Life is slowly returning to normal, as the children enjoy the last few days of the summer holidays and the staff return to their normal day jobs. Post Camp I am left with three things: a bag full of damp laundry, ten full boxes of Camp equipment to go back into storage and (most importantly) a head full of memories from this year’s fantastic week.

While the weather was not what we would have hoped for, like always the staff rallied together to adapt the planned activities and ensure that fun was had by all. I’m pleased to report that everything on the schedule happened, even if not when it was originally planned; for example the normal camp photo was taken four days later to ensure we had some sun behind us – even if it only made a brief appearance!

The sports and PT teams put on a fabulous variety of games, adjusting these ideas to suit a marquee that was a lot narrower than our usual one; this included brilliant games such as bench-ball and crab football. When the sun was out, it was also great to hear the cry of “goal” – as the campers kicked a ball across the field – or to see the regular use of the very popular diablos (these were also expertly used by John and Keon in our Cabaret). A massive well done our sports team of Sophie, James, Lily and Robbie – I personally was loving the “Frozen” themed PT this year!

When the skies are grey and the temperature is cold, we need lovely hot food. This was delivered from morning until dinner – not an easy feat when you’re catering for nearly one hundred people! The breakfast team’s hard work helped kick start every morning – thanks to Barry, Dave, Sam, Simon and anyone that helped with the cooking through the week. This was made especially difficult once the food processor broke on day two, which resulted in many hours of chopping vegetables for ninety-five hungry mouths. Well done team!

Personally when I was a camper the most fun I had was on the evening programmes, where you would do fun and often silly games with your age group. I managed to see a lot of the different programmes and the kids loved them as always. The amount of brilliant ideas and planning that the staff had to do (mostly over zoom) this year definitely paid off. Some highlights for me; the Juniors training to be ‘silly sealions’, the seniors being chased by giants in the woods and the 14plus learning kung fu dancing. For more information your best bet is to ask the campers who all got stuck in and tried their best, often receiving Adj tokens for their efforts – which they could then trade in for prizes. A big thank you to all involved in the programmes under the leadership of Jessi, Josh, Mart and Graeme. I’d also like to mention the early planning by Paul and Beth who were unfortunately unable to attend after putting in so much work.

Next up is a camp activity I was personally never great at, Super Squad. Think house points from Harry Potter meets a wet marquee in Wales. This year’s biggest rivalry was between two squads with leaders who are best friends; Ben’s ‘Father’s Day’ verses Simon’s ‘Easter’. This hard fought battle ended with Simon managing to snatch the win and the John Hay shield on the final day. What a week Simon had, Super Squad and his third Wide Game victory. I am sure if you ask him he would say he couldn’t have won the squad competition without his squad though – a big well done to Holly, Fred, Eloise, Gabriel and Naariah for this.

From a CO perspective, this camp has definitely been the hardest to plan. From having to change the location, last minute cancellations, zoom meetings, covid restrictions and testing plans… it really has been a very long road to Wales. Myself, Rhi and Martin are very happy we battled through to make camp happen. Camp, along with Carey and Belmont church have all played a massive part in our lives and we really wanted to make sure it was only a one year break if possible. The campers deserve a holiday after what must have been such a challenging year. It was also important to welcome up the next generation of our staff, with James, Kayleigh, Josie, Lily, Robbie, Lucy and Jess all joining the staff after earning their stripes as Juniors, Seniors and 14plus.

It was also great to see so many new faces as campers; Luca, Gabriel, Harry, Lenny, Naariah, Isla, Sophia, Paige, Ellis & Jessica – every one of them was amazing and we hope they had a good time too.

As I put the last box of equipment into my loft, I will smile and look forward to dragging it back out again in eleven months time as we head for the (hopefully sunny) Isle of Wight. It will be the 13th-20th August next year and we look forward to seeing you all back, plus hopefully some new faces too.

Thank you for making this year’s camp a memorable one and enjoy the rest of the summer!