FYT in Scotland - a brief history

FYT Camps

picture from a camp FYT in Scotland ran camps for young people from 1978 to 1990. Many of the leaders involved in the camps had been leaders in SU-Scotland camps.

The camps were started up with the encouragement and support of Jim Punton, FYT's London-based Training Officer, and of the FYT UK Committee.

Places where camps were held included Glen Etive, Whiting Bay, Aberfoyle and Kinlochard. Most were held under canvas. About four camps were run each summer with numbers at each ranging from about 12 to 40.

Many of the young people who attended the camps came from groups FYT were working with. Others came via social work departments, community education officers, etc.

"We have to affirm the kids within their own culture and not negate it, because they're returning to it. We must relate to them it terms of their codes and priorities and recognise that these priorities will not be the same as ours."
Jim Punton

Very many of the young people attending the camps were from very disadvantaged backgrounds. And many had little contact with "church" or "christian" things - a contrast with the clientele of the SU-Scotland camps that most of our leaders originated from.

Those leading the camps included: Lorna Chapman, Christine Pettie, Bob Johnston, Ronnie McIlquham, Graham Aitken and Graham Bryce. Many on the leadership teams at the first camps had been leaders at the SU-Scotland camps led by Jim Punton at Kingscross on Arran (more here).

The purpose of the camps - what were they for? The leaflets advertising the camps said this: "We aim to provide all who come to the camps with a really good holiday, doing new things, and discovering what it means to live together with others away from home. We will share thoughts about life, what it's for and how to live it, and will consider what it means to be a Christian today."

"One way to describe the camps is REFRESHING. It was absolutely refreshing to work with Christian teams who accepted the Glasgow street kids as they were ... and worked to fit into the kids' culture"
Gwen Rodgers, Australia


Gwen Rogers of Melbourne, Australia visited the camps in summer 1981. Here is an articlePDF that Gwen wrote about her experience.

The Australian magazine Gap - a Journal of Christian Youth and Community Work Issue 4-81, p6-7 had a transcript of Jim Punton talking about the camps (October 1980). Camping - just for Kicks?PDF This article explains Jim's thinking about the importance, and the challenges, of a camping programme. It's a good description of the philosophy underpinning the camps.

Leaders at a camp at Whiting Bay, Arran

Keeping cool

Radio Clyde included an item on the camps in their Sunday morning program in 1987. We have recently discovered a tape of this item and converted it to MP3 format. It includes interviews with Lorna Chapman and Craig Smillie and some of the campers. You can listen or download here (It is about 7minutes (3.7MB)


FURTHER MATERIAL on the campspicture from a camppicture from a camp
photographs from the camps
camps year by year
the leadership teams at each camp