Monday, 5 April 2010

A Year In Words... Part 2

Upon commencing my new role as 'Youth Worker' for The Boathouse Project in Blackpool - working across the Churches of St. Mary, St. Peter and Holy Trinity, I lived between my Dad's house in Preston and my home in Wallasey. Furthermore, I continued to run the 3rd Wallasey Cub Scouts at Emmanuel Church in New Brighton until August 2009. This mean that I spent the majority of my time on the M55, the M6, the M58 and the M57. I also become very familiar with the Mersey Tunnels. I was commuting between Wallasey and Blackpool roughly three times a week. Needless to say, this was quite a stressful time (and extremely irritating if I forgot something!).

My first 'job' in Blackpool was to take over the running of an already established Youth Club at Holy Trinity Church. The group consisted of about 12 young people (rather small, in comparison to the 80 young people attending Emmanuel Church each week). In all honesty, I found it very difficult to build relationships with these youngsters; this continued for several weeks without improvement. I spent a lot of time in prayerful thought regarding this and finally I made a decision; I decided that the only way forward for myself and the young people was to close this group - and reopen a different type of youth club on another day. We reopened the youth club - under the name of Fuse - on a Sunday evening.

Meanwhile, the Cubs in Wallasey were busy completing their 'Outdoor Challenge' badge and getting ready for Summer Camp at Bramhope Scout and Activity Centre in West Yorkshire. Admittedly, I was gradually losing my interest in running this group as I had my mind set on greater climbs in Blackpool. Despite this, the World War II themed camp was thoroughly successful and included various days out; Eurkea Children's Museum, Flamingo Land and swimming. However, once we got to the end of this camp... I knew I was able to take The Boathouse Project to a different level.

The 'Youth' side of The Boathouse Project; now operating under the name of 'The Boathouse Youth' (Original, I thought!) is a provider of positive activities for young people on 6 evenings a week. We provide centre based youth work, detached youth work and residential experiences five times a year. I have a wonderful team of approximately 14 volunteers with whom I work alongside in providing services to approximate 100 young people a week. Our centre based youth work includes 6 youth groups; offering skills, active sports and chill-out sessions. Our detached youth work includes; sessions in the local schools, providing games and activities in the local parks and walking the streets during the evenings. And, our residential experiences this year will include; Canal Boating (already completed), Borwick Hall Outdoor Activity Centre, Camping and a holiday to London. We are working with the bottom 3% most deprived young people in the United Kingdom. Many of these young people witness domestic violence, the effects of drug and alcohol abuse and experience neglect on a daily basis. The Boathouse Project offers places to go, people to see and things to do. More than that, we offer people the chance to come and know Christ and how He really can change lives.

So, all in all, I think that 2009 was one of the most eventful years of my life. We're not 4 months into 2010....... And I am sure that what we have already achieved will get bigger and bigger!