We always enjoy working on community projects as the ideas, the passion and the results are always incredible. Furness Summer Camp was no exception. For 3 weeks over the summer, 50 of the Furness Peninsula’s brightest and best young people made the most of their holidays to come together at Furness College to take part in fun activities and also brush up on their English and Maths.
Workshop Media’s job was to capture what happened on video, turn it into a celebration trailer for the awards ceremony (which you can watch above) and produce a short documentary on how and why it was started to provide a record of progress and a case study for best practise..
A challenge. But one we knew we were going to enjoy and have some fun on! 😀
The Seed of Furness Summer Camp
Furness Summer Camp was the brain child of John Woodcock, MP for Barrow in Furness. Wanting to build aspiration in the young people of his constituency and realising that 6 weeks of summer holiday could allow the young people to slide back in terms of knowledge and skills he thought up the concept of a place where fun, health and learning could take place. John Woodcock even began training as a teaching assistant so he could get stuck in and help when Parliament was in recess.
You can read John’s hilarious blogs about his experiences ‘going back to school’ here.
What We Did On Their Summer Holiday!
The schedule was packed full of fun things that we knew would create great visuals (like canoeing and lazer zone) as well as the classroom based activities. We needed to show the story of the young people, from the moment they arrived, nervous and shy and then show their journey as their confidence built and they made new friends. We needed to show this in 3 minutes for the trailer and 10 minutes for the documentary. We also couldn’t spend every moment of the day with them.
So we worked with Claire Prosser (Lead Teacher) and Neil Doherty (Inspiring Barrow) to identify the physical activities and the classroom activities that would convey the spirit of Furness Summer Camp, the journey of the young people with successes and challenges and the results that mattered. We made sure that we captured moments at key points throughout the 3 weeks so we had footage that showed the change in behaviour and the quickly growing smiling faces on all the young people.
Talking Heads of Furness Summer Camp
But it didn’t end there! For the documentary we also needed to capture interviews with the key people behind the scenes and also the many community sponsors that provided the resources to ensure the summer camp happened. We scripted questions that would cover the motivations and efforts of the organisers and a shorter series of questions that would convey the sponsor’s involvement and their reasons for getting involved. To make best use of time we scheduled these interviews around the activities that we had marked down.
Thinking of the Audience
One of the important things in telling any story is to focus on your audience. Who will be watching? Although it would be a safe bet that the young people (and their proud parents) would be watching the trailer, we knew that policy makers, stake holders and businesses would be watching the documentary.
We needed a way to ensure that they would be brought into the documentary rather than just smiling at the fun of the young people. As John Woodcock would be there every single day, getting involved with helping the young people to learn (and ensuring that they had fun while doing so) it made a great deal of sense to show his journey in parallel to the young people. It isn’t everyday you see a Member of Parliament, training to be a Teaching Assistant and getting stuck in.
What this provided was an access point for the audience of the documentary. They could identify with John being surrounded by 50 excited young people and interested to hear his thoughts and experiences. So made sure that during each week we caught up with John to get his POV of what was happening and how he felt it was going.
A Nice Surprise
We knew we had done a good job as the trailer made the young people and parents laugh at all the right places and you could see it energise the room. We were proud of the documentary… and it turned out someone else was as well!
We’re calling that an A+! 😉