I am writing this relaxing on my sofa, resting my weary self after a week away at our third Camp Quest Somerset.
And what an exhilarating week it was! Don’t get me wrong, it was exhausting, but in all the right ways.
We were joined by 22 young people, a small group compared to last year’s 40. It’s funny, when I take care of the admin, the campers are just names on pages, extensions of their parents’ correspondence. And when they arrive with their parents, they are closed books, shy teenagers, unsure of what to expect. But oh, what a difference a week can make!
These open, inquisitive young people have shared their thoughts, hopes and fears with us all, and we have shared ours back. It is always a privilege to work with Camp Questers, but to hear some of them say that Camp Quest now feels like a family, make me very proud indeed.
I was not raised to be noisy about my achievements, but as the stress of the first few years lifts, and we become more established each year, I am able to look back at what I (with the help of some very dedicated volunteers) have achieved.
Children who don’t normally fit in, for whatever reason, have found themselves while at camp. I was one of those children once, and I am so pleased to be able to offer what I needed then, to the next generation.
Camp Quest UK has evolved a great deal from the original US camps. Cultural attitudes to religion (and atheism) are so very different here, that CQ in the form that it exists in the States is simply not needed over here.
But CQUK is certainly needed.
We live in a world where the media is incredibly manipulative, appearance and status are the most cherished prizes, and education has been reduced to hoop jumping, standing on hind legs, wagging your tail at the judges.
The world we create at Camp Quest aims to be the antidote – a nightlight in a darkened room. In our world, education is about mystery and uncovering truths previously unknown, about discussion and contemplation, about support.
Every year the campers make me feel awfully stupid by comparison, and every year I find myself refreshed by that feeling. It is an honour and a privilege to teach and be taught at camp, and on this miserable and wet August day I feel overjoyed to have accomplished what I have.