Adventures in Faith and Fun at D&G Diocesan Kids’ Camp
By the Revd Abigail Sines
The Diocesan Kids’ Camp took place 2–6 July at the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation in Co. Wicklow for children finishing 4th class to 6th class. This was our second year at Glencree, a peaceful and quiet setting with stunning views of the Sugarloaf. We were blessed with brilliant weather for the week and despite road closures around Enniskerry and gorse fires in the surrounding hills, the week came together without too many harrowing adventures!
We were delighted to have a good, early response to the camp this year and at the week of the booking deadline we were full up with 24 campers registered. Campers came from parishes across the diocese and included kids from Greystones, Castleknock, Clontarf, Rathmines, Rathfarnam, Donard, and St Catherine’s, Thomas St.
‘Adventure: Faith!’ was our theme this year and we kicked off our discussion thinking about superheroes (we couldn’t avoid the Avengers!) and the superpowers that make a superhero. We looked at faith as the foundation of the Christian life, the engine that powers our words and actions, and the anchor that holds us firm in the midst of challenge, hurt or loss. Each day included a main meeting focusing on a different biblical text and an evening small group time to allow for reflection on the day and prayer. The campers ended each day with time to articulate what that they were thankful for or appreciated in the day.
Camp wouldn’t be complete without plenty of fun and our days were filled with games, challenges, relay races, a blindfolded obstacle course, a quiz, a movie night (The Incredibles of course!) outdoor pursuits at Clara Lara, and a campfire with an endless supply of marshmallows for toasting.
It was remarkable to see how, in creating the space for reflection, the campers were able to engage in serious conversations about their faith. Some children came to the camp already having delved into their faith deeply. Others expressed that camp had created a space for them to consider their personal faith more seriously than they had before. They were able to share and react to each other’s experiences. A session of creative prayer at the end of the week saw the children engaging profoundly: writing down their own prayers, re–reading the biblical texts of the week, and taking time in stillness and silence to reflect. It was encouraging to see the children participate with such seriousness. We pray that the seeds planted will flourish in years to come as these children become leaders in their schools and parishes.
As the saying goes, ‘it takes a village to run a summer camp’! The core leadership team comprised the Revd Abigail Sines (camp coordinator), Amy Deverell (camp administrator, taking up the mantle after many years of faithful service by Lynn Storey), Karl Tyrrell, Lionel Deverell, and junior leader Karen Mukasa. The Revd Ross Styles and the Revd Cathy Hallisey joined on different days to give a talk and take part in the games and general mayhem. The Revd Rebecca Guildea took part in the evenings for small group time; Kate Robbins was as an additional chaperone for the outing to Clara Lara; and Susie Keegan, diocesan youth development officer, led a special session on the last day of camp for the 6th class kids about the transition to secondary school. The camp would not have been possible without the contribution of every member of the team! We are grateful also to the Country Air Association for continuing to make a number of bursaries available for families who need assistance.