“Many happy memories are etched in my mind and my heart”

Wednesday March 2nd 2016

My name is Beth and I am 16 and a half. I attend St Patrick’s Academy in Dungannon where I am in Y13 studying Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology. I live with my mum, dad and younger brother Mark in the countryside outside Dungannon.

Five years ago I had the opportunity to attend the very first Michaela Foundation Summer Camp in Glencull Primary School and I had such a wonderful time so many happy memories are etched in my mind and my heart. I am quite a shy person so initially I was a bit apprehensive going to the camp as I didn’t really know too many just a couple of girls from the school and some teachers who willingly give of their time to be leaders but my mum encouraged me and I am so glad she did.

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Each day brought new and exciting challenges. At the camp we were put into small groups and every so often we would change activity and leader. This meant that every day I did crafts, Irish, games, spiritual renewal and fashion. As my confidence grew and I felt more at ease with the other girls and the leaders I really looked forward to going to the camp each day. The leaders were lovely people and had the great ability to see our strengths and bring out the best in us. I admire those who work as leaders in the Michaela camps and I would really love to have the opportunity someday to be a leader myself.

The final day of the camp was very special as we attended a beautiful Mass in the local church where we all had a part to play in the celebration of the Eucharist. Parents were invited to attend and my mum, dad and brother came and then we had a tea party in the school for everyone. The camp ended with a hakka dance and the release of hundreds of balloons bound together in the shape of rosary beads representing the deep faith Michaela had and was proud to share.

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Five years on and the Michaela camps are going from strength to strength and take place in many counties in Ireland which is a wonderful reflection on those who began the Foundation and came up with the idea initially. Obviously the camps require financial support and I urge people to continue to donate and support the Michaela Foundation ensuring the values, morals and ideals which Michaela held so dearly will continue to flourish and blossom in the young girls who will attend future camps and grow to be young women living out their lives being the best they can be.

I had the most amazing week ever because I was accepted for who I was  and through the activities I was encouraged to grow and develop in confidence and faith and to realise that there are no barriers or limits to what I can achieve if I believe in myself and  have in God.