10 August 2016

Our Wild Camp Out at YMCA Hawker back in July was a huge success – all 40 of our pitches were snapped up by keen locals. We were also lucky to have donations from the All England Lawn Tennis club of tents, chairs, mats and sleeping bags (used by people who queued overnight to get the best seats for the tennis), for families who wanted to take part but didn’t have any equipment. Rosi and Alana, two mums, share their experience.

Rosi and her daughter Tamara, aged 7, had a fantastic time. They didn’t have any equipment apart from sleeping bags, so we provided them with chairs, two sleeping mats and a tent. Although Rosi is a seasoned camper, having spent many nights under the stars as a child, Tamara had never been before, and this was an ideal opportunity to give her a taster. “Tamara loved running around the YMCA Hawker field in the dark, it gave her such a sense of freedom,” explains Rosi.

Rosi also has three year old twins, but felt they were perhaps a touch too young to stay out overnight, so the Wild Camp Out was a great way to bond with Tamara; an adventure for just the two of them. “The atmosphere on the night was really lovely; everyone was cooking, chatting and sharing. I didn’t know anyone else there when I arrived, but this didn’t matter at all,” says Rosi.

Rosi and Tamara did get some sleep despite all the excitement – they were really tired by midnight. Her suggestion for next year is that there is a quieter section of camping after midnight, so smaller children find it easier to nod off, while the older ones can carry on having fun.

Rosi is lives in North Kingston, so it was just a few stops on the bus to travel. Next year she hopes the event will take place again, so that she can bring her own family, plus some of Tamara’s schoolfriends. “I can’t wait to take part next year, there are so many activities for the children to do.”

Alana came along with her 10 year old daughter Julia and a friend and her daughter, and felt it was a perfectly timed event, with great weather and an ideal riverside location at YMCA Hawker. She was really impressed with the YMCA London South West’s team commitment and how much they cared about all those taking part.  “The YMCA staff worked so hard to make it a successful event,” says Alana.

Alana and Julia camped with their friends and had booked two pitches. They hope to return next year and bring more friends – and a barbecue! “Our favourite part of the evening was roasting marshmallows around the campfire. Next year we would like to take part in some campfire musical entertainment!” says Alana.

The tent and chairs were such good quality that Alana donated some money to YMCA so that she could take them away the next day. “We had such a great time,” says Alana, “and can’t wait for next year”.

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