages from 10-17. It was the first in person Camp since COVID; only one camper had ever been to camp before. It felt like a new start and a chance to try some things slightly differently. We had an excellent team comprising Sr Alishbha Khan, Br James Woolford, Sr Rachel Hamilton, Br Louis Enright, Sr Libby Cooper, Sr Claire Maxwell, Sr Lol Wood, and Sr Joy Raynor as Safeguarding Lead.

As part of the PYCC decision to make Camp more affordable, we trialled cooking our own food, supervised by our chef Sr Claire. The young people, in their house groups, also helped to cook and wash up. Although it may have caused the leaders some more work, it was a really good way to chat more one on one with the campers whilst providing an opportunity for some to learn new skills. We noticed that some campers who originally said they wouldn't eat certain things were more open to trying them if they had cooked them. It meant several went home able to say that they had tried, for example, lentils and liked them! On our feedback form the food came back as a highlight for many. It is something we would look to do again next year if possible.

The days at camp were structured similarly to previous camps with breakfast followed by Bible Study, games, lunchtime, workshops, more games and then teatime. After teatime we would split into Juniors and Seniors for simmer down time ahead of bedtime for the Juniors. The Seniors would then spend a little more time playing Werewolf before their later bedtime.

summer camp 2023Alongside the usual outdoor games of rounders, splat etc, we had also devised a Taskmaster Challenge theme to the week, with Br Louis as our Taskmaster. For those who are not familiar with the show, it is based around a series of silly tasks, such as putting a teabag in a cup and gradually increasing the distance that you throw the teabag, until it becomes impossible. In the show, the Taskmaster gives out points, somewhat randomly, until there is a final champion. Br Louis was fairer than the Taskmaster in the tv show when giving points to the contestants! We did have a crowning champion with Br Hunter McCormick winning Taskmaster. At the end of camp, he received the Taskmaster Cup!

Our Workshops at camp this time included: a walk to a local nature reserve, Sea Shanty Workshop led by Br James, Tai Chi, Archery and Bhangra. The Sea Shanty workshop brought a lot of energy to the camp, and I would encourage anyone to give Sea Shanty singing a go after this workshop. Archery was loved by many, and we had some excellent Archers amongst our campers, including Sr Rachel who scored a bullseye. However, the biggest hit of camp was Bhangra dancing which took place on the final night. We had Kinder, a friend of Sr Claire, come and teach us the origins of Bhangra whilst also sharing some of his own personal faith journey. It was a fun evening, filled with laughter and joy as we each chose an outfit, tried out the moves and enjoyed the music.

At the end of camp alongside the Taskmaster Cup, we also gave out a Cup for Kindness and a Cup for Tidiest Camper. The Tidiest Camper Cup went to Sr Zyona Lewis and The Kindness Cup went to Harrison Dickinson. All who earnt a Cup this year more than earnt the award. We also gave chocolate bars out to the winning house group who had earnt the most points through their effort of cooking and cleaning plus doing extra jobs for the leaders. This year Rebecca House won! They also had an excellent chant to go with their house and, like all other house groups, had researched the history behind the figure of their house (Rebecca Protten). This house group was made up of: Sr Kaymen Elliot, Br Kieran Dickinson, Br Miles Steele, Sr Imogen Jocelyn, Sr Zyona Lewis and leaders Sr Alishbha Khan and Sr Lol Wood.

As a group of young people these campers were a genuine pleasure to be around. They put their energies and effort into being very present at camp and like all camps, at the end, it was hard to say goodbye to one another as new friendships had formed. We look forward to Camp 2024!

Sr Laura Wood

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