OK, so technically Quinta wasn’t a summer camp, more of a May holiday, but it still brought great enjoyment and fruit for God’s kingdom.

Before I became a teacher in primary schools, I worked at my home church for a year and it was through this I went along to Quinta in May 2008.

Having already missed the training weekend, it was something of a surprise to me to be on the list of leaders. And, with a slightly calmer week in prospect at church, the thought of leading a bunch of 7-11 year olds on a residential didn’t fill me with tons of enthusiasm.

So it was a touch of trepidation that my parents drove me down to an isolated corner of Shropshire, essentially a big house with a long, winding driveway. Welcome to Quinta.

Much like Maidwell, this was another fabulous camp!

As a leader of the King Prawns dormitory, (not Shrimps, although why some of the other dorms thought this was a good insult is beyond me!)  we had seven 9 year old lads to look after and they certainly kept us on our toes. We had mixed weather – it was May half term after all – and our Hunt the Leader game had to be conducted inside. Best place to hide? Under the dining room tablecloths. They never looked there!

Pete as Prince Charming

Pete as Prince Charming

King Fisher!

King Fisher!

Mark was a terrific leader - not just a great construction man!

Mark was a terrific leader – not just a great construction man!

Doug and Helen, two wonderful folk from my church in Leyland, were amongst the amazing main leaders, and they’d put together a really fun camp with gospel truth firmly at the heart of it. I’m not sure that was exactly what was going through my mind when I was attacking unsuspecting leaders with spare water after the wide game but that’s all part of it!

After my first foray into Quinta, I managed to persuade my then fiancee to come along the following year. It was lovely to have her come along and see the exciting work that goes on. One slight flaw of the CYFA rules was that she couldn’t be the First Aider, despite being a 5th year medical student – she hadn’t done the one day course after all!

This time the theme was Great Escape based on Galatians. Certainly not an easy concept to explain to eight year olds but one which we worked really hard to communicate. Great theme actually and it allowed Doug to go crazy with his puppet films – which as ever were full of “hilarious” puns and terrible jokes. He knows I love them really.

As Razor Sharp in the Great Escape

As Razor Sharp in the Great Escape

I even got crowbarred into helping play guitar publicly for the first time. There’s a reason I hadn’t done it before (inability to change chords fast enough!) but trying to keep pace with Robin on Your Love and Mighty Saviour  gave me the taste to improve!

The children we looked after on those two Quintas will now be deep into secondary school and will be growing up fast. I have no idea if they are Christian or not but I have said a prayer for them for the first time in ages tonight. Who knows?

And as for the “Quinta camp” itself? Well, God has richly blessed it and it has been split on two sites for a number of years. That means more children being able to access it. More great leaders rising up to teach them and more fruit for God’s Kingdom.