The biggest Shine Camp yet!

Marshmallows

Marshmallows by the fire

Six years ago this summer, we ran our first Shine Camp.  We weren’t even officially registered as a charity but seventeen people came. It was a great time and we decided to do it again (and again). This year, for Shine Camp Number 6, we were lucky enough to get funding through the Aviva Community Matters programme. With the Aviva money burning a hole in our pocket, we got to work planning our biggest and best Shine Camp ever.

Between Friday, 7th August and Monday the 10th, we had more than 140 people join us on a field in Norden Farm.  Walking distance from Corfe Castle, the field is part of a larger campsite which means that there are showers and a lovely camp store nearby (along with a bunch of fun farm animals!).

We started Shine Camp because we like camping, but as it has grown we’ve also found that it’s a fun way to bring our Networks together and for young adults who are living with cancer to hang out in a different type of environment.

It took us AGES to get this photo. But it's (almost) the whole gang.

It took us AGES to get this photo. But it’s (almost) the whole gang.

There are no nurses, white walls or officious receptionists – just a big marquee, a nighttime campfire and, more often than not, a fair amount of Polish vodka (courtesy of our Polish friends Jack and Magda who make the trip down South every year).

This year we had people join us from across the country. For some, it was their first ever Shine event, for others this was their fifth or sixth camp in a row!

A number of our 2015 ‘Escapees’ also joined us for an informal reunion.

Escapees at Camp

A few of our 2015 ‘Escapees’

We try to keep Shine Camp informal, with only a few set activities – one of which is a big dinner on the Saturday night.  This year we had a hog roast and veggie BBQ followed by some mammoth cakes that the lovely Lucy from our Cardiff network drove down to Dorset.

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A real live professional chef tending to the hog roast!

Tired and smelling of woodsmoke, we finished camp on Monday and pretty much started planning Shine Camp 2016 the next day.  As it was our largest camp ever we had a fabulous time and also learned a lot (next year, we’ll bring more pancake mix!).  A huge thank you to everyone who came out, helped out, cleaned dishes, cooked breakfast, pitched tents – and had fun.  Can’t wait ’til next year!

We would like to send a special thank you to our friends at NC Insurance for nominating us for the Aviva fund and to all of those who voted for us in the competition.

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