HOPE Limavady is easily the largest camp of its kind anywhere in Ireland. Between August 10 and August 17, 290 young people aged between 9 and 16 and over 80 volunteers enjoyed the activities on offer each day at HOPE.
The camp offers Faith Formation each day and this is not only interactive but catered to suit the various ages within the group. The older kids were treated to a Q and A session with Tyrone Manager, Mickey Harte as well as an inspirational talk from Kickboxing Champion Ursula Agnew.
In sticking to the faith based aspect of the camp, all groups attended adoration on Thursday and Bishop Donal McKeown visited the camp twice, the second time to celebrate mass. The Michaela foundation, the charity set up in memory of Michaela Harte, was heavily involved in the faith work as well. HOPE is divided into four teams, each a saints name and the younger children learned about the lives of Bl. Jacinta, St John Paul, St Pio and St. Faustina.
HOPE is the brainchild of local priest Father James Devine and local teacher Leo McCloskey.
Together they have created a unique programme which is attracting interest across the North.
“The theme of faith, fun and friendship runs through HOPE activities,” explained teacher Leo McCloskey.
“The camp was opened by Meabh Carlin and Bishop McKeown on Sunday August 10th. A wide array of activities were offered throughout the week; A World Cup, Art, Olympics, Carrowmena Outdoor pursuits, Kayaking, Surfing, An All Ireland, A Bake Off, A World Series, Cardio Dance, Snorkelling, Slip and Slide and a Talent Show to finish off. All participants in HOPE received a bespoke HOPE Sports top with their initials.
“The cost of the week was only £10 a child or £15 a family. The generosity of the local business community assured the camp covered the considerable costs involved in a project of this size.
“The week was an amazing success again this year. Over 80 volunteers aged between 16 and 60+ gave up their time and expertise to make HOPE a success. Somehow the selfie taken by Fr James and Bishop Donal summed up the spirit of the week.
“Derry star Sean Leo McGoldrick popped in to referee at the All Ireland organised by Bernie Mullan and Declan Toner. He was amazed by the numbers attending. Fellow GAA man Mickey Harte was there throughout the week.
“The week was a tremendous success and Christ The King was packed for the closing mass. HOPE is a source of great pride to Limavady Parish, it was created there and for the second year in a row it has exceeded all expectations. The problem now is making HOPE 3 in 2015 even better,” added Leo.