Amazingly, lots of Christians volunteer a week (sometimes more!) of their summer looking after teenagers in an often wet field in Wales. Perhaps even more surprisingly, they come back the following year to do exactly the same thing! I have been one of them since 1991 when I first attended a camp myself as a 14-year-old camper, and now, some 28 years later, I am still serving with those that led that first camp.
So, what’s the attraction?
As a camper, I would love being in the middle of God’s amazing creation and spending a week walking, kayaking, raft-building and rock-climbing. I would especially love the free time, which I spent predominantly playing football in eager anticipation of the ‘campers vs officers’ match at the end of the week. Each day, we’d hear the chaplain give a message from the Bible and have a small group Bible study with our tent officers. The impact that those leaders and officers had on us campers cannot be underestimated. They were people of all ages and from all walks of life, who consistently lived out what it was to be a Christian and took an interest in me personally. Although all the activities were fun, what made camp, and what continues to make camp, are the people.
Each week of camp utilises volunteers from all over the country, with a wide range of gifts including leading, teaching, cooking and site maintenance. As a camper though, I had little appreciation of the time and effort that went into making camp happen beforehand. There was time spent in meetings and administration; time spent planning activities and organising teams; time purchasing supplies and repairing equipment; as well as the vital, hands-on task of setting up the campsites each summer. All this is done even before 40 officers and 70 hungry campers descend and the week actually begins!
I am very thankful to the Lord for all those that have served, and continue to serve him through the work of CCiW. I have been blessed immeasurably through the people I have met (including my wife!), and pray that God will continue to use this work for his glory.
As the camps operate across two sites, there is a real need to increase further the number of people helping with the setting up and taking down of the campsites, which can take up to a week each summer. If you would be keen to volunteer in some capacity, or find out more, visit www.cciw.co.uk or contact Rebecca at firstname.lastname@example.org.