Thursday, 21 June 2012

We are a family again

On 2nd June six intrepid families set off on a short notice adventure to Camas. The 16 young people and 11 slightly older people arrived in glorious sunshine and were warmly welcomed by friendly staff. A first evening with tasty pasta bake followed by reflection, hot chocolate, games, chatting and singing before cosy beds was a good start to the holiday.
 The sun continued to shine on the families over the days as they kayaked, swam, trembled on precarious ledges, played games, raced rafts, skimmed stones, planted sunflowers, played more games, sang songs, dug peat and created artistic masterpieces on rocks, paper and even the wind turbine tail. Laughter (especially giggles) filled the Camas air as friendships deepened and families made special memories together.

A trip to the bright lights of Iona provided opportunity for shopping, ice creams and crabbing on the jetty as well as space, meeting more friends and remembering.
A magical evening was spent at Market Bay on the Wednesday evening with baked potatoes around the camp fire, a beautiful reflection looking out over the islands and football on the beach in the warm evening sunshine.

 The group were treated to a spectacular sunset over the sea. Several stayed to camp in the dunes, enjoying time together around the fire as well as the priviledge of using the toilet with the best view in the world! The next morning, just as people were pondering how the holiday could get any better, the boat carrying the camp equipment back to Camas was joined by dolphins who leapt and played around the boat right into the bay. Onlookers on the shore jumped in the boat, and others kayaked out, to see the dolphins close up - amazing!

The families rose to the Camas Challenge producing a stunningly decorated olympic-themed space for the evening, a feast of pizza, dolphin biscuits (of course!) and Camas Cocktails, plus entertainment with their very own olympic games (well done Sweden, never mind about the football!).
The final reflection gave space to encourage and thank each other, and the amazing Camas staff, and to look back on achievements, contributions and fun times together. A medal ceremony and bedtime story concluded a fantastic week.
The friends said goodbye to each other and to Camas, taking with them their treasures from the beach, an abundance of memories and a little of the peace of the place.
Keep Calm and Think Of Camas!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

We Are Family

What happens when families from the Iona Community are let loose at Camas for a week? A lot, apparently. At the start of June, the very young, the young and the not so young, descended on Camas for a week of familial frolics. Although the families had all been to Iona before, for some, it was their first time at the Mull centre, or their first time in a long time, and the mix of ages and experience made for a fantastic week for all.

As ever, there were heroics on the abseil wall (a highlight being the dads showing ‘no fear’ when their kids had already made it down the cliff) and kayaking and raft building antics on the water. There were also some really unique moments that made the week special, reflecting the wider range of ages we had than we are normally used to at Camas. The Camas Challenge was a perfect example of this. We were treated to a delicious 3 course feast in the Olympic themed dining room to kick off the evening, including specially made ‘Camas cocktails’. Then things got serious. The Camas Olympics saw the teams UK, Sweden, Canada and Dolphin (the latter due to that morning’s sightings of the animal!) represented in a fierce competition in such events as Ninja Mega Destruction, cup stacking and 10 cup bowling, with Canada bringing home the gold. Thankfully, it was all in good spirit, and no family relationships were destroyed during the competition!

We then all came together for a stunning reflection where we all wrote appreciation pages for each other, the community we had formed for that week and the nature that surrounds us here. This was followed by a medal giving ceremony with some slightly more spurious compliments, including titles such as ‘Best washing up singing’ and ‘Best capsizes’. We then all got ready for bed with a dramatic reading of Winnie the Pooh, which was a wonderful end to an action packed week.  A massive thanks from all of us to everyone who came, we were all one big Camas family for a week!

A loo with a view

University of Glasgow

The other week we had some pretty smart people around, the type of smart that makes you feel very much like an inferior human being. There were about 23 PhD students from University of Glasgow who had come to Camas for a little getaway.

These people are the kind of people who are literally changing the world. One woman is working on using lasers on spaceships to deflect asteroids away from Earth, (there is one heading in our direction now and could even have the potential to enter our orbit in the next 15-20 years and if it would hit earth we will probably all perish just like the dinosaurs-so her work is kind of important- and also sounds crazy cool) another is working on a cure for malaria and another on 'sleeping sickness,' and there are a couple using photosynthesis as a model to develop more efficient solar energy devices.

However brilliant and important these people may be and however inadequate and foolish we may have felt around them- everything changed the moment we got them in wetsuits and sent them out into the ocean in Kayaks. They were so fantastically horrible it made us feel much better about ourselves.  

Watching smart people awkwardly fall into the ocean for no reason other than their own lack of balance or try SO hard to paddle in one direction but instead end up heading full speed into the exact opposite direction was truly a hilarious spectacle to witness.

It was another great week at Camas getting to introduce people to new things and different challenges while getting to know tons of stuff in return.