The Long awaited May Camporee 2023 took place from 28th April – 1st May. The venue - our very own picturesque Adventist campsite at Kilnasoolagh, Newmarket on Fergus, Co. Clare. The chosen theme for the Camporee was ‘The Potter’s Hands’.
The campers arrived on Friday evening by cars and a coach. Many were greeted with a hug and a cheerful smile. The late sunset gave us enough time to pitch the tents up and head over to our Pathfinder Shed for Vespers. Our Guest Speaker Pr. Ron Whitehead gave a lively and engaging message to the Adventurers and Pathfinders. The service was led by Ballinacrow Club. The night was serene and everyone retired to their tents for the first sleep.
Sabbath morning was a beautiful day. Day visitors from all over Ireland attended, which included siblings, parents and friends amalgamated in to one united church. It was a blessing to see old friends and new friendships forged. After the end of the service we all congregated in a huddle and a picture together. Every club had a self-catering kitchen and Pr. Ron was invited for a meal to every club to enjoy the meal and to fellowship with the Adventurers and Pathfinders.
Saturday afternoon activities were divided in to Adventurers and Pathfinders specific. Adventurers earned a Treasure Hunt Award organised by Ger Waldock & Des Rothwell which involved a lot and lot of walking aided by a compass and a map. Pathfinders earned a Hiking Honour by taking a trek organised by Sunny Nakka to Mooghaun Hillfort, built in the Late Bronze Age, around 100 BC, on the summit of a low limestone hill. The Pathfinders had commanding views of south-east Clare and the estuaries of the River Shannon and the river Fergus. While on the top of Mooghaun Hillfort, each club was tasked to work together and present on God’s amazing creation by picking up objects they have found at the Hillfort quoting a bible reference and the moral lesson learnt.
End of Sabbath worship was in the Pathfinder Shed led by the Dublin Royals Club. We listened to an incredible testimony by Vivek Raman while the story of his testimony was enacted by the Dublin Royals Club and a message by Pr. Ron. Saturday evening was ended with a lovely dinner and some camp games which fostered team work and bonding between clubs.
Sunday morning was a bright sunny day. Our theme ‘The Potter’s Hands’ had materialised when John Sherlock – a retired Pottery Instructor from County Clare demonstrated how to make a vase on the potter’s wheel. His skilful hands turned a lump of clay in to a beautiful masterpiece which arrested every gaze as we watched in awe. The Counsellors were briefed with a practical demo prior to the presentation. Every child received a handful of clay and were taught to make a pot/vase by the pinch method. All pots and vases made were sent to a furnace to be fired in Ballymorris Pottery; it will be a beautiful souvenir of the camporee.
Sunday afternoon, the heavens opened so we had to go indoors for all our activities – the Pathfinders learnt the Lashings Honour and used the skill to build a Roman Chariot and each club had a light hearted relay race against each other; Galway, Limerick & Portlaoise United were the most skilful and won the race. The Adventurers earned the First Aid Helper Award led by Sandhya Abraham and learnt 5 knots at the Knots Station.
Evening worship was led by Dublin Dacians while Pr. Ron Whitehead inspired us with another message. He got us excited for Wyoming 2024 International Camporee as one Pathfinder won a free ticket to the event in 2024; Devid Sorea from Dublin Dacians answered a question right and was a willing volunteer during a faith-based experiment conducted by Pr. Ron Whitehead. After the worship service we went straight to the firepit which was lit with a golden flaming glow. The Adventurers had the first slot at the campfire where they sang funny songs full of laughter. The Pathfinders soon joined in for some games and fun around the campfire.
Monday morning service was emotional and one of our long serving Area Co-ordinator Makhosana Madubeko announced that his journey with the Pathfinders has come to an end and we all wished him well in his new journey where God leads. We also witnessed a special ceremony where Nqabeni Hlongwane got invested as a new Master Guide. Now it was truly time to say goodbye to all, but before we left, we gifted Pr. Ron Whitehead with Irish Souvenirs to remind him of his memorable time with us here in the Emerald Isle.
Closing ceremony followed with an eye-catching display of the Marching drill composed of Pathfinders from all Clubs and expertly led by Siphewe Madubeko. The flags were lowered and a camp strike out was announced. It was time to bid adieu and we left with wonderful memories, revived with a blessed reminder that God is always with us. “Yet O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You are the potter; And we are the work of Your hand”. Isaiah 64:8
Written by Milan Nakka
Deputy Adventurer Director
Dublin Royals Club