Becky Davies at the Newquay Christian Centre
I arrived in Newquay in a busy week where preparations were heavily undergo for the arrival of the Watato Choir; an African child choir who tour countries to raise awareness for their cause. The actual performance occurred on my second Saturday night in Newquay and drew a huge crowd to the church; I would like to say it was my great skills giving out leaflets on the streets of Newquay that was the cause of such hype but sadly I imagine it was the weeks of effort put in by Liz and the Newquay Christian Centre. The performance itself was unforgettable; the choir were so full of energy they soon had the crowd on their feet dancing along.
I happened to be in Newquay at just the right time to experience N-Counter, similar to the typical Sunday morning sermons but aimed directly at the youth and thus involved even more dancing and singing. The pastor quickly got all the children involved in thinking about the concept of justice, aided by a couple of ridiculous anecdotes from his childhood. The children from the Watato choir were able to take part in this and it was enlightening to compare the ideas of British children statingâ€¦"my brother using my as an example of injustice to that of those of the Watato children such asâ€¦"a man killing his wife. The entirety of N-Counter is based around the notion of building upâ€¦"The Wall of Faith in which justice is another building block (issues such as worship had been previously discussed); this introducing the children to religion but still incorporating amusement into learning.
During my time in Newquay I experienced the various activities available to Newquay's youth, those both Christian and non-Christian. On my first working day I took part in the H2O youth group that focuses on the younger 11 and 12 year olds; the session centred on introducing the youth to healthy lifestyles and thus the aim of that session was to produce a salad for their families. My next session with the H2O involved a heavily competitive game of volleyball on the beach in which neither team successfully managed to hit the ball over the net more than twice in a row.
For the older children, the groups consisted of YDC (Youth Dream Cell) where they were encouraged to debate contentious issues such as HIV and AIDS in societies, although the session began uneasy everyone was quickly immersed in the discussions and eager to offer their suggestions. Another youth group that drew the attention of mainly the non-Christian youth of Newquay was the Friday night 8.30-10.30pm session where the older youth found a safe environment to relax and socialise with friends; despite their serious appearances of adulthood they were quick to engage in more youthful activities such as dancing the Cha-Cha slide that provided great entertainment for the night.
A key aspect that struck me during my youth work sessions was the incredibly close relationship between Liz and the children where they looked to her for any advice, from major concerns such as bullying to simply advice on boys. To me I think this really highlighted the importance of the youth groups as they not only engaged the youth in talks about religion but provided a close environment where the children felt they could unburden themselves with any issues. From my experience in the youth department I feel that I have learnt patience in difficult situations as much of youth work involves a certain degree of stress both before and during the groups and it is necessary to work through issues and be patient to come to a successful end.