heritage camps st. paul's church weymouth

Father Richard of St. Paul’s Church in Weymouth has been hosting Heritage Camps at his church each summer for several years now. Communications Manager Kate Bermingham spoke to him to find out what a decade of heritage camps has been like…

Kate: Why did you decide to run heritage camps at your church?

Fr Richard: We hosted camps in my former parish in the days when they had the title ‘Cathedral Camps.’ The enthusiasm of the youngsters and leaders was infectious. It was also a huge boost to the church community to undertake work on the building. So I wanted to apply for one here – where there is the added dimension for the volunteers of a sandy beach only ten minutes’ walk away.

Kate: Tell me about the first ever camp.

Fr Richard: We had a double camp (two weeks back to back)! We moved the chairs out of the church and the entire wood block floor was sanded and sealed. It looked terrific afterwards and the congregation was thrilled.

Kate: What’s been your favourite memory from heritage camps over the past ten years?

Fr Richard: Hard to single out one favourite memory: going to the wedding of one of the leaders; BBQs on the beach in the evenings; meeting volunteers from across Europe…. I could go on.

Kate: And the biggest challenge?

Fr Richard: Originally it was getting my head round everything to be organised at the local level (but there was lots of guidance). Recently, it’s been persuading the church congregation to provide healthy options in terms of gifts for snacks at break times rather than lots of cake.

Kate: How do you think the young volunteers have benefitted from the experience?

Fr Richard: Each group has been different, but it is always interesting to watch how a camp develops as the days go by and how the volunteers relax and enjoy their work as the group gels together.

Kate: Will you continue to run heritage camps at your church?

Fr Richard: Definitely – yes, please!