Taking young people away is a key part of the discipleship process for many Groups. While not possible in the summer of 2020, experiences like this will remain a fundamental part of our strategy in the future. In Wales, one Camp in a farmer's field has grown into an entire summer's worth of life-changing experiences.
Camps for young people specifically from North Wales Groups began in 1998 with just one Camp on the long-established Crusader site at Nefyn (usually home to youngsters from NW England). After a couple of years there, we needed to expand and moved to a new site. We now run an outdoor adventure Camp for teens at Middle Park near Welshpool and five Camps in Llanddwywe near Barmouth.
We came across the site at Cors y Gedol farm in 2011 following a meeting there with the farmer’s wife. The site was in a field next to a 16th century house. The first year was all a bit basic but we loved the site with its adjoining woodland, mountain and amazing beaches and dunes just a mile away.
Year 2 the Camp grew to 170 people on site and led the core team to conclude that we had to split and do two junior Camps. The following year we had even more people! However, this time, we sensed God was calling us to something a bit different – a Camp not just for children but a Camp for their whole families, many of whom had little or no church background.
As the years went on, this new Family Camp model expanded into more Camps as group leaders invited whole families not just children to camp. After a few years, the farm offered us a 20 year lease on another field on the farm called Cae Bach Meifod. It has amazing views of the sea and is set up on a hill with access through beautiful private woodland. We sensed the Lord speaking to us about the potential of this site – the word ‘investment’ came to us strongly – we were to invest in the site to be used in order to invest in the campers. But...there was no water, no electricity, no drainage, no buildings bar a small, century-old derelict shepherd’s hut, and half the field was very exposed to wind.
Up stepped a key volunteer – a retired surveyor whose precise words to us were, ‘I think I may have some skill that you need.’ Before the next summer we had, under his supervision, installed mains water and two large septic tanks. The following summer we put in mains electricity, rebuilt the derelict hut adding a roof and kitting it out as our new camp kitchen, and purchased two large marquees. The next year we brought storage onsite in shipping containers and also converted one of these into a toilet block. God has provided extraordinarily – each time there was a need or an increased cost, the finances arrived in advance!
Last summer, we ran one junior and three Family Camps (all bilingually) at Llanddwywe and we plan to expand further next season.
The Llanddwywe Core Team
If you would be interested in donating to the ongoing development of the campsite at Llanddwywe, please click here