What comes to mind when you think of the May bank holiday — a visit to the garden centre, a trip to the coast, or a time to relax with feet up? For many it is a time to enjoy a well-deserved break, but not so in North Yorkshire!
For over 30 years, May bank holiday has been given over to Greenfield Camp. This year, over 100 primary school children gathered on a farm near Boroughbridge to enjoy fun, games, Bible teaching — and mud!
Having set up camp in bright sunshine a week earlier, 40 leaders and over 100 campers arrived on Saturday morning, amidst torrential rain. Greenfield Camp soon became ‘Brownfield Camp’, but the weather didn’t dampen the children’s enthusiasm.
The weekend programme was rearranged, but then rearranged again to make the best of the weather. There was ‘It’s a knockout’, many and varied interest groups, a camp fire and, of course, time to hear God’s Word in the big tent and reflect on what was taught, through small group discussions after each teaching session.
Our speaker was Jem Hudson from Foundation Matters, Derby. He helped the children answer some big questions, like, ‘Who is God?’ ‘What is God like?’ ‘Who is Jesus?’ and ‘Why did Jesus come?’
It was a thrill to see the youngsters enthusiastically singing about the Lord and engaging so well in the Bible times and activities. Many good questions were asked and several children said they were keen to find out more.
But Greenfield is not just about younger children. For the past five years a second camp for 11-14 year olds has followed on during the half-term week. This year, over 50 campers listened well to Bible teaching from the life of the apostle Paul and were challenged to consider the claims of the Lord Jesus. This camp (Greenfield-2) aims to retain some features of the younger camp and has been a very encouraging addition to the work.
Over the years, hundreds of children have attended Greenfield, many of whom would have only had contact with the gospel through midweek church clubs, if at all.
One of the strengths of Greenfield is that most children who come either attend a club at a local church or are friends of those who do, and most of those churches supply leaders for the weekend.
There is therefore a strong connection between the work of the camp and the ongoing work of evangelical churches around the area. The impact of Greenfield is demonstrated by the fact that the majority of leaders have themselves been children on the camp in years gone by. Several would point to Greenfield Camp as instrumental in them trusting the Lord.
Greenfield Camp is run through Young Life Holidays (NYLC) and many of its leaders are past or present members of the Harrogate or York branches. YL aims to ‘evangelise the lost and disciple the found’, through its network of local groups.