I was on the Charity Hour Twitter a few months ago, when someone told me to apply the Eden Communities Camp. This lady said, it will not only change your charity but also you as a person. I filled in the application, had a telephone interview and then found out we were selected to spend a weekend at the Eden Project and take part in a community camp. I had seen and heard about the Eden Project (big bio domes), but had never been there or really knew what went on there. So was excited for what the weekend would bring!
On the 17th March, we began our road trip to Eden Project, not really knowing what to expect. On the way we posted our “on the way selfie” into the group. I remember someone posting, it would be “the most exhausting but one of the best weekends of your life”. That is a pretty spot on way to describe it.
We were blown away on arrival by how incredibly amazing this place was. There were over 60 other people here from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, who all do something to make a difference in their community. We sat down with people we never met before, listening to talks about how Eden became what it was. Can you believe it all started with a £500 budget! We spoke with and learnt about what different people do to make a difference to their community. We had dinner together and then after dinner had to tell people who The Lewis Foundation were. We were told to bring something that represented our charity, which was the gift bags. It was pretty scary putting ourselves out there to strangers, but people were so supportive and helpful suggesting ideas and things we could do.
We were staying on the Eden site and slept in their Snooze boxes. They were sustainable containers and everything was made from things that would normally have been waste. It was pretty cool.
Getting picked up and taken to Eden by the Land Trains was a fun experience. It was a full on day, learning how others made a difference in their community despite resistance and also how we could grow. It makes you realise how inspiring and passionate people are when they really want to make a difference to others in their community.
The morning started with some upbeat talks from Sue Hill and Phil Waters about creative ways to bring people together through fire festivals and adults getting involved in play to make a difference. It was great to explore different ways of getting people involved.
People were really willing to help us and talk to us about fundraising, funding and different activities we could try. We had some great talks on this from Kimberly Hendler and Dave Chapman who took their time to speak with us and help us with developing our charity through funding and creative ways to make a difference.
Then we had the privilege of a private guided tour of the rainforest dome from Mike, who was mental but so much fun! We actually learnt about what Eden was about, the rainforest, food and animals that live within the bio dome. We got to sample cocoa beans and plants, some tasty and some not so great. It is an incredible place.