Youthwork Summit

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The Youth work Summit moves from its’ inaugural location and onto Manchester for this year. A retreat is available on October 21st, followed by the Summit itself on the 22nd.
Details here.
And whilst we are talking about growing, learning and engaging, The YCML lectures will be back again in 2012.

You can confer

Just got back from the annual gathering of the Diocesan Youth Advisers hence lack of blogging, responding to e-mails and the like. This year saw us in Gloucester and staying at a hotel that was in the middle of major building work but no less hospitable for that.
It’s been a fantastic time with some great input from Jenny Baker, Bishop Mike of Bristol and Youth work legend Dave Wiles. Great too to just ‘hang’ with a gifted and wonderful bunch of ministers all of whom work to make a difference to young people in and through the Church.
Feel shattered (too much talking) but at the same time (and not as contradictory as it sounds) refreshed by the time away in such a great atmosphere of faith, friendship and fun (excuse unintentional alteration).
We had some free time of the Tuesday afternoon and the mountain biking contingent amongst the network headed into the Forest of Dean and rode an awesome single track loop (some sections were so much fun we rode them several times). Fab time, all the more so for me as I was riding my new bike, that I’d bought on the way to the conference.
The major focus of our time away was exploring what refreshment and rest was/is/looks-like for us as ministers. What it means to live a ministry and rhythm of life where we live from the centre not the external, and where there is faithful work but less of the frenetic sense of ‘hurry.’ Much useful exploration and I think some useful mutual accountability.
Anyway, I’m back! What have I missed?

The Life of a Youth Adviser

The plan for Friday was to get up early and head out to Buckinghamshire and a meeting with someone we’ll call X. Although we weren’t scheduled to meet until 10:30 the early start was a good plan meaning no traffic jams and a couple of hours in a wayside Cafe near to the venue getting copious amounts of work done whilst imbibing a series of coffees. I’d also cunningly scheduled in a meeting with someone we’ll assign the letter “Y” to, on the office-bound journey, neatly planned for 12:30 on the outskirts of Oxford and very much on the route.
All well and good until on Thursday night I had a text asking for a reschedule and a venue change, now 12 midday at Thame. I thought this must be from X so texted back that as I already had a 12:30 I couldn’t do this and we’d need to schedule an alternative.
Hence on Friday I headed up to the office secure in the knowledge that I was free until 12:30, yay. At 09:30 just as I was starting to get somewhere I had a call from Y asking if I was really sure I couldn’t meet today thus revealing the texter to be “y” and not as I’d assumed, “X”
AArrghgghhgh
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Realisation dawned that I’d told Y I couldn’t meet (for the absurd reason that I would be busy in a meeting with “Y”) whilst X knew nothing of my idiocy and would be waiting for me as planned at 10:30. Doh!
Dashed out of the office and made it to the 10:30 in the nick of time.
Filed under: Should Ian really be left in charge of organising things?

Grumpy old youth worker

I am working on the spiritual discipline of not descending into the realm of “Grumpy old man” but society continually invents new ways to test my resolve in this matter. I am, I think, blessed with starting from the advantage of being fairly happy-go-lucky…. but the Retailers of planet High St seem to be spectacularly adept at provoking grumpiness in me.
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Here (for my cathartic benefit) are my top three wind-ups delivered by shops.
1. The Maze! I loathe, hate and detest having my route through a shop (and especially to the cash desk) controlled by a Maze that ensures I walk three times as far as required – past as many ‘bargains, pseudo-offers and display gumpf as the shop can possibly promote.
I find myself wanting to (and once managing to) climb over these cattle pen herding aids!
2. The new generation of plastic gift vouchers. Not, you understand, bad in and of themselves. The problem is because they are no electronic, lots of the shops arbitrarily declare them to be of no value after a certain time …. and just wipe or decrease the value from the card because you didn’t use it within the “it’s in the small print on the back” timescale. Vue and HMV have both stung me on this.
I find myself wanting to call the police because the shop have stolen my money ( …. I believe this should be the correct response)
3. And this is probably my biggest ‘bug bear!’ You go to buy something and the cashier asks if you would like to by x, Y and Z or todays special offer etc at the same time.
I think I am going to start carrying raffle tickets, petitions and the like with me and for every item I am being sold that I did’t want or ask for, I will spend 5 minutes taking the time to encourage the cashier to buy said a raffle ticket or sign my petition.
Here endeth the rant

It’s not rocket science

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If you were to put a session together on youth work entitled, “It’s not Rocket science”
to explore the basic heart of working successfully with young people, what would you want to include?
I ask this question because I’m putting together a session on youth work entitled, “It’s not Rocket science”

Recycling some old stories

Who’d of thought that my past capers on cycles could be useful?
Went to a leaving ‘do’ on Friday night which was great fun. Some of my co-workers brought their children with them and I ended up chatting to them for a goodly proportion of the time. Towards the end of the evening I was sitting in the hallway with a number of them and a lively and fun eight year old asked for a story. ‘Fair does’ I thought, and experimented with a number of options including fun poems and the like, none of which were quite hitting the required approval factor. I was then asked very specifically, by the same girl, for stories which were true, about me and were funny and embarrassing. The only thing I could think of was too re-tell one of my cycling, mishaps, disasters or crashes, which I duly did with a degree of re-enactment (at least as far as is possible with out a bike). This seemed to really hit the spot and muchly laughter and requests for further stories ensued. It turned into a hilarious few minutes, only topped by hearing the children re-telling the stories to their parents.
I’m not defecting to being a children’s work BUT it was a lot of fun 🙂
Sunday saw the first service for our New Rector at St Nix. Fab occasion and much excitement among the whole congregation as we welcomed Will and Ellen. Also a rather good time of tea and cake afterwards (ministry time as I like to call it) where I sat and chatted to some of the teens …… with no need to pedal old stories at all.
(Encouragingly, It has been agreed that I am not yet too old to where my Converse wannabes yet!)
Rather chuffed to have had an e-mail from Marko asking me to write for Slant 33. Am working on a piece on the redemptive uses of cycle crashes in Youth and Children’s ministry. lol