Easter Camp is a much loved and anticipated date on the Somers calendar. Generations of friends and families gather to enjoy sitting shoulder to shoulder in the Mess Hut, huddling around the camp fire and sharing good times in Swannees over drinks, card playing, trivia and storytelling.
In times of self-isolation and social distancing, a lesser man or woman would therefore think Easter Camp is not possible. But in true Somers tradition this was a mere challenge – a technicality to overcome. So in 2020, Easter Camp moved to the virtual world and Easter Camp LITE was born.
Through the powers of Facebook and Zoom, 107 Easter Campers participated in four days of fun online activities. Many much-loved Easter Camp traditions were replicated online or we saw the birth of new ones such as the videos created by the kids teaching us new skills in cooking and crafting.
Easter Camp LITE began on Good Friday with would-be Campers woken by the familiar sounds of reveille and 3RS breakfast radio with Sam and Tim Dakin. Breakfast radio so good, you would have sworn you were lying in Yellow Hut. Friday continued in a relaxed fashion with Somers’ stunts, Easter Bunny drawings and Mary Bawden soothing excited campers, young and old, with bedtime stories over Zoom.
The Saturday programme was even busier with Gillian Lee and musical melodies for the kids following the much loved dulcet tones of 3RS breakfast radio, more virtual stunts (Tula the Hula girl is a must-see), and the classic chocolate ripple cake competition to see which family could create the most epic ripple cake. The Zoom meeting platform was also hard at work with Mike Officer hosting a virtual Swannees happy hour with 29 participants followed by a very popular and intensely competitive online trivia, expertly compered by Kristen Hammond.
Onto Sunday and isolation wasn’t going to end our traditional Easter Camp Bush Chapel service. Mandy Hutchinson and special friends delivered a heart-warming service, the perfect tonic for the circumstances we are all living in. A special mention also to Steph Payne and the Easter Camp ‘Pub’ Choir and the wonderful rendition of Lean on Me. And no day at Easter Camp, full strength or Lite, is complete without happy hour at Swannees.
And finally, on Monday Campers were treated to the fourth installment of 3RS breakfast radio before another Easter Camp tradition – the virtual Sophie Mason Car Rally. This year, teams were able to travel far beyond Somers thanks to the Syko family, crossing international borders on the way to completing tasks and cryptic clues across the globe. Truly a car rally every bit as competitive as a non-virtual one.
So, although these times of self-isolation meant we could not gather in the traditional sense, the true Somers spirit of fellowship was lived and celebrated. Easter Camp brought us together once more, albeit in a different way. In these times of isolation, this fellowship was especially welcomed and valued by all. Thanks to all the enthusiastic families and friends who were a special part of a very different and first ever virtual Easter Camp. Proof, that in isolation we can all remain connected. An EC2020 story for the history books, however I look forward to a more traditional Easter Camp in 2021.
Stuart Douglas Red 1985