Big Camp Out is a roaring success

Hundreds of families enjoy virtual camping event

big camp out

Hundreds of families from across North Lanarkshire enjoyed a Friday night under the stars, singing by a virtual campfire and toasting marshmallows, at they took part in NLBigCamp organised by our Community Learning and Development (CLD) team.

During an action packed evening of live entertainment, youth workers presented a series of fun and interactive activities through a Facebook event live page. And it wasn't a problem if you didn't have a tent or garden space as some families imaginatively turned their indoors into a camping venue!

Actress, Jane McCarry, who plays Isa in the hit BBC comedy Still Game, took time to pop in and have a wee snoop at proceedings while leaving a message to welcome our happy campers.

The CLD Youth Work team understood that the lockdown is a difficult time for everyone and came up with the idea of a 'Big Camp' as an opportunity to boost community spirit and help people feel connected.

Throughout the night the NLBigCamp Facebook event page was populated with excellent photos and comments from families taking part. Clare Burnett from Motherwell said: "Thank you so much. This has been the best quality family time that we have spent, not only through lockdown, but for the whole year - and all for the cost of some marshmallows and chocolate digestives. Please, please do it again."

We also discovered campers from further afield. Sarah Robertson joined NLBigCamp from Fife and added: "You've done more for me and my family tonight than you will all know, so thank you!"

The evening's schedule kicked off with a demonstration of how to put a tent by Megan Ferguson, Youth Worker Airdrie; Lindsay Weir (Youth Worker, Cumbernauld) taught families how to make S'mores, using just a few ingredients from their cupboards and Eoghann Dickson taught a bit of Gaelic. The live quiz run by Amy Reynolds, with help from her daughter Lily, was packed with family friendly questions and at half time, Katy Donald (Youth Worker, CLD) did a shout-out to families on Facebook thanking everyone for taking part. Kevin Gillick joined us from the Shetland Youth Work team to teach a good selection of camping songs, followed by live music performances by Rebekah Machray and Diane Monaghan from Moodiesburn Music Group. And when it was lights out, Gillian McCairn (Youth Worker, Motherwell) sat beside a glowing campfire, and read everyone Gruffalo for a good night bedtime story. Hopefully a good sleep was had by all!

June Ford, Assistant Community Partnership Manager, said: "The Big Camp Out is just one of the ways CLD Youth Work is continuing to support young people and families during COVID-19. Youth Work starts from where young people are, and currently with everyone following guidance to stay at home, the team has embraced online platforms. The feedback from the event has been amazing and it is clear it helped people feel part of something special particularly at a time when some young people may be experiencing isolation and loneliness. It's important we continue to provide opportunities to promote good mental health and wellbeing and enable our children and young people to be confident and resilient for the future."

The CLD Youth Work team is hoping to run similar activities in the near future. The team is on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, look for #NLCYouthWork for the most up to date information and events

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