Residential Centres and their users

Had a great time today at Eton Dorney Centre talking with a network of residential centre managers. I was asked to facilitate a discussion looking from a users perspective …. I used the comments and e-mails you’d typed as a result of this post as the basis for the seminar (thank you).
We had a lot of fun and some useful discussion, they were a really up-beat group who clearly take an enormous pride in what they do. But I pushed them into flagging up some of the frustrating things they encounter with youth group residentials. It makes for a bit of an ‘ouch’ but could prove a useful check list of ‘do nots’
1. Not reading the info
2. Arriving really early or really late
3. Not leaving at the agreed time
4. Booking in ’40’ people and turning up with only a dozen
5. Not clearing up
6. Moving everything around and not putting it back
7. Not reporting breakages, concealing damage
8. Not being organised/prepared & the young people getting bored
9. Cancelling at the last ‘minute’
10. Being late without any warning for meal times
11.Wanting the centre to be the strict disciplinarians

bunks.jpg Now remember I pushed the group into making the list, they were actually really positive about what we [the youth workers] do and their own role as hosts. Having assembled the list though we had a good discussion around what was the leaders’ responsibility and what was the centre’s AND how we could improve communication, understanding and co-operation.
Some of this will flow into the training I’m writing on “Zen and the art of the residential” but I got a good glimpse today of the need to communicate clearly and honestly with residential centres, understand their policies and requirements, communicate any changes beforehand, Inform and discuss with the centre while you are there and leave the place in the condition you’d like to find it.
It also re-inforced how useful a site visit is prior to the weekend.

World Aids Day

1st December is World Aids day. To get your group involved in a HUGE and creative photo petition then have a look at this, It’ll be a great reminder to world leaders that our eyes are on them. Also Andy Freeman of 24/7 is organising a period of prayer for the World Aids Crisis. E-mail him if you’d like to sign up or get some resources to help you/your group with this.
There are two useful webistes for more info on HIV/Aids here & here.

Youth Work & Youth Ministry Conferences 2006 (UK)

I’ve been having a trawl round and tried to track down ALL the youth work and youth ministry conferences. I don’t claim this is a definitive list but thought I’d flag up progress to date. Please let me know of others if you know of them. This still seems like a small list given the number of faith based practicioners there are!
Just before we plummet towards Christmas it might be a good idea to block some time-out for 2006 AND a conference. I think a conference is crucial, time for worship, get some input, chat/pray with like minded people AND not be responsible for anything!



Youthblogist reflection

23rd-26th Jan ’06

Bible Centred Youth Worker
High Leigh Conference Centre

Children & Youth from the Good Book Company. Teaching emphasis

31 Jan-1 Feb ’06

CONNECT Trainers Conference
The Hayes, Swanick

For those training volunteer youth workers. I’ll be there!

3rd-6th Feb ’06

Soul Net from Soul Survivor
Centre Parcs, Elveden Forest

Soul Surviovor esque time of spiritual refreshment, input and Centre Parcs

28-30th June ’06

Youth Specialists Conference
High Leigh

Baptist Get together, can’t tell you any more than that.

Nov ’06 dates TBA

Youthwork the Conference
2 Venues, Southport (in the North) and Eastbourne (in the South)

The biggest get together(s) of volunteer leaders. Also have a 1 day extra day for employed youth workers


Lee Abbey normally host a youth worker retreat and conference.

Not happening in 2006

3rd-7th Jan ’07

International Association for the Study of Youth Ministry. High Leigh

Worldwide gathering of youth ministry theologians/practicioners!

3rd-5th Mar ’07

Matrix conference for Employed Christian Youth Workers. High Leigh

Uber Funky, great fun, awesome input. I’ll be there

Additional: Youth Alpha conference Feb 16/17th ’06
I reckon one of the biggest gatherings of youth workers is actually at Greenbelt. If you’ve not been then consider it recommended.

Just another Splurgic Monday

‘Well it’s just another Splurgic Monday, wish it was ___________ * (enter your day off here) ‘cos that’s my fun-day, my I don’t have to preach day, it’s just another Splurgic Monday!’
Greetings and welcome to the weekly string of contextless links and html hot tips.
finger point.jpg First of all …. a laugh, you have to check this out on Vintage Faith. It’s a complaint that has been phoned through to a Church (with tremendous grace and humility) But someone somwehere has used it as a sample and made a mix of it. Wasn’t sure whether to link to it or not, but here it is! Enjoy Talking of blogs I rather liked this idea on YSMarko for a five line you! (Could have some procrastination mileage).
My list of Youth work/ministry conference for ’06/’07 is coming together but I can’t find details of the Baptist Youth work convention, Lee Abbey dates or IASYM 2007. Anyone?
Crusaders have their holiday brochure out and I guess CYFA and SU/Runton should be out this week …. It’s the right time to be encouraging people to think about a Camp next summer AND especially some of the older teens’ applying to be ‘junior’ leaders.
And finally, Ken asked me to remind you about his resourcing page! Job done

Fusion Training Day

As predicted the Fusion EXPO day was top-notch and a huge encouragement. Having been on my soap box about this for months I was really disappointed that I’d failed to mobolize many Diocesan peeps to this, however it was good to bump into Anna of Oxford and also Dave who has just joined Aylesbury YFC. There was a good turn out overall though with folk there from as far afield as Manchester, Brighton, Wales and London.
The thrust of the day was the why and the how of the Church(es) engaging with community. There were some great stories too of how Open-crowd festivals, Community research and inter Church work had achieved this! Hearing enthusiastic stories from folk who’d caught the vision AND put stuff into action was fantastic.
A humbling, encouraging, exciting and well earthed Day!

The case of the vanishing Power Point

pc chop.jpg Things seem to be going Perennially Pear-shaped at the moment. I was teaching a module on the Local Ministry course tonight and had put together a session on Youth Evangelism that revolved around a Power Point presentation. Fired up the lap-top and found that said presentation was conspicuous in its absence as was several gigabytes of other stuff … gone, not there …. completely absent! As I’ve often said,
If you can’t take a joke, you shouldn’t have joined!”
I switched to plan ‘B’ which was in fact, think of a new plan!
Actually I really enjoyed the evening. We explored exisiting models of youth evangelism then looked at where young people are at culturally then critiqued existing models and explored new ones. The discussion then flowed into Ecclesiology and some fab observations emerged. At least two of the bods are going to buy Hirsch and Frost as a result of our exploration of Church and Mission.
Encouraging evening (but I’d still like all my computer documents back!)

Apologies to Winston

As a result of yesterday’s reflection on events at
the youth club and my use of a quote from the Sci-Fi spoof Galaxy Quest I had an e-mail from Daniel (thanks). He felt a fuller “no surrender” quote was in order and send me the text of a Churchill speech from 1940. I’ve modified it slightly ….
Ladies and Gentlemen
We shall not flag nor fail. We shall go on to
the end. We shall work with young people in Rural
or Urban settings, in Village Halls and on Estates ; we shall minister with growing confidence and growing faith.
We shall defend young people of our island whatever the cost may be; we shall fight the media,
educational-exclusion, branding, ?Asbos? and lack of opportunity.
We shall never surrender!

Now that’s what I call pear shaped

I have a heavy heart this morning. Last night at the youth club on a local estate where I do a placement, things went PEAR-shaped! We ended up having to call the police to clear the building and I’m wondering where we go from here. We’ve built relationships with the young people for 6 months, we have a good and positive team who like the young people BUT none of that made any difference last night!
C’est La youthwork! But to quote the Commander Taggart from Galaxy Quest,
Never give up, Never surrender!

Embrace, create and include

chocolat.jpg “We can’t go around measuring our goodness by what we don’t do, by what we deny ourselves, what we resist and whom we exclude. I think we’ve got to measure goodness by what we embrace, what we create, and whom we include.”
Père Henri’s Easter homily in Chocolat