It's been three years since the Easter House Parties have been able to take place on-site over in Ireland. This year the House Parties ran for two days rather than the usual five – due to Covid restrictions and volunteer capacity – but despite that the two Camps were a great success. Katy Gaston, our Support Worker in Ireland, asked some of the volunteer leaders to share their memories and reflections of a great Easter in 2022.
What does it feel like to finally be back to a face-to-face Camp this year?
- "Building relationships with the girls is completely different face-to-face than over Zoom I think especially for the wee ones. The girls can also interact so much better with each other when they are all together like this."
- "I really missed seeing the boys and being able to do normal things at Camp, like eat meals together with everyone."
- "Seeing so many new girls was amazing, especially those who only made it online last year. It felt so great to finally be able to worship properly too - the voices of all the girls singing out praise to God was such a joy to me!"
Tell us about what was happening this year
- "Camp this year felt like every other year, which was wonderful! The main difference though was that we packed everything in to two days instead of five. It was a complete whirlwind but a great time!"
- "Camp was short but sweet this year, but just as memorable. It was great to chat with the boys about the Easter story and where they’re at in their faith!"
- "I spent most of my time in the kitchen but it was so fun to be able to serve the girls in a different way and to bring in friends who have heard so much about EGHP (Easter Girls House Party) but never experienced it for themselves."
What were the major differences between 2020/21 and this year's Camp?
- "It’s definitely better in person than online! In the last couple of years we were very limited in what we could do. Having the freedom to run full sessions or play games was something we all took for granted before."
- "I think it was quite hard to connect with some of the girls online, especially the ones who had never been before. A lot of the relationship building is the natural, small things - being able to get alongside the girls, having lunch with them, chatting, doing dishes, just doing life with them for the few days."
- "The biggest difference was being able to have one-to-one conversations with the boys. It made me realise how little we were able to achieve online and what opportunities we have when we are in the same place."
Do you think that this year has been spiritually more impactful, after the break from gathering together in person?
- "There was such a hunger to be back and a new appreciation for worshipping together and having face-to-face conversations. However I think there’s a lot of restoration and healing that needs to happen. I think for many, both leaders and campers, Camp felt like an emergence out of a spiritual desert. For some campers it’s their first time being in fellowship again with other believers, especially for campers who aren’t plugged into church or a local group. Many will need time to find their feet again as they reintroduce rhythms of faith, or just get used to having deeper conversations with peers and leaders."
- "We have had a couple of new leaders come onboard who missed their last Easter Boys House Party in person but have contributed massively to the team when the Camps took place online. It didn’t hinder their step up into leadership whatsoever and the online Camps were far from a negative for them. In some ways having to do things differently has given them new ideas to bring to into the Camps that they're now leading at!"
What have you enjoyed the most about Camp this year? What is your favourite memory?
- "It was such a joy to be serving with this fab team of leaders, and always a privilege to be with the campers and see them have fun, grow and be challenged! Every camp I’m reminded by how much I was impacted and grew as a camper, and I love seeing the same happen for others!"
- "The thing I enjoyed most was just being in person with the campers and leaders again. Obviously after a very different year of camp last year it was great to spend quality in person time with the guys, something I think everyone really cherished."
"Best memory for me was the Granny Bingo (a much loved activity that started on last year’s Camp but came back this year with added, extra costumes!) I think the girls always find it funny when the leaders make themselves look a bit stupid and give it their all!"
"I enjoyed leading for the first time – discovering how rewarding it was and how God can speak through me."
"I loved the water fight at the end of the wide game. It felt like proper Camp again."
Katy Gaston - Ireland Support Worker
Feeling like you've missed out? There are loads more opportunities to experience Urban Saints' Camps this year. Find out more via our online Camps brochure: