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.

Shine Camp 2014!

 

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In early August we held our 5th Shine Camp – it’s taken us this long to recover and write about it!

Shine Camp is a weekend of camping with friends and families in the beautiful Dorset countryside. It gives young adults living with cancer a chance to relax and connect with other people, friends and family members that have similar experiences – and it’s great fun too!

This year we had nearly 100 people at camp and still had plenty of space in our fantastic private field at Norden Farm campsite near Corfe Castle. (Check them out if you’re looking for a great camping location!)

shine camp marqueeOur fantastic marquee, courtesy of Marqco Marquees went up on a slightly grey Friday morning and proved a great shelter from the teeny tiny bit of rain we had on the Friday evening and Saturday morning.  It also looked great at night with the colour changing light show and was the perfect place for everyone to congregate over food and drinks and to hang out for a chat.

The Friday night of Shine camp is always a ‘bring and share’ supper and once everyone has decided where to pitch and put their tents up (with varying degrees of success!) we all relaxed around the marquee.  We tucked into a feast of homemade bread and cakes, salads, quiche and all round proper picnic food! Yummy!

Saturday morning we had some pretty poor weather but the sun eventually came out and we had beautiful weather for the rest of the weekend .  Clever campers packed Wellies and sun-cream!

We went from this....

We went from this….

to this - in one hour!!

to this – in one hour!!

We never really have a schedule for Shine camp – those who come can choose to hang around at the campsite or go off out for the day with friends or family.  The only part we ask people to stick around for is the group meal on Saturday night.  With a fabulous hog roast and veggie BBQ, no one took any persuading!!

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We also share breakfast in the mornings if you’re up and about when the bacon and eggs are getting cooked!  This year we had a special Sunday breakfast of Canadian pancakes courtesy of our resident Canadian Ceinwen! (Thanks Cein!)

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Jeanette makes the bacon butties!

This year we also had our first ever best dressed tent competition and they all looked great!  The deserving winners were the Hart family whose home-made ‘under the sea’ theme stole the show in our Facebook vote!

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The WINNERS!

A few more of the fabulous tents…..

IMG_0683untitled-2P1090535This year’s Camp was made possible by all of your incredible fundraising over the past year, as well as an incredibly generous anonymous donor (thank you!!!).  We hope you’re able to join us next year for an even bigger and better event!!