Having spent the last week in Camp Rince Ceol in the Dunn School campus, Los Olivos, California, it’s time to put pen to paper.
Camp Rince Ceol is run by Sheila Ryan and Tony Davoren and this year they are celebrating 15 years running the camp.
Children come from all over the country to attend the camp and even as far away as Canada. The first impression when you come through the gates is the shear size of the operation. It’s located in the heart of wine country and the scenery is nothing short of breathtaking. With a large stage under a tall oak tree to greet the students as they arrive on the campus.
The days are filled with intense dance classes, where hard work is expected. Followed by evenings full of fun activities such as discos, pool time and sing-songs. There are so many things to do, every minute of the day is filled, offering the children such a rich and memorable experience. Nearly all of it is Irish dance and music orientated, which is the one thing they all have in common - the love of dance. And the experiences they have here at camp serve to enhance that love. The children here are having the time of their lives and I know that the friends they make and the bonds they share will last a lifetime.
I can only wish I had this when I was growing up. I feel a little bit jealous of all these kids that they are experiencing something I never had. :-)
One of the highlights for us was walking back to our house at the end of a long day of dancing and looking at the stars. The campus is so remote that there is very little light pollution so it feels like the stars are so close you could touch them, they are literally popping out of the sky. Myself and Aisling have never seen such a sky from Ireland.
Sheila and Tony have said on numerous occasions that they understand they are looking after parents most valuable possessions, which I think is a great attitude to have. And you can see time and time again that they care deeply for these children and want to look after them, and give them that lifetime experience that they will cherish forever.
My only problem is that they don’t have a camp in Ireland. If they did, it’s something I would definitely support and encourage others to support. I believe it’s something all children should experience; to build friendships, to work hard and to nurture a love of Irish Dance.
Irish Dancing News
David McCabe TCRG