Now that Sibford is no longer in existence and Swanbourne 2016 has been confirmed, this post may well be a significant chronicle in reporting the final days of an epic CYFA venture.

Quite a responsibility…but I’ll give it a go!

After the joys and challenges of Sibford 2014, I was flying solo this year as my wife and Sophie stayed at home. Altogether, it made things easier as they could carry on with life as normal and I could fully invest and give everything into camp.

Which was probably going to be more fruitful!

And this time, I had the added bonus of securing for myself the important role of both driving the  van and making sure that our technical wizard Joe made it to Sibford safely and on time! Pressure!

I loved charging down the motorway in the giant van, carrying all the random items that every good Venture camps needs on its kit list.

Canes, anyone? Washing up bowls needed? How about a giant roll of paper? Oh, that’ll be the thing that careered off and crashed into the side of the van when we swung round that corner a little bit too fast. Still, at least it wasn’t a smash!

The theme this year was world famous archaeologist Sibford Jones on a quest for redemption following “the incident” which ruined his reputation. Stuck on the landlocked Sibford Island, he was joined by the survivors of a plane crash, explorers who just happened to be available to help him with his search. How convenient!

My Ents character this year was Ryan Air, the friendly cabin crew manager whose original plan was to oversee a pleasant flight across the ocean. However, I was required to become an expert in survival, showing my hunting skills by ensnaring Chrizzly Bear and generally keeping the slightly aloof but very well trained Captain in check. According to his calculations we were in a perilous situation.

Highlights of the Ents schedule had to be Wilson the tennis ball and his incredible raving. Sibford Jones, (Was it a she? Was it a he? Quite a beard if it was a she?!) had some epic rambling monologues to entertain, as well as an unforgettable showdown with his arch nemesis Professor Iman Efilgenius who showed up on the island. I can’t quite believe that Sibford Jones and Suze McCluse used to be a thing…it got a bit weird at that point!

It can’t go unmentioned that the Rafiki mask was an absolute winner, particularly when Neil arrived out of nowhere and turned into different characters, all to support his comrade Ray Smears. Ents was hilarious as ever, all topped off by a remarkable dance from the Taskforcers. Will see Martin’s bear in my nightmares for many years to come!!

The Ents Characters Copyright PG 2015

The Ents Characters
Copyright PG 2015

Great also to welcome DJ Harris – the Chilli Dog as a technical wizard alongside the Big Red Dog. Good effort having come straight from another camp the very same day!

As for the gospel? Well, we worked our way through Exodus, most memorably looking at the lamb, the wood and the blood which substituted for the Israelites and saved them from God’s judgement. What an amazing picture of the true lamb, the true wood and the true blood of Jesus Christ who died in the place of everyone to save them from sin. The members were struck by God’s amazing grace and the incredible relevance of Exodus today in 21st century Britain.

It almost worked too well in that they were so fired up by Exodus that they didn’t see the need for the rest of the Bible. Not quite what we were hoping for so we helped them understand the rest of it was important too!

Had another awesome dorm. Good mix of Cambridge characters and lads from Essex who were all great fun and very LOUD. A highlight with them was Matthew’s mafia, a brutal depiction of the game with suitable Godfather SFX. Loved it!

Through my dorm, Pete and I somehow even managed to get Pizza Hut Buffet as well  one day, which was a result!

The only downside for me was lack of sleep. This was due to a number of factors out of my control which I did try to sort with limited success.

  • Boys playing football on the field at 5am?! – Overall dorm leader was on the case
  • Uncomfortable sleeping bag? – Quiet word with Janice the cleaner who got me a duvet. What a hero!
  • Buzzing insect behind my head at 5.30 in the morning? – Don’t leave the window open quite so wide!

If none of that worked, I just got on with it. As long as I had enough energy to play takedown with the guys from Sibford 2013 when we were Zorbing (and I did) the lack of sleep didn’t matter.

Zorbing

Zorbing Copyright PG 2015

As for my wife and Sophie back home, they had a great week and when I rocked back up on the Saturday they were both delighted to see me.

Sibford, you’ve been an amazing camp. Let’s hope that God continues to bless us as we move on next year!