Kingswood Dearne Valley / Camp Quest UK
28th May 2018
Kingswood Dearne Valley is a large complex area with accomodation and lots of activities. You can do laser tag, campfire, zip-wire, aeroball, abseiling and loads of other activities. It is good for summer holidays, meetings, and for camps.
In 2018, Kingswood Dearne valley was the venue for Camp Quest. It started off as an american company, introduced to the UK in 2009. The 2018 theme was Thought. Camp Quest (http://camp-quest.org.uk/) is a great chance for children to get a break from home, still feeling safe and happy. Junior camp is 7-11 year olds, and 11-17 for the senior camp. The camp is a organisation for children to learn by doing fun activities and crafts. They get to sleep on bunk beds with other children, and they even get a Camp Quest T-Shirt!! When I went there I had the most BRILLIANT time ever.
Maybe like me you first heard about Camp Quest UK right back at the beginning. Maybe you’ve thought on and off about it, but haven’t come around to making a decision or finding out more. I found out that it’s never too late to join the CQ family.
by Alastair Lichten
The experience of a first-time volunteer coming into the well-established Camp Quest is in many ways a bit like that of a first-time camper, or perhaps a parent deciding whether or not to book a place for their child: a bit nerve-wracking, with no idea what it will actually be like when you get there.
My first step to getting involved was messaging the Facebook page and volunteering for the 2016 junior camp in sunny Norfolk. The junior camp is a bit shorter than the senior camp (4 days/3 nights), to adjust for the younger age range (ages 7-11), and the other volunteers thought it would be a great introduction to the world of Camp Quest.
For a new volunteer – much like a new camper – there’s no time to worry about fitting in, as you’re too busy getting on with things. It already seems like such a blur, but it’s amazing how much we saw the young campers grow in a few days.
By the end of that first camp I was part of the Camp Quest family and wishing that I’d joined sooner. However, upon stepping into the week-long senior camp (ages 11-17) in August, I felt a bit of the nervousness return. Camp Quest is a community that has grown over many years, with several campers coming back year after year – some for their 6th or 7th year. Would they get to know and trust me in such a short period of time?
Nervousness about fitting in, is a common theme with many new campers and part of the personal journey that is Camp Quest for both campers and staff. Because the campers create their own environment and the ethos is very much bottom up, everyone has a part to play, within the overall framework of Question, Understand, Explore, Search and Test.
The distinctions between new and returning campers blur immediately, and within days are largely invisible. The size of the activity groups (that are mixed up for different activities) limit the formation of cliques but are large enough to allow campers to both meet everyone and stick to smaller groups if this is more comfortable. This is really helpful for first time campers, particularly those who may be a little shy. It’s finding the sweet spot between stretching and supporting that runs through the Camp Quest ethos.
So, if you’re currently undecided about Camp Quest, if you’re a parent weighing it up, or a young person wondering if you’ll find your place; then I really urge you to book today.
Places are still available for the senior camp (ages 11-17) at the end of August: click here
Or if you have any questions or other inquiries, please get in touch with Dianna: firstname.lastname@example.org
Philosophy for Children (P4C) is a teaching method that allows children and teenagers the opportunity to discuss philosophical questions and practise their critical thinking skills in a safe and non-judgemental environment. We run it every year at camp and it consistently proves to be a favourite among the campers. To read more about P4C, click here. To book your child’s place at Camp Quest 2017, click here.
by Dianna Moylan
In an increasingly secular society where many claims are made that traditional values are being lost, the development and use of Philosophy for Children (P4C) is a vital tool in helping adults work with young people to help them get in touch with their innate sense of right and wrong.
A sense of ‘fairness’ seems to be part of everyone’s make-up. Little children frequently declare that it is ‘not fair’ and they seem to know what is later forgotten, as the demands of the world close down on them. We should all be able to expect equal treatment from others, and should be able to treat others as we would expect to be treated.
A P4C discussion, carefully led, will allow the participants to express their feelings about interpersonal behaviour. Philosophical subjects, such as ‘beauty’, ‘honesty’, ‘justice’, morality and ethics in all their forms can take centre stage and be explored in an accessible and age-appropriate way. The person running the session can enable people to speak openly of their feelings and beliefs in a non-threatening way.
Central to all of this is the understanding that there are very few absolute rights and wrongs. To begin to understand the minefield in which the thinking person operates, is the beginning of responsible adult thinking. Observing the considerate manner in which participants allow others to express themselves can be a delight.
It is a process I am delighted I have been part of, and would feel at a loss if told I could no longer continue. The effect P4C has on young people is sometimes very clear. Some return to their parents significantly changed, they tell us.
For those who do not simply jump to attention when confronted with a set of immovable life rules, but who come to understand the morals and ethics that underpin our ability to live with others, P4C is a wonderfully powerful tool.
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I was half way through “Devotion Time” and I’d just read that day’s assigned bible passage to my cabin of campers. I was about to read off the bullet points of What the passage teaches us when a camper interrupted to tell me that my shoes were “whack”. I don’t know what it was about this quaint slang that drove me into a state of anger and shame, but the next minute I was alone in the staff cabin and knocking the Windows 98 screen out of its reverie. I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking for but I knew I had to find a community that was not entirely at odds with everything I valued.
I don’t know how I found the Camp Quest UK site. The site had one white page with a little tent in the middle and, if I remember correctly, an animated gif of a fire. But more importantly it also had a values statement and an application form for new staff to join this as yet non-existent organisation with three weeks before the deadline. I researched more about Camp Quest and I knew I’d found my purpose.
Don’t tell anyone, but for the rest of that summer, during “Devotion Time”, I mixed the bible passages with short stories by Asimov, Vonnegut and Carter and let the campers discuss what they thought it was all about.
Ten months later I met my first crew of similar-minded young renegades at our first camp in Somerset. It is still truly remarkable to me that we the few who learn the names of stars, cry at “Matilda” and disrupt small talk with our strange questions should have found such a home in Camp Quest. Be it archery, singing or debate, everything is better when you do it with people who listen to the world. The members of this community, both young and less-young, invigorate, stimulate and yearly fill me with new wonder and new hope. As our very first campers become our camp leaders, I hope that we may remain a beacon to lost travellers forever.
Kyrill is an English teacher in London, and has been a part of Camp Quest UK every year since our first camp in 2009. He is very close to completing a novel.