Sixty  7-11 year olds, ‘happy campers’ came to Minsteracres for a week in August for the Salvation Army’s annual junior camp.

The week is popular not just with the youngsters, but with the leaders who accompany them. They are volunteers and give up a week of their annual holiday to come.

In charge for the first time is new divisional children’s officer Stephen Burn. He and the team are responsible for dizzying variety of games and activities, both on and off site.

“This year we had an animal interaction session in the ballroom with handlers bringing unusual animals like snakes and spiders for the kids to see. Some have never visited a zoo, so this would be the first time they’ve been up close to anything like that!” says Stephen.

Like many a first-time visitor, Stephen was struck by the surroundings at Minsteracres. “It’s so serene and peaceful you’d think that adding 60 children would ruin the atmosphere, but it doesn’t! In fact the beautiful setting allows you to focus, and it’s something the kids comment on too.”

The group has been coming for the past six years and has seen a lot of changes in the youth centre. Last year the big change was the newly fitted kitchen. This year, the leaders were delighted with the brand new shower room installed especially for them. “That shower’s fantastic,” says Nick Cook, who’s been coming since the camps started here.

Stephen agrees, “To share a bathroom with the children can be tough, so to have the privacy of our own room means the world.”