My involvement in working with young people all started when I was 16, where I undertook training in sports leadership through the Youth Sport Trust. A fantastic lady called Ann Triptree spent time with just three of us, developing us and growing us throughout a year. From this, I got a job with the local council coaching and running holiday camps for kids aged 8 to 13. I did this right until heading off to university.
I found faith at University. My involvement with Urban Saints all started when I met Grace, who invited me along to help lead at an Urban Saints Camp. We both went to the New Year House Party (a Camp she attended as a young person and leader), as dorm leaders!
Following a week at the New Year House Party (or NYHP as it is often known), I remembered the joy that came with working with young people, so approached our families minister to volunteer to help with youth activities in the church! I was given a youth group of four young people, who I met with every Sunday morning during church. Since 2015, I have returned to NYHP each year bringing the four members of the youth group along! This year saw those four "graduate" from youth, leaving behind them twenty strong other youth! In our NYHP team, we have some of these great young people leading worship and dorms which is such a blessing!
As both a Camps Leader and a Group Leader, leading a weekly youth groups helps give me confidence to run a Camp. We see young people each week, and are familiar with whether to dab or how to respond to the latest slang term. (However, it should be noted that regardless of our awareness of the latest trends, never should a Leader use them as they will instantly become uncool...!)
Running a Camp requires lots of games and seminars. Our weekly sessions really fit in well with this aspect, and our use of Energize really helps week to week and gives us confidence to plan activities through the week. Running a Camp is also much easier when you have helpful volunteers! With running a weekly youth group, lots of our leaders and older youth step up and help execute the planning! This is a real blessing.
Camps are so vital to a Group’s yearly routine. Each week, we dive into the Bible and help support each other through the week. Camps give us a chance to build on that weekly rhythm, but more importantly, give us all (leaders and young people!) a space free from distraction to worship and praise God. We are away from school, away from work or college and have Christian community from all over the UK to make family.
"I was so encouraged to see the willingness of young people to support each other in prayer... with their child-like faith they leap into what God might be saying."
I was so encouraged to see the willingness of young people to support each other in prayer and prophesy during our last Camp. Young people are not afraid of the Holy Spirit and with their child-like faith they leap into what God might be saying. This great encouragement and support of each other has grown the group closer in community, they are like family, even if they are hundreds of miles apart. Never are young people too far away when they have Snapchat and Instagram!
In our Group, we are excited to be creating a space to worship and praise God deeper, in the hope that this becomes cross-church. I have a real passion to see the lonely Christians in their school be united with other "hidden" believers. Often, when a young person is in a different church youth group, they never know they are a Christian! I want to link young people up to give them better community and fight any isolation they may feel.
Stories - Camps - Will James (CM)
The 2019 / 2020 New Year House Party takes place between 28th December and 2nd January at Urban Saints Westbrook on the Isle of Wight. Bookings are now open: