What a hectic summer this has been with 10 ER Camps being held around the country with approx. 300 Leaders and 280 children, the largest number yet. The young adult leaders were exceptional – very dedicated, committed and generous in planning, preparing and running the Camps: 2 each in Omagh, Kilkenny and Dublin, 3 in Waterford and 1 in Cork.
Each Camp runs on the basis of one leader per child to ensure each child gets the maximum personal attention. Leaders begin training from February onward; all are Garda vetted and undergo Child and Leader Safeguarding.
Events of the week include arts and crafts, drama, music, games, variety shows, science experiments, treasure hunts, outings, and reflections. Hundreds of sandwiches and fruit cups and drinks are prepared daily to ensure everybody is well fed. Each day ends with a reflection with the children, and when the children have gone, Leaders evaluate the day’s events and end with a reflection led by Camp Mentors.
Fundraising is an important aspect of the Camps. While the Province funds one Camp, the leaders fund the other one themselves – through bag-packing, bucket collections, sponsored walks, hikes or runs, wax-athons etc. Parents have also been very helpful in fundraising activities throughout the year.
On 26th September, Coordinators and Mentors all gathered in the Province Centre to review Camps 2015. It was a high-energy gathering with the theme Bringing the ER Icon to Life”, and all agreed that the Camps were a huge success. Feedback from parents and teachers point to the enormous benefit for all the children who participated. Work on Camps 2016 is now begun to ensure another successful year of ER Camps.