A hugely over-subscribed summer camp in Limavady made the town the envy of every parish in Ireland after it was attended by over 300 young people recently.
Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin, the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, hailed HOPE 2018 as a shining example for congregations and communities throughout the country.
Archbishop Martin said Limavady was “the envy of every parish in Ireland”, and that HOPE was “the talk of every parish across the land”.
“How can a small parish attract so many people from the Limavady area each year? The project is so big it can only take people from Limavady Parish who are aged over 10. The answer is simple Faith – Fun – Friendship,” said the organisers.
A spokesperson said the three words in the hashtag Faith – Fun – Friendship, which was used to promote the camp, perfectly encapsulated its ethos.
“HOPE Summer Camp Limavady 2018 was another phenomenal success. The 300 places in the camp were filled online in a couple of hours and over 100 local people volunteered their expertise during the course of the week,” the organisers stated.
The festival was attended by Bishop of Derry, Donal McKeown, who said Mass for over 40, while ex-Manchester United star Fr. Philip Mulryne also spoke about his incredible journey from the Premiership to the Priesthood.
A wide range of activities were on offer, including, soccer, street dance, Irish dancing, team-building games, hair and beauty treatment, art, golf, pokeball hunt, drama games, zumba, slip and slide, rugby, hurling, hockey, dance, kayaking, surfing, hovercrafting, climbing, swimming, baseball, basketball, volleyball, American football, baking, fishing, orienteering, football and crafting. And the largest camp of its kind in Ireland took place despite a backdrop of straitened budgets.
Said the organisers: “Due to the current political situation grants were either drastically cut or removed. The ‘Friends Of HOPE’ campaign enlisted the support and generosity of local businesses. One very large private donation helped clear any financial worries for the hard working HOPE committee. Sponsorship from Rob Wheeldon (Coastal Core), Colly Hartin (Cohesion) and Sean Case Research For Good helped pay for the beautiful sports tops provided by O’Neills Sportwear. O’Neills have signed a three year deal with HOPE to supply all their leisure wear.”