Guest Blogger – Madeleine Penfold ‘Through the Eye of the Volunteer’

In early February, Camp South Africa was lucky enough to be joined by respected photographer Madeleine Penfold on a 8-day trip down to Camp in Port Elizabeth to document our applicants journey throughout their time at Camp in South Africa.

Below, Maddie tells us about her experience…

‘I’d like to share something that I’ve worked on recently that has meant a lot to me.

As a photographer who loves travel and to be involved in charity work, it felt like a dream come true when I was asked by Camp South Africa to join them on their upcoming promotional trip to South Africa. Here’s what I experienced…

I’ve spent the last week shooting in Port Elizabeth, South Africa for a charity programme that places applicants in schools to coach kids in Sports, Life skills, English and Maths.

My mission was to capture what life as an applicant on the programme is like to help encourage people to participate in giving children the opportunity to take part in sporting activities that they wouldn’t usually have access to.

Camp South Africa was started in partnership with the charity United Through Sport in order to recruit applicants from around the world to go to PE, SA and coach children in sports.  The need for this is so important. Unfortunately, sport isn’t on the national curriculum, which means unless coaches volunteer their time, children will not be educated in this area.

The programme also includes life skills lessons, which teaches children human rights, equality, gender and social issues.

For children who show a high level of talent of dedication there is a school of excellence programme which opens up opportunities of sporting scholarships.

I was lucky enough to be accompanied by Camp South Africa Brand Manager Linzi Evans and videographer and CEO of What Marketing Chris Townsend. We shared the combined vision of finding out everything we could during our 8 days to tell the Camp South Africa story through video and photography.

Prior to the trip, we sat down and carefully analysed what would be needed for the website, marketing and social media material. Our combined backgrounds in film, advertising, marketing as well as a few years of industry experience meant we complimented each other incredibly well and made a pretty good team for the job if I do say so myself!

Our itinerary meant we would be experiencing everything an applicant would; from coaching on the field, teaching in the classroom, living in the shared accommodation with other applicants, experiencing the breath-taking landscapes and incredible adrenaline activities South Africa has to offer.

I was blown away by the journey I went on. We filmed, photographed, and snap-chatted every hour of the day and edited late into the night, this is exactly what drove the three of us and we quickly picked up conversation across social media.

Having spent an intense 8 days experiencing as much as possible, I feel very strongly about the difference the programme is making and would highly recommend it to anyone with a desire to coach, help and travel.

Seeing the response of the children being taught sport and the difference the applicants were making was heart warming to be at the centre of. The true value added to the kids’ lives by applicants is huge.

Of course, we had to try all the things applicants do around teaching / coaching too, which meant road trips, shark cage diving, sky diving, the worlds highest bungee jump, coastal routes and backpackers hostels were all to be filmed and photographed. Not bad for a working week.

The aim of Camp South Africa is simple – to provide sport, education and life skills to children from disadvantaged backgrounds.