Why we do what we do

The history and purpose behind Summer Madness.

Summer Madness exists to enthuse, equip and engage the youth and young adults of Ireland in the Christian faith so that they may be real change makers in their churches and communities across the island.

Our history

Summer Madness - the festival - is approaching its 30th birthday. Back in 1987 John Kee saw a great spiritual need in the young people around him. A need for something new and fresh in the way of worship, teaching and the arts. A new way to encourage young people in their Christian faith and help them grow in it. With a bold mixture of prayer, courage and - let’s be honest – naivety, Summer Madness was born.

Over the years so much has changed: the location, the camp, the activities, but when it comes to the mission and the purpose of Summer Madness nothing has changed, we just word it slightly more eloquently now.

Summer Madness exists to enthuse, equip and engage the youth and young adults of Ireland in the Christian faith so that they may be real change makers in their churches and communities across the island.

With that in mind Summer Madness is more than just a five day festival. We exist to see young people encounter God, give their lives to Him and grow in their relationship with Him. Of course, festivals are one of the ways we do this, but as an organisation we have become so much more. We work with young people, youth leaders, churches and other organisations throughout the year to see the Gospel taken throughout Ireland – and beyond.

Here’s what a couple of church leaders have said about Summer Madness:

"As an organisation you will be hard pushed to find any other organisation in all of Ireland that has brought the 1000’s and 1000’s of teenagers to faith that we have seen come to faith through Summer Madness."

"Summer Madness has had the most significant impact for the Kingdom in Ireland than any other organisation in Ireland. Both in terms of people coming to faith and also with encouraging hundreds of people to take up full time ministry positions."

In Ireland we’re typically not very good at taking compliments and we don’t use these to boast, but to give all the glory to God for how he has used Summer Madness in bringing his Kingdom on Earth. It is our privilege to be a part of that and we are committed to continuing this work for the next 30 years again.

So, why not join us this year and check out the Madness?

Our Team

Jasper Rutherford

Jasper has been part of the team for over a decade but officially part of the staff since 2012. Jasper is a youth worker at heart and passionate about seeing lives transformed in unexpected places through the love of Jesus. He is a Pioneer Evangelist with Church Army, so please keep him going about being a Captain! If you cant find him or track him down, just walk along the Belmount Road coffee shops and you are sure to bump into him!

Jasper is married to Lynne and they have 3 young kids. Always the optimist he is a passionate/deluded Liverpool fan dreaming of the long lost glory days.

John Kee

John was there in the beginning, kicking off the Madness as the C of I Youth Officer, following an inspiring trip to Greenbelt in 1983! His background has been youth work of various sorts for most of his life, (voluntary church-based then statutory work in ELBs) but he reckons that his degree in theology and teaching experience were the best grounding he could have for God's calling into youth ministry.

He is married to Arlene and their three children grew up through the festival years and continue to inspire his hopes and aspirations for a new generation of Jesus' followers in Ireland. He loves cycling, cinema and.... camping!

Anne Shields

Anne joined Summer Madness in 2014 after spending 25 years in the travel industry and she really keeps everything together and running smoothly in the office. She is really excited about growing the influence and reach of Summer Madness and is excited about all that God will do through us.

She is married to a lovely man called Brian, who is her rock and they have two gorgeous but very different daughters, Louise and Rachel. The family is completed by last but definitely not least their dog Alfie.

Paul Meneely

Paul joined the team in May 2015. He helps manage the administration within the office and work for the festivals. Paul has a vision of seeing young and old people confident in who God has made them to be and creative in how they use their skills for his Kingdom.

Paul recently married Alice who works as a graphic designer in Belfast and together they enjoy cooking, travelling, and looking after their fish, Bert.

Stuart Bothwell

Stuart is 28 and married to the lovely Emma. Together, they live in East (East East) Belfast and are passionate about seeking the flourishing of the city. Stuart has recently joined the team at Summer Madness and Catalyst and serves in communications.

There’s little Stuart loves more than sharing meals with friends both old and new. He is on the constant search for new music to wrap his ears around and his top three dinner guests would be Jimmy Fallon, Jerry Seinfeld and Jasper Rutherford.