I forgot to announce the winner of the ‘Leading on Empty” guessathon, oops. The number that I wrote in whilst in the Little Chef restaurant was (*drum roll*) …… SEVENTEEN.
So, Laura please e-mail your address and It’ll be with you when/if the postal service at Swindon feel like doing some work.
I’m up to London in 2 weeks time (14th Oct) to the LICC and specifically this session with Nick Shepherd on young people and spiritual maturity. Leave a comment if you’ll be there OR fancy a grand day out from Oxford.
and making me laugh:
A new middle east crisis erupted last night as Dubai Television was refused permission to broadcast ‘The Flintstones’.
A spokesman for the channel said….
‘A claim was made that people in Dubai would not understand the humour, but we have heard that people in – Abu Dhabi Do

Minibus aquisition

This is a re-posting of an article I wrote way way back, it may be useful
minibus convoy.JPG The last six weeks has seen a steady stream of emergency type calls to the Youth Adviser hot desk. One of the recurring “emergencies” has been “Help, we need to get hold of a minibus to get to ………” Sadly I have no minibuses in my youth-work arsenal (although I’ve always wanted one I could trick up into an A Team type stylee).
Getting a minibus at the last minute is extremely difficult short of a commercial hire (TVR are my recommendation) but in preparation for next year here’s the Youthblog Minibus Scrounging Algorithm:
1. Minibuses are expensive so owners only lend them out to people they know/trust.
2. Build a relationship with the local School, Voluntary Youth Service or Community group that has a minibus.
3. Ensure that you have a driver that has a D1 on their licence and has completed whatever the local authority certification is. (and that you have a “small bus permit)
4. When you ask to borrow a bus be professional about it! Either write or ask (but if you ask follow it up with a letter). You need to detail your organisation, the event that you are taking a group to and why you are asking. Communicate that you have a suitably qualified driver who also has X years of experience at working with young people. Be very specific about when it will be collected and returned. Enquire as to what they’d charge so that you can build the figure into your budget. It’s also worth mentioning that “You appreciate them looking at this request for help from a community group”
5. If you get the bus then you now have a chance to shine. Do everything as stated in your letter AND return the BUS shinier, cleaner, tidier than its been since new to show your gratitude. (I was so embarrassed once on reading the log book of a minibus belonging to a local school that a local ‘christian’ group had written in the condition column, “Returned filthy as found!)
6. Write and thank the lending body!


Shedlike Update

I’ve been quiet about sheds for a while (ok, at least on the blog) but it’s time to revisit them.
Just before the summer I was contacted by a Marketing company who pointed out that I had flagged up one shed company BUT failed to mention their client, Tiger Sheds
In an attempt to maintain a BBC like impartiality in my wooden building coverage I am now saying, check out Tiger Sheds!*
I’m really liking the 16×8 for £750 but have neither the readies …. or the energy to level 128 square feet of garden 🙂
In terms of the national outbuilding museum** I have two urgent projects. One is to build a store for the Kayaks, which I am rather grandly called the ‘Boathouse Project!’ The other (and more pressing) is to build a winter shelter for the Guinea pigs.
Bring on the shiplap, nails and creosote, oh yes!
* Other shed suppliers are available
** Otherwise known as my garden

German progress

deutschbookpile.jpgBoth the long term readers of the blog will know of my off-on attempts to learn German and in particular my 18 year battle to complete the informative tome (unhelpfully titled) “German in Three Months!”
Recently I discovered a new resource called simply “German” by Michel Thomas which was enormously helpful and at last given me a handle on the future (my German ’til then could pretty much deal only with the past and present). It’s not yet got me to the stage yet where Stu P (regular reader) doesn’t laugh when I speak German, but there’s definitely progress.
BUT, I now have an even more dynamic learning resource in that we have a German lady living with us and we have become a falteringly bi-lingual (and sometimes bi-confused) household. Although last night I was trying to talk about the elections that had happened in Germany that day and found I could not pronounce ‘Angela Merkel’ in a way that our guest had the slightest clue who I was talking about, so more work needed yet.
(I’m also learning a bit more German slang from the Pukka German site)
So, maybe (just maybe) I am getting a bit closer to being able to speak a language in a way that my school predicted I never would ….. and that would be uber cool, nicht wahr?

Samosa Holder

The consultation yesterday went extremely well and proved to be a productive time (I will write the notes up on Monday).
pottering down.jpg
I also thoroughly enjoyed welcoming practitioners from across the country to Christ Church and it was nice to be able to provide lunch at the top of the Harry Potter Stairs, next to the now famous dining hall. (Minus floating candles despite attempts to spot them).
looking up.jpg
Lunch wise, my Blackburn colleague was especially impressed with the clip on plastic holders attached to the plate, calling me over to congratulate me on finding a place that provided Samosa holders?!
samosa holder2.jpg

Engaging Adolescents

I’m hosting a consultation this week on Churches engagement with the 14+ age range. Whilst there are great things happening in youth ministry I’m also concerned that many churches that had a volunteer led group that engaged with adolescents in the past, no longer have. I’m seeing a number of factors such as:

  • Fear of adolescents
  • Lack of volunteers
  • An emphasis on work with children and tweens’ (easier to achieve a critical mass)
  • No change of methodologies despite the inherited attractional one no longer working
  • A difficulty in communicating and exploring faith with post christendom young people.

The gathering is to look at whether there is a trend here … and if so what help and support churches need.
If anyone has any stats’ from any denomination that I could have that would be fab. Any evidence that agrees or disagrees would be useful, and any questions that arise in your mind.