Edmund Rice Camps

Edmund Rice Camps

Edmund Rice Camps (often referred to as ERC or Eddie Rice Camps) is a charitable volunteer organisation closely associated with the Congregation of Christian Brothers, and inspired by the work of Edmund Ignatius Rice. Edmund Rice Camps works to provide opportunities for recreation, challenge and growth to young participants and families for whom there would otherwise be no such opportunities.

History of the Edmund Rice Camps

The first two 'Edmund Rice' camps took place at Parade College in Melbourne, Australia, in January 1981, as a form of community outreach for the students of Parade, and as a way of sharing the extensive resources of Parade left unused during the Australian summer. [Joyce Williams, ‘For 57 boys school was perfect place for a holiday’, "The Advocate" (Melbourne), January 29, 1981, p. 9.] These first camps catered for two groups of children: one for at-risk boys from Melbourne, and another camp for refugee children who had escaped with their families from Communist Vietnam.

Persons associated with the Christian Brothers helped to spread the concept of these camps to other states of Australia and overseas. The first Edmund Rice Camp in Tasmania took place in January 1985, [ [http://www.edmundrice.org/dispatches/content/50209.html Presence, Compassion, Liberation ] ] and the first beyond Australian shores was held near Dunedin, New Zealand in May 1991. ['Kiwi Camps kick off', "Rice Grains" (newsletter of Edmund Rice Camps Victoria) No. 11, June 1991]

Edmund Rice Camps Today

Relatively autonomous Edmund Rice Camps organisations are now active in every state of Australia as well as in New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, England, Kenya and Tanzania. The first Edmund Rice Camp in Kolkata, India took place at the end of November 2006, and steps are being taken to formalise similar camps in Chicago, in the United States. [ [http://www.edmundrice.org.au/Edmund_Rice_Camps/Camps_Worldwide/Development_of_Camps_in_America/ edmundrice.org.au - Development of Camps in America ] ]


The volunteer leaders on the camps are young adults from the community. The participants on an Edmund Rice Camp come from diverse backgrounds and situations, but all benefit from an involvement with the camps. Participants are invited to attend Edmund Rice Camps based on referrals from a range of sources including schools, government agencies and other organisations. Referrals arise in a variety of circumstances. These may include social, economic or emotional hardship. Alternatively, participants may simply benefit from a break in their normal lives.

Two fundamental characteristics of Edmund Rice Camps are the one-to-one ratio maintained between volunteer 'leaders' and participants on camp, and the importance placed on the need for volunteers to reflect on their on-camp experiences.


The status of Edmund Rice Camps worldwide varies, for there is no worldwide structure, but rather a series of localised and largely independent volunteer groups. The majority of these organsations are incorporated, not-for-profit groups (and hence are not owned by the Christian Brothers as such). There are exceptions such as the Edmund Rice Camps in Townsville, Queensland, where ERC is a ministry of the Diocese of Townsville. In countries where the movement is tiny or quite informal, the whole impetus for the running of these children's camps is in the hands of individual Christian Brothers and Edmund Rice Volunteers and has no independent legal status. 'Edmund Rice Camps' in Tanzania and Kenya, where the Christian Brothers are highly active, are two examples.

Another exception are the camps based in Cork, Ireland. While all Irish ERC activities are coordinated from Dublin, the Cork "Edmund Rice Action Camps" are run under the auspices of the Presentation Brothers, the other congregation founded by Edmund Rice.


External links

* ERC Victoria [http://www.ercvic.com]
* ERC Tasmania [http://www.erctas.org.au/]
* ERC New South Wales [http://www.edmundricecamps.com/home.html]
* ERC Queensland [http://www.ericeqld.org.au/erc/]
* ERC South Australia [http://www.eddiericecamps.org.au]
*ERC South Australia Site map (http://www.eddiericecamps.org.au/html/sitemap.html)
* [http://www.edmundrice.org.nz Edmund Rice Camps] New Zealand

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