KCO (formerly KUCA Camp Out, formerly Kid's Camp Out) is an annual overnight camping event that has been running in South Australia since 1978. It's also probably the largest event that the Uniting Church runs in Australia, as they've often had more than 2,700 kids, parents and helpers.
Groups of kids aged 7-12 years (with parents & leaders) come from all over the state. As well as camping, there's games, crafts, rides, activities, musicals, dramas, bands, and(sometimes) fireworks, in a safe, well organised setting.
My own involvement dates back to at least 1983, as you can see from this old, silverfish-eaten certificate I came across just the other day:
A few years later when I was too old to attend as a kid, I went instead as a teenage helper. Directing traffic (sometimes in the rain), setting up, packing down, all kinds of stuff.
A bit later still, I co-led the teenage helper group for a few years until 2000. This also meant being on the organising committee for the whole event. Believe me, there's a lot of planning that goes into making sure KCO runs smoothly! One of my highlights was that I got to have my own walkie-talkie (my call-sign was 'KUCA Big Dave' if you're interested).
Probably the only year I missed during that period was 1998, which KCO kindly let me have off as it coincided with my wedding day!
While I have many fond memories, I'm quite excited because tomorrow morning I'm getting on a bus with my two oldest children (along with over 100 other kids and parent leaders from our church) and heading off to KCO 2011.
Some things will have changed in the 10 years since I last went (for one thing it's now Nuriootpa instead of West Beach – I'll leave my boardies at home this time), but I know it's going to be a fantastic weekend!