Double Summer Camp at MGCC & BGGS
With a track record of delivering entertaining and exciting camps across the city for young people we had increased demand and capacity to deliver two summer camps at the same time in different parts of the city. Our morning camp was in Bordesley Green engaging local young people from areas such as Alum Rock, Washwood Heath, Bordesley Green, Small Heath and Washwood Heath whilst our late afternoon camp was in Marston Green engaging locals from Chelmsley Wood, Stechford and of course Marston Green. Participants were aged 6-16 and of various ethnic, religious and social backgrounds .
The purpose of the camps was to support young people get more physically active, take part in new activities and integrate with others in society whilst having a hot meal. Through the support of our funders Street Games, both camps were completely free for all taking part. Over a two week period, we delivered eight hours of provision per day, for eight days, engaging more than 80 kids a day.
Sessions were pre-planned and each day consisted of different activities and this meant our young people had opportunities in which which they could learn new skills and within the arts and crafts lesson they could make something to take home with them. We also had group activities and team-building games to show the importance of working as a team and to further strengthen relations in the community. Teaching participants the importance of living a healthy lifestyle was another plan we had and we delivered this in the form of fun, educational workshops addressing topics such as healthy eating, exercise, mental health and how to manage stress. This specific element was complimented by the food provided by the central service of the project who delivered innovative, tasty and most importantly healthy meals that further reiterated our point.
The Bordesley Green camp would start at 10am and finish for 2pm, with coaches then travelling towards Marston Green ready to start at 3pm to finish at 7pm. This was also an intense period for staff and volunteers but they saw the overwhelming benefit it was having and the demand for such provision across the city. It also supported the development of some of our new recruits as they benefited from the experience of working with young people of different ethnicities, communities and ages.
We had many obstacles to tackle, a major one being to recruit young people who had been inactive for large periods of time and the increase in use of consoles amongst young people. This combined with tensions and stereotypes of what certain areas, people of certain backgrounds was also an unspoken challenge. But we overcame these by having a presence in the community, regular conversations with other community assets such as schools and amateur sports clubs as well as key individuals and targeted promotion.
The success of the camps were clearly evident as we were being asked by parents to continue the camp for the entire six weeks, even if it meant they paid towards it, but also because we had young people in Marston Green now wanting to travel across to Bordesley Green to attend our regular sessions and vice versa, because they had not only enjoyed their experience with Street Futures but also because they had made new friends whom they wanted to see regularly. The integration and blend of cultures and communities was really refreshing to see and on the back of the camp, many young people not local to Marston Green have also joined the junior section of the cricket club.
We would like to place on record our thanks to our funders and facilitators for their continuous support throughout the summer camp, without them we wouldn’t have made the impact or change we have done.