Q&A for Helpers

1. What is the St John Bosco Children's Camp?

The St John Bosco Children's Camp provides an exciting opportunity for children to have a unique camping holiday in the Essex countryside. Children live in tents, in groups of seven or eight, and can take part in a full programme of planned and supervised activities. Cooked meals are provided at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

2. Who runs the Camp?

The Camp is run by a group of volunteers who give their time for free, motivated by the fantastic impact that the Camp has on the children who attend. Each week we have between 40-70 full time helpers that visit the camp. They work hard throughout the week to make sure that all the children in their care are safe and having a brilliant time. Helpers come from a diverse range of backgrounds and jobs, with teachers, lecturers, policemen, builders, lawyers, surveyors, engineers, nurses and many more. Many helpers even came as children when they were younger!

3. When does the Camp run?

The Camp runs every summer for three weeks – two weeks for boys and one week for girls. This year's dates can be found here.

4. Where is the Camp?

The site is set in over forty acres of Essex countryside, near Colchester, and is owned and maintained by SVP volunteers.

5. How old do I need to be to volunteer?

All our helpers must be at least 16 years old on the day that they arrive at Camp.

6. Which camps can I volunteer for?

Volunteers can help at one, two or all three of our camps each year. For first time helpers, we encourage male helpers to apply for the boys' camp, and females for the girls' camp.

7. How does the Catholic ethos affect the Camp?

We are a Catholic Camp and Mass or a Communion service is held each day. Children and helpers are encouraged to attend. All children are required to attend Sunday Mass. Above all, the Catholic faith teaches us to treat each other with respect and kindness, something that the children are encouraged to do.

8. How can I help?

If you volunteer with us, you will be able to help out in a variety of ways. This could range from cooking meals in the kitchen for the children, to helping run activities and organise competitions.

We create an environment where each child is respected and encouraged, so that they discover new talents in themselves. Just like the children, every helper is different. We all need patience and good humour, but everyone has gifts to bring - and the different children need helpers who are sporty, helpers who are gentle, helpers who are energetic, helpers who are good listeners, etc

From the moment the children wake up, until they go to sleep, we hope that there is always something for them to do. This takes a lot of energy! But the atmosphere is superb, everyone gets involved together, and new people are always paired up with experienced helpers.

9. What do I have to do to become a helper?

New helpers are required to undergo a selection process and, along with existing helpers attend a training day to receive health & safety and safeguarding training.

10. What is involved in the selection process?

Each helper will have to complete the following three stages:

1. Undergo an informal interview at the training day.
2. Complete an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check.
3. Provide the names and contact details of two references.

11. How do I apply to be a helper?

You can apply to help at the Camp via online or printed application form, both available here.

12. How much does it cost?

We do not charge our volunteers to attend Camp. However, the Camp costs a lot of money to run, so donations are always very much appreciated.

13. What should I bring to Camp?

We suggest basing your packing on the childrens' packing list, which can be found here. Bear in mind that the weather can be changeable, and that it gets fairly cold in the evenings. A sleeping bag is required.

14. What are the transportation arrangements?

Helpers can provide their own transport to the camp.

Alternatively, we are always grateful to have helps travelling with the children on their pre-arranged coaches. Pick up points are: Westminster Cathedral Hall (Victoria) or Beckton, (East London) or Harold Hill, (Romford).

Please specify on your booking form the route you would like to take.

15. Where can I get updates on the Camp?

You can follow us on Twitter at @boscocamp

16. Can I bring my friends?

We always welcome more volunteers, so please invite them to apply!