Saturday, 24 April 2010

Connecting with youngsters - and their parents

How do we connect with people these days? Improved communications (e-mail, text, smart phones) should make things better but they don't appear to do so. Is it a case of 'less is more'?

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Zone Plus

We made it!

The pictures say it all...

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Zone Plus days 2 and 3

The Urban Strides workshops yesterday were really what Zone Plus is all about: the youngsters actively participating, comfortable with each other and the environment and enjoying it. The instructor Natalie was fantastic, very professional and with a very good rapport with the youngsters. I’m not sure that the music would go down well with some of the congregation and Liam would be challenged on the organ!

Today was quiet – but with wonderful weather. The cycle track was busy all afternoon (including some interlopers) and Lucy and Andrew were kept busy with the bellringing.

Only one more day but I think we’ve already achieved some things. We’ve seen new people in Church and we’ve seen some of these develop over the week. There’s also been lots of networking amongst the helpers and visitors’ parents. And all the helpers – who’ve been great – have enjoyed themselves and many have asked for similar activities for grown-ups. More of this later but plans are being hatched for a whole range of activities for the 17+ age group. Not an intensive week like Zone Plus but throughout the year – perhaps in support of one of the windows. There’ve been several suggestions and requests – another Urban Strides session, organised walks, coach trips, outings on the river and canal... All these will be under the umbrella of... – we’re still thinking: Twilight Zone didn’t seem right, O-Zone is the current favourite – unless you have a better suggestion.

Tomorrow we have gra... sorry, street art and the climbing wall. I hope a good end to a fun week.

Zone Plus day 3

There are more pictures on the Zone Plus web site

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Zone Plus day 2

Mike’s photo workshop was well attended by a serious gang of budding photographers. They all concentrated through Mike’s description of aperture settings, focus, exposure and so on. And they all participated in his fun exercises – one of which involved Liam hiding behind safety goggles and a pillow.

The afternoon brought two sessions with Urban Strides, the Street Dance compay from Wycombe. Andy Instone who founded the company is a local boy – he went to The Mibourne. His instructor this afternoon, Natalie, was fantastic: she got the youngsters really going in each of the one-hour workshops.

Many of the adults present want us to get Natalie back when we have the grown-up version of Zone Plus!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Zone Plus has started

Today saw the first day of Zone Plus. The cycle track was quiet in spite of wonderful weather but the drama was buzzing. We had 17 youngsters of varying ages. They all got on very well and the older ones were extremely helpful. But as someone commented: if you go in for drama you’re not the quiet retiring type! They did a series of exercises in groups and then developed an improvised playlet which they performed just before the end of the event.

Many of the participants and their parents were not known to us in Church so we’re achieving our aims of getting new people.

Helen had time to take young Anna round the bike track.

More pictures - click on the image to see them:

Monday, 5 April 2010

Easter day

...started at 6am with a damp dawn service: not many of the candles stayed alight for the walk up to St Peter & St Paul, Gt Missenden. The 10:00 service was great: a very full Church, joyful thanks to Elizabeth and Jo (on her birthday, it turns out). Liam and the choir were on form in their quick rehearsal before the service...

as were the bellringers.

Then off to Leicester for the Ginger Princess’s birthday party: 2 yesterday.

All very sustaining.

Now for Zone Plus: a day recovering and preparing tomorrow (later today – it’s 00:35) then off we go on Tuesday morning.

Friday, 2 April 2010

After Easter – Zone Plus

The main reason for the blog to be rather sporadic over the last few weeks is the time I’ve been spending on Zone Plus. This is a week (actually four days) of fun for 10 th 16 year olds in Church after Easter Monday. A few of us were inspired by Malmesbury Abbey Skate where the built a skate park in the Abbey for a few days during the February half term. “What a way of getting youngsters into Church” we thought. Zone Plus grew from there. We don’t actually have a skate park but we do have a climbing wall, a drama day, street dance and street art workshops (I’m not allowed to call the latter graffiti – there is a fear that the gable ends in Gt Missenden will soon be covered! The bellringers are inviting youngsters to have a go, we have a mini spa for the girls and we have a cycle track.

This was today’s excitement: the track arrived and has been set up ready adjacent to the tower. Cyclist Will has tried it out – and his fixed grin while he did so was wonderful. Helen, who has done all the arrangements for this particular activity was also visibly excited today. I just hope we get the weather to make the most of it.