Saturday, 25 May 2013

PhD Students @ Camas

Camas put its academic hat on this week as we were joined by not one but two groups of PHD students.  The students, who came mostly from the University of Glasgow, came to learn from each other’s research, but also experience life at Camas,  which included the usual cocktail of outdoor activities, team games and reflections.  This gave the PhD students who live extremely busy lives, time to relax, reflect and most importantly have fun. 

One walk to the local beach, Market Bay was particularly special as a thick mist hovered above the sea creating a great “time stopping” atmosphere, where the PhD students and Camas volunteers shared hot chocolate and scones.

The evenings were fun and full of games and laughter which included the Camas crew holding their own at a game of Articulate against groups of the soon to be doctors.  The Camas volunteers also learned from the PhD student’s, whether it was joining in on some of their fascinating workshops or one of our volunteers asking a germ specialist their advice on how to increase the productivity and efficiently of cleaning rubber gloves! 

Another highlight of the week was the large group all huddled round the bonfire sharing stories and laughter.  As always the Camas challenge was a fun time where the group took responsibility of the cooking and entertainment.  The entertainment was particularly fun as there was a magic show and a ceilidh!  

All in all a great week at Camas and we hope that the PHD students can return to their important work relaxed and rejuvenated and we feel that this point was articulated by one student in our evaluations, who said: 

“The space, and the people working there, as well as the way of life, greatly contributed to our experience.  I feel rested!

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Sheffield and super surf

11.5 – 17.5

So...last week we had the first ‘proper’ group of the season with an almost full complement of volunteers and staff!! And what a fantastic way to start the season it was, a group coming all the way from Sheffield to enjoy everything Camas has to offer. The start of the week was hectic but everyone settled in quickly and soon found themselves busy fishing (catching a Sea Trout and a Salmon), kayaking, washing dishes, abseiling, coasteering, washing dishes, walking, gardening and much, much more.   The day at Iona's North End beach was brilliant with the windiest of waves splashing everyone that dared go close.

With all of the activities happening this week everyone in the community found themselves challenging their boundaries and discovering personal and group comfort zones. This was particularly clear when coasteering and abseiling. The group set out on a beautiful evening to explore and discover the islands. Fully kitted up in wetsuits, helmets and buoyancy aids everyone eagerly took the plunge into the sea, then just as eagerly scrambled back out after realising how freezing it really was. By the end of the session most of the group were happy to make a final jump in and swim back to have a warm shower and sit in the warmth of the fire.

                                                              Camas fave:  Hit the bell

During the week the group were often to be found showing their creative flair with some beautiful poem readings, amazing stories and hilarious song writing. One song became an instant hit and will probably be seen on the charts very soon...a song about a ghost who just wanted to make friends and have some fun Ghost, Ghost, Ghost AAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

The week finished in the usual way with everyone getting stuck in to the challenge. We had 5* chefs preparing some delicious food, quirky decorations, an impressive show featuring a ‘Queen’ tribute band, circus skills and more, as well as a beautiful reflection showing how much everyone had gained during their time in a remote bay at the bottom of a long boggy track.