This Year Mustard Tree Trust again supported Staying Alive, again it is the highlight of the youth work year! For the 9th year running we gathered at Seahouses Hostel – 40 young people and a great group of adults. Our theme this year ‘Because you’re worth it!’ based on John 3:16.
We had 6 groups of young people with leaders who spent the weekend together – learning about the ways in which God’s love is shown to us and then going out into communities in Northumberland sharing that love. The young people were accommodated in the hostel and many in tents in the garden! (who’s idea was it to put the four biggest lads in the smallest 4 man tent – especially when it rained!)
There were young people from all over the Diocese and beyond. The prize for furthest travelled goes to Hans Olav and Sigurd from our link Diocese of More in Norway, their journey here as hassle free, unfortunately that can’t be said for the journey home but they enjoyed an extra day in the UK and their for experience of a carvery.
Worshops this year included drumming, archery, craft and football (who knew that an innocent looking 14 year old girl could tackle like that?). not to mention the silly games – in the pouring rain – that involved vast quantities of custard and was followed by water games (to wash the custard off!)
In the evenings there was worship and speakers who told their stories about God’s love. On Friday evening each group entertained the rest of us with sketches and video clips and a wonderful performance of the Lifehouse ‘Everything’ drama.
On Sunday morning we shared the Communion service with the wonderful congregation of St. Paul’, North Sunderland where the Peace took for ever because the young people were really eager to share with the rest of the congregation.
On Saturday everyone went out to bless the community – gardening in churchyards in Bamburgh and Chevington, making and sharing tea with the Over 60s in Amble, painting, cleaning and sorting displays at the Community Centre in Alnwick and in Seahouses doing litter picking, games on the beach, face painting, coffee runs for the shop keepers and much more.
This was James Harvey’s (one of our Diocesan Youth Officers) first experience of Staying Alive and in his words:
‘For 2015 Staying Alivers, a massive thank you for doing everything we asked of you and more. You were amazing and we loved having you - hope you are all up for next year’
The young people shared the enthusiasm saying:
‘Thank you everyone for another amazing year. Feel so blessed to have met up with old friends and made some new ones. Can't wait to get tucked up I my own bed though. Thank you again’
‘Thanks everybody for such a great first year at Staying Alive can't wait to see you all next year’
‘Thanks everyone for such a good time’
And next year? Our 10th anniversary Staying Alive is already in it’s planning stage – 28th – 31st July 2016. We look forward to seeing friends old and new again.