Reflections on Youthwork The Conference

27 November 2008 — Leave a comment

I meant to post this on Monday, but didn’t really get round to writing it!

I have to say, I really enjoyed this year’s conference. The theme was ‘Deeper’, and was focused on looking after and nurturing your own soul (instead of simply giving out all the time). I actually found the theme refreshing and there was a real sense that Youthwork The Partnership really wanted to allow space and rest for those of us who attended.

The main sessions were great, with worship lead by Ben Cantelon interspersed with creative readings and scripture. In contrast to previous years, there were only 3 seminar streams and people were encouraged to stick with just one rather than chopping and changing. Each stream had 3 sessions and I went to ‘Soul: Deep Roots’ stream which looked at investing time for yourself with God through prayer, meditation and reflection. A lot of the content echoed Mark Yaconelli’s excellent book ‘Contemplative Youth Ministry‘ but it was great to work through some of the exercises corporately.

On the Sunday, there were lots more seminars relating to practical work with young people, but by stripping down the total number of sessions across the conference, it had the effect of making the weekend more relaxing and less confusing.

Pippa and I came backwards and forwards from Littlehampton each day and I think we probably missed out on the after-hours stuff and sense of community that came with it. Next year, I might try and stay in Eastbourne for the weekend.

Anyway, overall it was a good time. Praise must go to the team for taking a gamble with a different focus and a stripped-down programme. It really paid off!

Jon

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I am a qualified youth worker, writer and consultant based in Littlehampton, UK. I've worked in the voluntary youth sector for over 12 years, am married to Kirsty and we have two daughters named Hope and Eloise. Check out 'Journeying Together: Growing Youth Work and Youth Workers in Local Communities' and read my opening chapter.

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