Imagine if you will the following:
A Field in Derbyshire, on a small community farm
13 tents, two marquees and a shelter
4 portaloos, and 2 showers that needed people outside the door to adjust the temperature.
A mobile Pizza Van courtesy of Rustic Pizza’s
35 People, some youthworkers, project leaders, volunteers, new junior leaders, some children.
Now imagine that with all of those contingents, a conference was held;
Imagine a conference, where the attendees decided what the main themes were
and where thats what was actually discussed in sessions- so themes such as;
Homelessness, Management skills, politics, change management, age transitions, philosophy of youthwork, Hope
imagine that these sessions were well attended by people who decided on them.
imagine the energy that created
imagine how it felt that people created actions out of that energy and passion
imagine how many ideas might have been ignored but hopefully wont be
imagine a gathering where the energy & creativity was harnessed, not ignored
imagine having your voice heard at a gathering.
imagine that happening, and children also being part of the weekend, and contributing to the programme, activities and ideas.
imagine the impact on children being involved (and the junior leaders), and hearing the stories and inspiration of these 35 people might have on them.
imagine hearing a child tell you that they thought the stories were powerful and emotional
imagine a community that whilst encouraging giving is giving to others (such as the charity Farm, Blend, Derbyshire)
Imagine a youthwork conference that acted with its participants something like youthwork values, democracy, equality (of voice, opinion), empowerment, value individuals/community. Imagine how validating that feels for a new youthworker, an experienced one or a struggling one.
All of that happened, as well as the usual positives such as the ‘networking’ that occurs at these kind of things, but for once, or at least, again, it wasnt a youthwork conference where the best thing was the networking.
In a small part, this was the FYT Streetspace gathering over the weekend.
During the weekend I was reading this, which summed up something of the sense of the gathering this weekend:
“Art is created in adverse circumstances, under pressure, against the odds, and sometimes God uses people as the iron that sharpens you in your artistic pursuits. Artists are passionate, in the same sense that Christ experienced Passion. Jesus said this kind of life would characterise his followers” (Johnson & Savidge ‘Performing the Sacred, 2009)
I was truly inspired to be in the company of passionate artists, artists that create the possibility of hope in hopeless places, who act beautifully in their desire for restoration, who challenge dramatically in the face of oppression.
If you are serious about social change, young people led community youthwork, holistic redemption and seeing young people flourishing – and having validity for that space you’re creating to embrace a young person with the Godly embrace that welcomes and restores, then being part of Streetspace, and joining in the adventure of this movement is for you.