First BUC Adventurer Camporee
2nd August 2018
It was a truly exciting moment for over 2000 Adventurers ranging in age from 4-9 years old as they assembled on the grounds of the South of England Showground, Ardingly, West Sussex to be part of the first Adventurer Camporee ever held in the British Union Conference (BUC). It was an exciting time for the 200 staff members too, who spent the year leading up to this event planning and preparing for all the logistics involved in such a large event. Held from Thursday 26 to Sunday 29 July, the young campers were to experience the full blast of Britain's variations in weather, essential camping skills, uniform inspections, awards and all the packed activities planned for the extended weekend.
Registration for the event began on Thursday morning. This had to be well coordinated as it combined formal registration, food distribution and collection, setting up of tents and assembling the various clubs together. All territories within the BUC were represented by their clubs from various churches within the North and South England Conferences, and the Scottish, Irish and Welsh Missions. Natalie Davison, BUC Youth Ministries secretary and her team ensured a smooth process much to the delight of team leaders and the children who had travelled far and for long periods. Two Adventurer clubs from Slovenia and Sweden also participated in what would be a 'dress rehearsal' for next year's even larger Pathfinderr Camporee which would involve clubs from around the Trans-European Division.
On Friday, clubs had an opportunity to participate in various sporting activities and games. Later, leaders started working with the children on achieving their awards. The guest speaker for the camporee was Rich Aguilera from the North American Division, who has a passion for Youth and Children's Ministries and regularly features on the Hope Channel and 3ABN. The theme of the camporee was on Genesis which reflected the need to start from the very beginning with the young campers. The evening meetings were very engaging, Rich using his 'Indiana Jones' style hat and latchet gave creative and informative messages that caught the attention of the children and adults alike.
With the weather changing from the unseasonal high warm temperatures, to thunderstorms, lightening and strong winds overnight, some campers' tents were put to the test in the adverse weather. No doubt such conditions called for effective camping skills providing valuable experience in dealing with the uncertainties of the weather.
Sabbath morning saw the Adventurers' very first Bible Experience. The topic of study was on Genesis, in line with the camporee theme. It was good to see the enthusiasm of the children, but also the high standard that was set in the number of clubs gaining first place.
After another engaging presentation from the guest speaker, it was ADRA-UK's turn to captivate the children during the afternoon's activities. And this was certainly achieved.
Creating a virtual ADRA village, on the grounds of the campsite, Adventurers were treated to a model village that contained live animals including goats and chickens. Alongside that there was a makeshift water pump where villagers would draw water. Bert Smit, ADRA-UK CEO, explained how ADRA wanted to re-enact what it would be like living in a remote village, where people had to pump water from a well, barter to buy bread, and livestock to survive. This feature went down very well amongst the Adventurers who got to experience first-hand a sample of what it is like to make a living and survive by trading with the resources available and creating a means to barter in order to obtain other provisions.
Following the closing presentation and the flag lowering and handover ceremonies, the Adventurers along with their team leaders began to dismantle their tents and equipment. It was a positive first camporee with lots to remember and no doubt many new skills learnt by the Adventurers.
Pastor Dejan Stojkovic, BUC Youth Ministries director towards the end of the camporee when interviewed said, "I'm extremely grateful for the 200 plus volunteers and staff members who have been planning months in advance for this event; it shows we can put on a major event to bring the Adventurers together across the Union. They (the Adventurers) have gone beyond all expectations and have proved themselves proud in the eyes of their parents and club leaders. This year was a rehearsal for next year when twice the number will be here for the TED Pathfinder Camporee, but I'm happy with how things went this weekend." For more pictures and video clips see the BUC Youth Facebook page here.