Diocese of Portsmouth

    Excited children enjoy holiday club fun

    Children and Young People
    17 Feb. 2023

    WHEN Alicia Lea first came to holiday club aged four, she never imagined that 11 years later she’d be helping to lead it.

    But the 15-year-old was one of two presenters introducing the mix of games, songs, drama and stories at the four-day holiday club hosted by Church of the Good Shepherd, Crookhorn.

    Children aged four to 11 have flocked to the annual February half-term get-together there for more than 20 years. This year’s was the first full-length holiday club since before the pandemic, after a series of digital and then one-day versions in recent years.

    “All I can remember of being here in Year R is that I had the time of my life,” she said. “I was quite shy to start with but by the end of the week, I'd be engaging with the activities. I’ve been here every year since. When I was in the youngest groups, I couldn’t wait to be in the older groups, and then I wanted to be one of the group leaders.

    “I was a bit nervous when I was asked to be upfront, but it’s great to be able to fill in the gaps and hold everything together. It feels like I’ve got more confident as the week has gone on.”

    The theme of this year’s holiday club was ‘The Great Transformer’, with Bible stories examining how Jesus transformed the lives of people he met. Crafts, drama sketches and games were based on similar themes, with the chance to design butterflies in paper and clay, and play games based around transformations. The drama serial was based around the transformation of a rubbish tip.

    The holiday club ran from Tuesday afternoon to Friday afternoon, with a special family session on Friday evening. The fun then continues with a holiday club service at the church on Sunday morning.

    Children aged four to 11 enjoyed the holiday club at Church of the Good Shepherd, Crookhorn
    This game involved children designing hairstyles using spaghetti
    Groups were challenged to keep the balloon in the air without using their hands
    Alicia Lea, 15, who was one of the two main presenters for this year's holiday club
    Four of the leaders are gunged in the specially-constructed gunge tank

    Courtney Harris, 25, who lives in Crookhorn, first came to the holiday club 20 years ago as a child herself. Now she’s bringing four of her cousins along, including Harry who is a wheelchair user.

    "I used to come when I was in Years 1 to 6," she said. "It's a really nice thing for the community to come together, and because not a lot of parents have money, it's good to have something local that doesn't cost much. I remember the gunk tank 20 years ago being the bit that everyone liked. And it's great they can involve Harry - it's very inclusive."

    The vicar, the Rev Janette Smith, who was gunged herself on the final afternoon, said: "Almost all the children who come are from families who don't come to church, so it's great that we can reach out to the community in this way."

    The holiday club service takes place from 10am on Sunday. More details are available on www.cogs.org.uk

    Children and Young People

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