The Sunderland boys camp which reaches 100 this summer and here's how to join

An annual ten-day summer camp for youngsters from Sunderland will go ahead this summer with pandemic safety measures in place.

Saturday, 3rd April 2021, 7:00 am

The Woodsmoke event has been held every year since 1912 with only the war years interrupting the record. Now the camp, which attracts up to 100 boys, is planning its 100th meeting from August 16.

The ten-day camp, which was the brainchild of clergymen at St Gabriel’s Church, Sunderland, has continued without a break – apart from the war years – since 1912 with numbers ranging from 50 to 100 each year.

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The boys camp which will return in August.

It was launched as a boys camp with boys sleeping in bell tents each led by a tent officer. A large marquee is used for meals and entertainment. There is a cookhouse with high quality food prepared by two ex-campers. The daily routine has not changed much since those early days with similar sporting competitions.

Tent trophies are competed for and one, the ‘Camp Pot’ was introduced in 1921. Soccer, Tent Tidying and an unusual game called Podex are also held.

This year’s activities will include white water rafting, laser quest, archery, rock climbing and mountain biking.

Sunderland man George Ford, who is involved in the event, said the age range of the youngsters involved will be from 10 to 17 and the latest government guidelines will be followed to keep all campers safe.

One of the boys camps in the 1980s.

To find out more, email [email protected]

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Boys at the camp in 1928.
The organisers of the summer camp.
Boys enjoying the summer camp in 1939.