So, I’ve been talking about writing this post for ages, and here it is. Bredon 1 is a week long Christian camp I go to in the summer (July-August) – but it’s not camping, we stay in a boarding school in Tewkesbury, which, as you can see below, is lovely.
2012 was my third year and I can honestly say it’s the best week of my year, and I’m now going to tell you why, through the medium of a life in a day (which was a possible topic for my English coursework last year)
8 o’clock. A leader opens the door and tells us to get up. I’m often awake anyway but a need to stay in bed forces me to clutch my duvet and pretend I’m still dreaming. We have 20 minutes to get up, but in reality it ends up being about 5 if you’re lazy or tired.
Once dressed, my dorm assemble back in our room and sit there as if we’ve been up for hours, just as one of the leaders comes in with the book of the week – 20 minutes of each morning is taken up with listening to someone read a Christian book so we can absorb some Bible truths without having to think too much.
By 8.40 I’m fairly hungry so it’s off to the breakfast queue downstairs. The boys are always there before us but we don’t really mind, there’s still plenty of food! The cooks do something cooked for breakfast each day, even if it’s only spaghetti hoops and toast. We also get a chance to catch up with people from other dorms and see how they are. Breakfast time isn’t just for chatting though, it’s also when we find out exactly what we’re doing that day.
One thing that is unchanging is the morning meeting at 9.30, one of the key parts of the day. It lets each person reflect and praise God in their own way. I find the talks less taxing than those in the evening but thought-provoking all the same, especially when they follow on from what we did the night before.
Once the meeting is finished there’s a game. Not being very sporty, me and my friends will usually sit outside playing cards. Our card games range from Sopio to Pit to random and crazy card games depending on our mood and the time of day – some people start to avoid us when it gets a bit crazy!
The 10 o’clock game is followed by the 11.15 game or craft, with myself and other less sporty girls (plus a few boys) veering towards the craft room. Our creations range from stained glass windows made from acetate, handprints in clay, painting on old bathroom tiles and simply painting canvasses. It gives us yet another chance to have a good chat and everyone gets on really well, leaders and members alike.
Once we’ve washed the paint off our hands, and possibly clothes, it’s time for Wordsearch – a chance for us to look at what the Bible says about topics we face in our lives. We’ve looked at beauty, relationships, social networking and TV, to name a few. I like the fact that we can discuss our own opinions and also that the leaders are so honest to us and tell us what they’ve done relating to that topic.
Everyone’s hungry by 1pm so we make our way to the lunch queue. One of the best things about Bredon is the food. There’s such a wide variety of meals across the week – fish and chips, chicken pie, spaghetti Bolognese, pizza, BBQ, the list goes on. However it’s not always consistent, one day I was served gloopy, lumpy macaroni cheese whereas the next day we get delicious, flavoursome chicken curry, it’s a mystery how the two meals come out of the same kitchen!
Lunch finished, we have a half an hour gap which is often called ‘The Calm Before The Storm’. In reality it is far from that, usually being taken up with frantic changing into different coloured tops, messy clothes, or packing bags ready for a trip out. Then, at 2pm, the afternoon activity begins.
Every afternoon is fun, but each is very different. My favourite afternoon is the dorm outing. Having spent most of the time around one place, it’s refreshing to go out with great friends for some retail therapy. Not only that, but we also filmed part of the Titanic parody, with some hilarious shrimp puns. It’s probably the most sedate of the activities but I see nothing better than hitting the Cadbury Outlet Shop and then relaxing with a Caffé Nero and some scones in a car park.
Another popular activity is the Hollywood Boot Camp. This consists of several mini activities, each with a different theme, where you win points for your dorm. There’s something for everyone but somehow the boys’ dorms have an edge and so win. It’s also rather messy – me and my friend managed to get golden syrup in our hair. We did make a parody song of ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ though, which involved spelling Jesus with our knees – and it got us third place.
If the weather isn’t too bad, I wander down to the swimming pool and take a dip. It’s freezing but after a hot afternoon it’s very refreshing. Often it’s mostly boys in the pool, thrashing about and trying to knock each other over, but there are also a few girls who brave the waters, even if it’s only for a short while.
Swim over, it’s time for workshops. Workshops give us a chance to learn something new, or enjoy doing something we like with people who are experts. I’ve done salsa, cooking and photography workshops, which have been both fun and a learning experience. If there isn’t anything that interests me on, I’ll go for a walk with friends and chat or take photos. There’s free time after the workshops anyway, so we’ll take our time and explore, unless there is a leaders vs. members football match, in which case, we’ll watch that – it’s a big rivalry between the leaders and members but unfortunately the leaders often win.
At 6.30 it’s finally time for dinner and then we have the evening meeting an hour later. This is often more in depth than the morning meeting; besides we have more time and are all much more awake. One key point that struck me was that Jesus died and took our judgement – we don’t even have to be judged by God for our sins! After the meeting we always have a chance to chat to a leader or friend about what we’ve heard and be encouraged or strengthened by them.
9pm is the last big part of the day – Evening Entz. Each night is themed; one day will be action, another Disney, and another sci-fi. Sci-fi night was my favourite, my dorm winning the feed your leader rice pudding through their arms competition will definitely be a highlight I remember. We also learnt Klingon (actually Welsh) and failed at the paper spaceship (aeroplane) competition.
After all this fun, it’s almost time for bed, although not before dorm bible study. We’ll usually spend about half an hour looking closely at a passage in the bible and then talk about it. This is also the time when we eat our dorm stash of Cadbury Misshapes and get an immediate sugar rush. This has hilarious consequences, which often delay the end of the day for both us and the leaders.
Finally I’ll get changed in record time and settle into bed. The fun doesn’t end there though, and whispered conversations often ensue, usually about life at home or what happened in the day. Often a leader will come in and tell us to be quiet but after a while they go to bed too. We feel tired in the morning but for a week it doesn’t particularly matter.
Bredon doesn’t end after a week either. Once it’s over I always look forward to reunion and another youth event called Sorted which most people go to. They’re both great fun too, but nothing really matches up to life at Bredon, and I always look forward to the next year.
Now if you’ve ploughed through that, well done. But one point I really wanted to make was that throughout the whole week I did not once think about my impending operation with any great dread. It must have been in my subconscious, because one girl in my dorm asked about my back being curved (here’s your explanation Mariam!), but when asked about things to pray for in my one-to-one chat, I did not mention the op at all. This prompted an email when I found out the date of the operation to say, actually I forgot to mention this!!
Anyway, this has been a great post to write because of all the memories! But now it’s going to get a LOT heavier so I’ll leave you with the more optimistic video of Bredonwood.
http://vimeo.com/46810347 – I had hoped this would come up as an actual video embedded in but no (I’ll try and get my IT friend to sort out some html if you really want) If you’re interested, you can see me in the centre of shot at 05:32 (in the gray hoodie)
If you want more information about Bredon, see this link http://www.ventures.org.uk/venture-holidays/details/2389 It would be amazing if someone came because they read this blog!