It’s simply down to my own bad diary management that I booked an 11-14’s weekend away for the weekend immediately following 4 days away on conference. Definitely a facepalm moment! However, having now ridden out the storm I can honestly say that it was great fun and I don’t really know what I was worrying about.
I think youth weekends away are possibly one of the most important times for a church youth group. Not only do they help to cement relationships between the group itself, but as leaders we get to spend far more time with our young people than we would like to…I mean than we normally do! And on top of that they can often be a time when you can really spend some good one2one time with your young people chatting over the material they’ve been looking at during the spiritual programme for the weekend.
We had three sessions across the weekend looking at Romans, led by one of our associates. Quite frankly it was great stuff and clearly laid out the choice that we all have to make between choosing life or choosing death. This allowed us to have some really good conversations with our kids about what they were learning and I was really encouraged to have some chats with two of our boys, one of whom has aspergers and one who has a little bit of everything really. They can sometimes be difficult to handle in a group but one2one they’re fantastic and I felt I really connected with them. Probably helps that we all love Dr Who just a little bit as well. Prayer of the weekend though goes to one of our 12 year old girls. “Dear Lord, please help us to accept you…when we’re older!” Kids eh!
But apart from some interesting prayers, things went bizarrely smoothly. There was however, one rather disconcerting moment on the Saturday afternoon as I drove the kids to laser quest in the church minibus. It dawned on me that as I was driving a minibus I must really be grown up now. This is very worrying and highly disturbing. Still I feel I learnt a lot that afternoon, mostly about how not to let out a stream of expletives in front of the whole group as the bus refused to find third gear yet again, as well as how to manoeuvre a 5 metre vehicle into a parking space seemingly designed for something you find in a Scalectrix box. But the kids had a great time at laser quest and frankly so did we all. It’ll definitely be a place that we’ll be bookmarking for future reference I feel.
We also had messy games and a shiver still runs down my spine every time I think of them. The first one was fine. Simply move as many Maltesers from one end of the room to the other by dunking your face in a bowl of chocolate sauce, then into a bowl of Maltesers and then running back. But the second game was the old ‘hunt the Chewit in the bowl of flour’ game, basically just using your face. Needless to say, one child, who will remain nameless, proceeded to backwash most of the flour he was sifting through back into the bowl along with a healthy dose of his own saliva. I don’t think I need to tell you who was next in line. When Phil Moon said that youth workers today don’t sacrifice as much as they used to, he clearly hadn’t experienced this game. Nothing can quite crown that glorious moment when you announce that you’ve found a Chewit, only to be informed that it’s not a Chewit you’re holding between your lips, merely a clump of solidified flour and saliva.
I love youth work!