If it’s the child’s first time on camp, the chances are they’ll be either quiet and shy or a ball of energy designed to give you a run for your money! If it’s not their first camp you’re in for a day of renewing friendships forged in the previous year’s camp.
Edmund Rice Camps started in Australia in 1979 and are now held in South Africa, New Zealand, Tanzania, UK and Ireland. The Irish camps are based in Dublin, Kilkenny, Omagh, Waterford and most recently Cork. The camps offer a quality summer camp experience to children in a way that allows both children and young leaders to more fully realise their potential.
Nothing beats the butterflies you get on the Monday morning of an “Eddie Rice” Camp. If you’re an experienced leader you’re waiting to see which children have returned. If you’re a new leader you’re set for one of the best weeks of your summer.
At this point the training is over and you’re getting ready to set up for the day ahead, this includes setting up the hall, the art room and making masses of sandwiches. Then the children arrive and you’re on the go until half three; running around, playing games, helping with art, circle games, songs and most importantly making a big fool of yourself. Making a fool out of yourself seems to be the key to getting the kids involved in the activities.
If it’s the child’s first time on camp, the chances are they’ll be either quiet and shy or a ball of energy designed to give you a run for your money! If it’s not their first camp you’re in for a day of renewing friendships forged in the previous year’s Camp. The children who return for a second or even third year will be the ones to test the boundaries to see what they will get away with and to stretch your creativity as a Leaders.
The first day cements the foundations in place for the week, the differentiation of new and old leaders is no more. Leaders who were strangers to each other now become more like members of a large family unit with a common goal i.e. to make this the best week of these kids’ summer.
It is amazing to see how new and experienced leaders personally grow throughout the camps. When I started in Dublin in 2010, I was one of the quietest leaders on camp. In my first two days I didn’t start any songs or games. On my third day I left my inhibitions at the door and jumped in and the rest, as they say, is history.
By the end of my first week on the Dublin Camp I had been convinced by three visiting leaders from Kilkenny to travel down and take part in their week of camp. I enjoyed the experience so much and felt so much at home with the Kilkenny Camp leaders that I have been going back year after year since starting in 2010.
It’s hard to explain to people who have never had the experience of Edmund Rice Camps why I have come back every year since 2010. I could say it is the friendships that I have made through the camps or the unbelievable experiences working with and for kids who are full of energy and challenge. It could be that I have been stretched to learn more about myself or it could be the leadership skills that I keep developing. It could be any or all of these things but all I know is that I keep coming back year on year! I haven’t been disappointed yet!
– Ciarán Lappin