Usually they’re spread quite nicely apart, but this year I only had three and a half days between the two.
First up is Keswick.
Now I’ve spoken a little about the convention (and my love-hate relationship with it) before. But the honest truth is that I do love it ever-so much more than I am frustrated by it.
I was back on the youth team for week 2 of this year’s convention, working specifically with the 17+ age group. The basic look of the day is that in the morning we run a programme from 10.45 till 12.45, split into three ages: 11-13, 14-16 and 17+. In our little marquee we have tea and coffee as the young people arrive, have a wee ice-breaker game and some singing, followed by a brief talk, then we split off into small groups to do Bible study, and then end the morning session with various seminars that they can choose from.
In the past I have had a small group of 15, which was pretty insane, but this year I had 7 on the first day, which then dropped down to three (trying not to take it too personally!). In actual fact I quite appreciated the small numbers, as it gave the best chance to get a good in-depth chat going.
I also ran two seminars: ‘Dealing with doubt’ alongside another team member, Hannah, and ‘How to be a Christian at university’, which gave me a good opportunity to practice for the new job!
In the evening we do things a bit different. We have two sessions: one at 7.15, which is the main teaching session (where the ages are split into 11-13s and 14-18s) and one at 9.15, for 11-18s altogether. My job during these sessions for the last few years has been to perform the role of a bouncer. Apparently I have the surprising gift of being able to smile sweetly while refusing entry to randoms.
Basically I stand at the back door to the marquee with a book to sign in adults who should be there and a sweet but firm ‘no’ to any who shouldn’t, and a list of everyone who is inside so that parents can know whether their dear children are present or not. It is, surprisingly, a pretty fun job most of the time, and though there are moments of stress, it’s mostly just joyful (except when it’s raining).
Other highlights of Keswick 2010 included: meeting up with old friends on team (and making some new ones), studying Mark’s gospel in the morning Bible studies and the beginning chapters of Revelation in the evening talks, brief moments of sunshine, awesome food, chatting to the locals kids who came to hang out in the evenings (and stopping one of them from riding his bike through the middle of the marquee during the talk), and the great joy of wearing a Britney-microphone, whilst doing prayers in the main tent on the last night. Good times.
In summary: fun in the (infrequent) sun.