The Rhythms and Moments of Camp

Day 2 in sunny St. Ives and we are settled into our Camp rhythm. Squads and tents have bonded and everyone has got their bearings around the new site. Our week is composed of rhythms and moments…here is a little reflection on those that are special for me…and perhaps will resonate with you too.

The moment of arrival at Camp each year is a magical thing – we leave our family homes and ordinary lives, jump on a coach in a flurry of excitement and after a short (or rather long!) journey we are transported to another world. We quickly become immersed in life under canvas and embrace the shift to ‘Camp Time’. For me, once we are here, I almost can’t imagine being anywhere else. It’s as if I always spend my days in a field with 80 other people and it is easy to forget my ‘normal’ life at home. I wonder, where did the last year go? I am back here again, with my Camp Family and I can barely remember what happened in the intervening 51 weeks.

Each day of the week has an essence…a familiar rhythm that we easily fall into. Today, the Sunday-ness of Sunday has been defined by morning worship and an afternoon trip to the beach. A feeling of togetherness as we all take part in the same activities. Later in the week, the Tuesday-ness of Tuesday will mean us going in different directions for exciting days out. Juniors and Seniors on one adventure and 14+ on another. Little things evolve through the years – brilliant new additions to our rhythm, such as Warren’s popular quizzes and bingo games or Jenny’s memorable and hilarious hand washing song. But many activities echo through the years largely unchanged, such as Hunt the Officer, the Camp Concert and the 14+ BBQ.

And on a deeper level, each day is punctuated with small, but significant, moments…the moments that make Camp what it is and act as a clock for our daily rhythms.

There are the sounds…

…of the distant five minute whistle for the next meal.

…of the musical pitter patter of rain on your tent.

…of a joyful chorus of ‘We want to see Jesus lifted high’, as a conga weaves its way around the marquee.

There are the smells…

…of sausages cooking early in the morning – the promise of ‘second breakfast’.

…of canvas in the afternoon sunshine.

…of hot chocolate in the marquee with friends before bed.

And there are the textures…

…the feel of the potatoes in a bowl as you strive to peel the fastest and help your squad win.

…the crunch of sand in your shoes, that you know will remain for weeks to come.

…the comfort of the soft, warm jumper that you pull on after tea when the temperature drops.

And then, there are those absolutely golden moments too…where the children play happily, the sun shines and you can sit and soak it all in for while…until the claxon sounds for a fire drill and the golden moment ends rather too abruptly! (This may or may not have happened while I sat to write this post…)

Whether this is your first year or your twentieth, you will have your own magical moments that make Camp special for you. Remember to share them with your friends and find out what theirs are too.

Happy camping, everyone…it’s going to be a good week.

Jo Phillips
26 years and counting…