Another Successful Reading Camp
The Order's third Reading Camp just ended at the beginning of July and, having been inundated with such excellent volunteers this year, it couldn't help but be a huge success. We were delighted to welcome youth from the Diocesan School for Girls and St. Andrews College in Grahamstown, Templeton High School in Bedford, two educational students at Rhodes University in Grahamstown and various other teachers from around Grahamstown. We had help from the National English Literary Museum as well as a return visit from a contingent from Lexington, Kentucky. As it worked out, the camp had at least one volunteer per child.
Bishop Stacy Sauls and his wife Ginger, from the Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky, made their second visit to the camp after four years. Since they were the ones who initially "offered" the Reading Camp to us here in Grahamstown, we were so pleased that they could return and see how we are doing. The Reading Camp concept was begun in their diocese under their leadership and they came to Grahamstown in February 2007 to see if our monastery would be interested in organising one for the children from the local schools who would most benefit. They were eager to see it spread to other parts of the world. This year, their son, Matt, came for the first time and it was great that he could witness it as well. Also returning from Kentucky was Mary Jane Amick, who has been the camp nurse for all four of our Reading Camps. We are especially grateful to her for her help.
Basil Mills, on the staff of the National English Literary Museum, returned and he was again instrumental in making the camp a wonderful adventure for the children, with hikes and wonderful stories. Kariega and Kwantu both were so generous in giving the children free day visits to their parks. This allowed some of the children to be exposed to animals that they had never seen before. At Kwantu they were even allowed to feed the elephants and some were even offered a ride on elephants. These adventures all go along with the theme of the camp, having to do with the wild and wild animals.
The camp keeps getting better and better each year with all the volunteers, the continued and growing generosity of the Grahamstown community and as the organisers are becoming more and more experienced with it. We give thanks to God for all the time, money and effort that all of those so graciously contribute to make this camp not only possible but an invaluable experience for the children who participate. It is such a rich and precious part of these children's lives. In the three years of its happening, we have seen how Reading Camp has changed lives dramatically. The children have more confidence. They do better in school. And some even go on to exhibit leadership qualities in the classroom, often much to the surprise of their teachers.
That is why we are so pleased that the Sauls family came to South Africa for another reason. After the camp, they went on to Cape Town and then to Johannesburg to meet about the possibilities of starting Reading Camps in other parts of southern Africa. They received good responses from dioceses in those two areas and are hoping that a camp will be in either area or both areas very soon. We have hoped for this eventuality ever since the camp began here in Grahamstown. The Reading Camp is spreading!
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