How a Leeds clergy couple plan to create a summer holiday to remember for young people
Leeds clergy couple, Sam and Claire Corley (pictured right), are preparing to provide 240 young people from across the diocese and beyond with a summer holiday to remember in 2018.
In what is the biggest week for summer holiday bookings, the first half of January, Sam and Claire are hoping that young people aged 11 to 18 will consider a Christian summer holiday week in late July or early August in the grounds of Ripon Grammar school, North Yorkshire.
The Ripon Ventures have now been running for several years and Sam and Claire have already begun recruiting 40 young leaders to join the team and started taking bookings from across the diocese and further afield.
What is a major logistical exercise, with preparations starting as soon as the previous summer holidays are over, is something which Sam who is Rector of Leeds, and Claire who is curate at St Edmunds Roundhay, have done voluntarily in their spare time for the past eighteen years.
“Yes it’s a big commitment but it’s also great fun”, says Sam. “In the same way that some people tithe their money we tithe our time, I guess, and so we give up a few weeks each year to do this with young people.”
Joining Sam and Claire are around 40 – 50 young leaders. They see the training of older young people in leadership as equally important to giving the younger teenagers a great time. “I am passionate about seeing young people as leaders in their churches today, but particularly as raising them up as leaders in their generation” says Sam, and he adds: “I’ve got a personal ambition to get as many people as possible ordained, that I know!”
Last year young people travelled to Ripon not only from Yorkshire but from as far afield as Lebanon and Spain. But Sam and Claire are keen that in 2018 as many as possible come from churches across the Diocese of Leeds.
Claire explained, “It’s really hard to put into words the life changing effect that Christian summer holidays can have for young people.
“For some it can be a life changing moment - a milestone - as they realise that they are loved by God, that following Jesus is something for them and that they are part of a family much bigger than their local church or school.
“For others, it will provide an opportunity to hear and experience truth that will continue to pursue them, inspire their dreams, and call out to them from the most unlikely of places.”
“We have an on-site, heated swimming pool, we go to a theme park for a day, and also to an outdoor adventure place where we can canoe, gorge walk, go caving and the like. We also explore the local town, watch some films, play sport or relax with crafts or a good book.
“One of the key emphases on our camps is developing a 'community of communities ' where young people from across the country can gather, make friends for life, and be inspired by those who are seeking to follow Jesus. Therefore, we work hard to make sure that camp is a place where questions can be asked: some of our young people are not Christians and come curious to know what we think, or with some deep question that they are struggling with. Some come from small churches eager to meet up with other Christian young people, others as part of a larger youth group. Even more come from Christian families and want a place where they can 'own' their faith, and many more come for the great activities and time away with like-minded people.”
There are a number of bursaries that can help to reduce the cost as well, and young people come on their own, or with their own youth group. “They won't regret it!” says Sam.
For more information, follow visit www.riponventure.co.uk
Meanwhile, there are many other Christian summer camps, holidays , ventures and houseparties being planned across the country. Major providers include the Church Pastoral Aid Society (CPAS), Scripture Union, and Urban Saints.
More information on some of these:
Scripture Union: http://www.scriptureunion.org.uk/ScriptureUnionHolidays/739.id
Yorkshire Camps: http://www.yorkshirecamps.org.uk/