This year the weekend away was hosted at Cudham Environmental Activities Centre, a beautiful retreat centre in Kent. Surrounded by woods, it was easy to distance ourselves from the everyday stresses of life and focus on our relationship with God throughout the weekend.
This year, the theme for our weekend was ‘CONNECT’. Our first ice-breaker game involved all joining hands randomly in a circle and then trying to untangle ourselves – easier said than done! We then had a talk and discussion on the different ways we can connect with God, and it was great to hear from the youth about what things worked for them and helped them to connect with God. Splitting the youth into groups, we then asked them to choose a parable from the Bible and create a short skit to act out to the rest of the group. After some time to plan and rehearse, we gave each group the chance to perform their skit. Hilarity ensued with some groups taking a bit more artistic license than others… but it was amazing to see all the youth getting involved in their various productions.
Arts and Crafts Session
After lunch, we gave our food some time to settle with an arts and crafts session. We gave each youth a piece of balsa wood and asked them to create and decorate a wooden cross. After drawing out the shape on their wood, they cut the cross out with the help of the leaders and then were given the chance to decorate it as they wished, with plenty of paints and arts and crafts materials available to use.
Saturday afternoon had come – it was time for the wide game. Although we’d been blessed with some rain earlier in the day, the skies cleared just as the game was about to begin. It was so muddy and so slippery we all had a laugh just making it to the starting area. Splitting the youth into two teams, the game involved trying to steal pipe-cleaners from the opposing team’s based without getting tagged by one of their defenders. The team with the most pipe-cleaners at the end won. Embracing the mud, it was amazing to see all the youth get involved and play their part in pushing their team towards victory. It was a close game with only a few points in it, but in the end when the results were announced at dinner, the red team had won and shouts of jubilation rose up from its various members.
After dinner, we moved into our Saturday evening session. A real highlight for many at the weekend away, we encouraged the youth to pursue God through the worship and quieter reflection times and simply spend some time focused in his presence. The youth had the chance to receive prayer from some of the leaders for anything they felt God had put on their heart, or for any areas they were struggling with. It was amazing to see the different ways God was working in that room through all the youth.
To draw the evening to a close we finished with some hot chocolate and marshmallows. We got a fire going in the fire place and began singing playing some songs to sing along to. The youth had a tonne of fun jamming and dancing together as we went through all of the classics, oh and ‘Let it go’ from Frozen…
Our Sunday session was all about being rooted in God. To show the importance of having strong roots, we timed how long it took to pull apart two people when they could only hold on with one finger, when they could hold on using a whole hand, and when they could use two hands. Sure enough the one finger connection broke in seconds, but when using two hands, they stayed connected for minutes. We then had a silent reflection time, allowing the youth to consider where their roots were and look back over how God was speaking to them throughout the weekend.
Connect 4 Tournament
Seeing as the theme for the weekend was ‘CONNECT’, we decided to run a Connect 4 tournament throughout the weekend. Everyone had their own playing style, and some of the games were so tense they came right down to the final few counters. With tense music playing in the background, everyone gathered round the players for the final. It was a close match but eventually there had to be a winner, and in the end Jacob took home the win.
And this is just the highlights! All that’s left for me to say is a massive thank you to everyone involved who enabled this event to happen, especially to the parents for their thoughts and prayers every step of the way – we couldn’t have done it without you! From all of the staff, we hope your children had an amazing weekend, and we can’t wait to see them all at our next event on the 18th March!