I headed to Basecamp in June 2014 knowing only two of the twenty people joining me for the week. By the end of the week I had met and befriended everyone, many of whom I’ve met up with since at various events.
Our year’s Basecamp was unique in a number of wonderful ways, with a significantly smaller group than in past years; thirteen girls and seven boys. Though it seemed a shame at first that more couldn’t make it, the small number meant everyone came to know everyone and long lasting friendships were made.
After the first day, on which we were put into our groups for the week, a general daily pattern was followed: breakfast was followed by the morning Bible study, which led to Leadership Training in our groups. After lunch, everyone was free to relax or explore different parts of Arran for a couple of hours before dinner.
The evenings generally involved Games and further Leadership Training. Some days were slightly different: core workshops were given on some days, dealing with issues such as child protection and the authority of Scripture, and the main part of Thursday was spent away from the campsite, with a day of teambuilding.
Throughout the week, each group was given the chance to develop leadership skills through a variety of tasks: at breakfast, a group was asked to take charge - saying grace, cleaning up etc.; every evening involved a session of games led by one of the groups, who had to come up with several games and take charge of the camp; before every morning talk, a group was asked to lead the worship which involved praying, reading the passage and leading songs.
Each task we were asked to carry out seemed daunting at the time but made easier with the help of the whole group, and helped to develop important leadership skills for everyone.
Group times provided the chance to work through a number of different aspects of serving as a leader at an SU camp, such as leading games and worship, taking charge of a group Bible study, giving a testimony and promoting positive behaviour.
The group times proved to be really useful and practical as they taught us how to respond to various situations we would face as leaders, while focussing on the importance of being a servant to God through our leadership, something I found particularly challenging and encouraging.
The whole week was an incredible experience, often taking us out of our comfort zone and challenging us to take responsibility as leaders, while giving us the chance to make so many new and long-lasting friends.
Almost everyone involved volunteered as a trainee the following summer at an SU camp, something I personally loved doing.
If you’re headed to Basecamp this Summer, I hope you have the best time!
Stephen Porter, 18
Basecamp is part of the COmMISSION programme.