They say it takes 21 days to form a habit, and 90 days to establish a lifestyle, but I can assure you it only takes 5 days to give a kid the time of their life. From the moment we arrived at the park where we met the participants, the word was ‘fun’. Within minutes, half of the leaders had become drenched from a water fight, their enormous smiles only rivaled by those of the eager young kids, happily taking credit for said drenching. Being a hot day, everybody jumped into the fray, and the ice was truly broken already, even without any of the ‘official activities’ underway. From there, we hopped on the buses and arrived at Merrick’s campsite, where the activities began. After the camp briefing and some traditional camp games, we were off to the beach! Where the already strong relationship between leader and participant was further strengthened as we all bobbed up and down in the surf, riding and playing in the waves. Already there were signs of the friendly rivalry between the different groups at the camp, and this only served to consolidate the bonds made within each team. It was a happily tired troop of campers that returned to the campsite that evening, ready for whatever the rest of the week might bring.
What followed over the next few days was an incredible blend of fun, learning, camaraderie, delicious meals, reflection, playing and of course singing. Be it on the bus, on the way to breakfast, or mid-leap in a game of stepping stones, the classic chants, and songs of the Edmund Rice camps could be heard by all. Olé olé, yellow submarine and Eddie Eddie Eddie were among the most popular.
All in all, the camp was an amazing week, an unparalleled experience, and not just for the kids participating but for the leaders as well. Not only did the kids camp of January 2020 see the young children embrace the Edmund Rice Spirit, but it also saw the Edmund Rice volunteers embrace their inner child.
- Justin Mitchell