My time at WYYN

My time at WYYN (West Yorkshire Youth Network)

On Sunday 23rd February my travels took me to West Yorkshire! I had been invited to the WYYN event by the district chair Roger Walton and I was told this was the very first event of its kind. We travelled to Cornerstone Church and Roger told me to not be disheartened if only 3 young people arrived along with the 10 youth workers to which my response was as least we could them all more quality time!

I’m glad to say that Roger’s prediction wasn’t right and as the clock stroke 4pm we were joined by 10-15 young people – which was fantastic! The afternoon started with the good old icebreaker game of human bingo and Praise the Lord that I was in attendance as one of the questions were: Is there a vegetarian? I was half of the vegetarians that were in attendance! Surprisingly enough we also found a person that didn’t like chocolate which was one of the other questions. Once the ice was considered to be shattered we started a group exercise of building bridges. Our tasks were to connect six tables which were placed in a circle (without them touching of course!) with the cardboard, paper plates, newspaper and sellotape provided working in small groups on each of the gaps between the tables. It was actually quite interesting to see the different techniques that the young people used to connect the tables together actually! To prove that the connections were sturdy we were then given a softball to use to see if it could travel effectively on the created pathways and I am happy to say that it worked! If that wasn’t a good example of team work then I don’t know what is!


The afternoon progressed with more fun, games and then the young people had the choice of attending one of three workshops: Drama of the good Samaritan, Prayer session (where they came up with a collage of prayers for the themes of: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and supplication) and worship (where they came up with a dance to one of the worship songs performed by One Word). After this we had dinner together and then the young people showcased what they had done within the workshops. WYYN was then finished with prayer and worship.

I had such an amazing time at the WYYN event and it evident that the young people enjoyed it as well as it hadn’t even finished before they were asking when the next event is! Jez and the team did an amazing job in organising it and my hopes and prayers are for the Youth Synod which is coming up soon!

My overnight stay with the microYPS

Last weekend (Friday 14-15) I had the privilege of being at the York and Hull microYPS weekend at the Old Mill Centre, near Richmond. Luckily I had no problems whatsoever with my train to Darlington in fact I arrived a minute earlier than scheduled!

Although my taxi journey to the Old Mill Centre wasn't as lucky as prior to the weekend we had been told to not follow the SatNav instructions as you would end up in the wrong place. I had mentioned this to my taxi driver a couple of days before but that advice seemed to have gone right out the window! Though I did arrive at the Old Mill Centre eventually.

For those of you that have not had the pleasure of staying at the Old Mill Centre, it was absolutely stunning set in a idyllic place with greenery surrounding it - stunning.

The old mill centre accommodates 20 people and as the website so aptly puts it:
"The Old Mill Centre offers an opportunity to step away from the chaos of modern living – providing space for you to rest, recuperate and reconnect. You can relax and enjoy the beautiful countryside of the Yorkshire Dales in quality accommodation, with specialist facilities available at affordable prices.
We recognise that the demands of life can be exhausting, and in some cases debilitating. That’s why we’ve set out to create an environment which is conducive to a sense of wellbeing.  Our hope is that you will feel revitalised and empowered, ready to tackle the next chapter of your journey in life – especially those of you living in difficult circumstances." I really could not have put it better myself so if you ever needed a place for spiritual reflection this would be it!

Once everyone had arrived, the interns of the mircoYPS explained their roles to me and it was refreshing to hear that their projects centred mainly around the Church or spreading the gospel to make it inclusive for others. Listening to all the work that they were doing, some were ensuring that the Church they attend was more technologically advanced, engaging with children, engaging with young people, looking into ways to worship more creatively, using Sport as a way of engagement, using their local cafĂ© to host events, etc. Their work really inspired me and gave me a renewed hope for the young people across the connexion. Having been a an OPP last year I was familiar with training weekends but with the microYPS the weekend was more for reflecting, spending time with God and enjoying fellowship with one another.

After the introductions we were told to hand over our mobile phones so we can give our time freely to God - I was expecting a public outcry but the young people put their phones into the basket without even a second glance. For me personally I felt liberated by switching off from the outside world.

Seeing as Friday was Valentines Day the theme of the weekend was LOVE and on the Friday event I did a session on Love the World. Within this we reflected on the scripture of Salt and Light (Matthew 5:13-16) encouraging them to be the light of the world and then following on from this I had set up stations of the work that I have been focusing on my year so far: 3Generate, the One Programme, Street Child World Cup, The Youth Representatives and just to inspire them the Kid President: Change the World video. I showed them the work that happening within these specific subjects through videos, posters, pictures and written text. The aim of this was to inspire them that although they are young they can make a difference in their local setting...actually why stop there that they can make a difference nationally or even internationally. Afterwards we got together and they shared with me what inspired them from the stations, the interns was so engaged in my session and were so responsive I really could not have asked for a better group of young people.

To end the first night we had a group night prayer and then there was social time and to my shock horror the majority were in bed by 12am, so I had an amazing sleep and the beds were also very comfy too!

Saturday morning started with a cooked breakfast by previous intern Hannah J and discussions of what they have thought about their year so far.

The morning session was hosted by Andy Lindley who was hosting the weekend alongside Karen, Carol and Peter. In this session we explored Briggs Meyers type theory which looks at personality types and we also spoke about how people may prefer different surroundings such as: the city, the countryside, a seaside town and its ok to do so. Following on with the theme of Love he also spoke about the 5 love languages (Words of affirmation, Receiving gifts, Acts of service, Physical touch or Quality time) and how some people are drawn to one rather than the others - I have since self-categorised myself as liking to give people words of affirmation :). Continuing with this theme as the session ended Andy asked us to all write our names on a piece of paper and asked everyone to write words of affirmation for one another, they also wrote down encouraging words for me also, It was really sweet thank you!

After this session we decided to go on a walk to Richmond town centre although it was a rather chilly day it was lovely to get some fresh air and also to see the countryside. We stopped mid way to have communion and afternoon prayers. Then it was decided if people would like to carry on walking or take the car to the town centre. I have to admit I did choose the car but only because I had to leave after lunch! Richmond was a lovely little town and Hannah B, Alice and I decided to go to sit down in Costa Coffee with our amazing drinks and Greggs food :) then it was time for me to leave.

I had such an amazing time at the microYPS and although one of the encouraging words they used for me was inspiring, I beg differ because in the short time that we spent together they really did inspire me. Thank you so much for inviting me to your weekend and please do keep me updated with how your projects are going! Until we meet again, much love Tamara xxx

Street Child World Cup

All you need to know about the Street Child World Cup written by One Programme Participant for the Methodist Church Miriam Garnett...

What is the Street Child World Cup?

Street Child World Cup (SCWC) is a global campaign for street children to receive the protection and opportunities that all children deserve. Through football, art and the only international street child conference their aim is to challenge the negative perceptions and treatment of street children. In March 2014 street children from up to 20 countries will take part in the Street Child World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This is the second SCWC to take place; the first was in Durban, South Africa in March 2010. Following this event police round-ups of street children in Durban have now ended.

Why have a World Cup for street children?

The Street Child World Cup was set up to challenge the way these children were perceived and treated. SCWC believe that the best way of making this change is to place street children at the centre of the call for their rights to be realised. Street children all around the world play football. It not only lets them escape from the fear and uncertainty which surrounds their daily lives but also provides an opportunity for other people to see them differently:

“When people see us by the side of the street, they say that we are the street boys. But when they see us play football, they will say that we are not the street boys. They will say that we are people like them. They are people like us.” Andile, South African team 2010.

Street Child World Cup in Nicaragua

Nicaragua is the second poorest country in Central America, with a very young population. 15% of all children between the ages of 5 and 14 are working on the streets to survive. This in turn leads to further problems such as human trafficking, drug addiction and involvement in gangs and crime.

The charity responsible for putting together the Nicaraguan teams (one boys’ and one girls’) for the SCWC is Casa Alianza. Casa Alianza is a charity which aims to defend and rehabilitate street children. Through a holistic programme of sports, art, therapy, group sessions, education and spirituality Casa Alianza not only provides a safe haven but also a place where these street children can develop self esteem and equip themselves for an improved life.

How does the Street Child World Cup help Casa Alianza and the children they work with?

The international coverage of the SCWC is forcing the Nicaraguan government to acknowledge the presence of street children and also the fantastic work that Casa Alianza does. The approaching SCWC has enabled Casa Alianza for the first time to meet and solicit the support with the Nicaraguan Minister for families, women and children and Minister for Sport. The children’s preparation for the SCWC has also gained national press coverage; interviews with the Casa Alianza staff and children being broadcast across the country.

The young people who participated in the SCWC in Durban 4 years ago are now all working and living independently of Casa Alianza. They all speak about the motivation and inspiration that they gained from the experience.

Jose Matute, one of the team members for the 2014 SCWC told us: “In our neighbourhood…the Matute name was synonymous with robbery and bad things. It makes me feel good just to know that I am changing that reputation by going and doing something different, something great.”
More than Just a Game...
To donate to our efforts to send Team Nicaragua to the Street Child World Cup Please click here

   Young people during their Big Sleepover at Cyncoed Methodist Church with their Street Child World Cup t-shirts