As in previous years, the annual children’s summer camp took place in Crickhowell, Wales. A total of 36 children from the parishes and communities of the Deanery, together with about 15 helpers spent a wonderful two weeks under canvas on the beautiful site we have been privileged to use for the past nine years.
With help from the local community, in the form of storage for our equipment, the loan of a large Mitsubishi Shogun and a large trailer, a group of workers toiled for three days to set up the marquee, tents, kitchen and toilet facilities in preparation for the arrival of the children on Saturday 24 July.
The weather throughout was excellent, with a few very warm days and only an odd shower. The days started and ended with prayers in the chapel marquee, where we also blessed water for the camp blessing, celebrated the divine Liturgy twice, held a panikhida for Metr. Anthony and all those associated with our camps who had died.
There were daily sessions of religious instruction in three groups. The middle group used the Feast of the Transfiguration for their lessons. The older group looked at the Sacraments and the younger ones at prayers of the Church.
This year all three groups went on a pilgrimage to the church and holy spring of St Issui at Partishaw, about three miles from the camp. A newly painted icon was carried in procession and blessed with water from the holy spring.
Other activities followed the regular pattern established over the years, with a big walk to the top of Sugar Loaf, camp Olympics, Theme Day – this year ‘Space and Outer Space’, camp fires, soccer, sports and various handicraft activities.
The general atmosphere of an Orthodox Church village was enhanced this year by the presence of several generations of campers, in one case a fourth generation! Long lasting friendships, the return of older campers to share in the joy of an extended family reunion all added to make this year’s camp a most rewarding and fulfilling event.
Many of the leaders and staff gave up paid work and/or of their holiday time to help us run the camp, and special mention should be made of Leo Grant for leading and co-ordinating the leaders brilliantly and Symeon Hodson for masterminding and gallantly leading the pre-camp and post-camp. Thanks to all of them.
As ever our deepest thanks to our hosts, Robin and Marcus Beale and to all who helped make this a wonderful time.
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