The following article is abridged from an blog post written by Rachel Burnell, our Youth and Children’s Team Leader, for the Diocese of London. Next year’s Youth Weekend Away is scheduled for 7th-9th June. Please contact Rachel Burnell to find out more or to make a booking.
Last weekend, 70 excited young people, with their 17 leaders from 12 churches, descended upon Oakwood Climbing Centre in Bracknell. After months of social isolation due to the pandemic, we were able to once again gather the Kensington Area youth, so that they could take part in a day of adventurous activities and enjoy some collective worship.
The weather forecast looked bleak, but the elements were a small price to pay for a rewarding day. In fact, the blustery conditions tied in perfectly with the theme of the Archdeacon’s talk around “Jesus being in the storm with us.” A couple of other church leaders also later gave powerful testimonies of their own about God’s faithfulness in difficult times. Up on the high ropes, I marvelled at the tenacity of the young people who seemed oblivious to all the swaying as they valiantly completed the course, abseiling down the climbing wall at the end. Throughout the day the young people completed 4 different sessions led by Oakwood instructors within their groups of 12, as well as an escape room created by youth leader Jacob. The most impressive observation was the way that the young people worked with each other on completing challenges with such fantastic teamwork that you would think they did this every day. In my group we had 5 young people from our church and 6 from another local church, yet by the end it was as if they had known each other for years. Finally, the day concluded with a yummy barbeque and free time, where many of the young people then chose to swap phone numbers so they could stay in touch with one another. Hopefully next year, we can make it a whole weekend away again as the day was a huge success and many of the young people said they would definitely go back again.