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Lockdown Blog #25 - Garage Edition

Catalyst Youth UK has only really been up and running since January 2020, however, as you have probably seen from past blogs it wasn’t just an idea that came out of the blue one day, in fact, it was an idea that had been talked about every year, for 7 years, until the day it begun.

I first met Darren in the summer of 2012. We were gearing up, with a group of other youth workers, to begin the first Summer Camp through EYP (Exmoor Youth Project). It was just an idea that no one really knew what it would end up looking like, or the paths which it would lead us to. The basic idea for a Summer Camp is that we come together every year with a theme for the week, to learn more about the gospel, spend the week together playing random games, taking part in craft, experiencing different activities and just sharing in fellowship for 4-5 days.

As I said, each year there is a theme. Throughout the time of doing it we have taken part in Wild West, Pirates, I’m a Celebrity, Pantomime, Superheroes, The Greatest Showman and Harry Potter. Each year we (somehow) manage to connect all these themes to the bible, showing that we can relate it anywhere in our lives!

Every year we finish camp, and all the leaders feel quite down heartened to be having to go back home, because it is such an amazing experience. There always talk of ‘what could we do next’ or ‘how can we help all these young people throughout the year, instead of just summer’. Obviously we all have our own groups, with the young people we see weekly, and it’s amazing to be able to see all of them coming and joining us, but we always thought that there must be a way that we can bring all of our young people together to create one big fellowship. Well, Darren and I especially had talked about this, what could we do? How could we make it work? When could we start it? But it is the same conversation every year, which never really progresses.

Well, our last conversation in the Summer of 2019 was different. We said the exact same thing, got as excited as usual, but this time round when we got back to our respective homes, we continued the conversation. We continued to plan and think about where it could go, what our mission would be, the events we could run and so much more. And here we are today, with Catalyst Youth UK. The 7-year long conversation, finally has an end product which can be seen and experienced.

As you can probably all imagine, this year hasn’t exactly gone as we planned. In fact, 2 months into our new venture we were put into lockdown. With 3 events planned, all had to be postponed. We were gutted.

We have some fantastic memories from camp over the last few years. Whether that be the random one liners that come out of it, camp fires with stories, jokes and conversation, worship time together late into the evening, or maybe it’s just to see relationships grow throughout the week. There was always something new that we could add to our last of great memories, and it was so disappointing to know that it wouldn’t be possible this year.

But as Darren and I continued in conversation, we knuckled down and asked ourselves, why? Why couldn’t we continue this year? Yeah, we couldn’t have the young people in the same place, face to face, but that didn’t mean we had to cancel camp altogether!

Survival can be summed up in three words – never give up. That’s the heart of it really. Just keep trying.

Bear Grylls

Now obviously what we’re doing isn’t about survival, but these words can still mean something. Although we’ve seen a pandemic like one we have never seen in our lifetime, it doesn’t mean we should give up and just stop all normality. Continued trying is key, because you never know the outcomes it can have.

So, to conclude…

Join us next week (Monday 27th July – Thursday 30th July) for Catalyst Youth UK’s Online Summer Camp – Garage Edition! Every day we will be running 2 sessions online, one at 1pm and one at 6pm (and a late-night session on the Thursday), where we’ll be attempting challenges, answering questions, playing games and talking about all different things which we may all come up against in our lives. This will all be happening live on our YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, as well as a chance for YOU at home to get involved on Zoom.

We really hope you can join us, because it will be a new experience for all but hopefully something memorable and, maybe, will even push you to join us in 2021 when we are able to join face to face again.


P.S. Due to camp, there will no Blog's next week! We will be back the week after :D

This week’s resource…

Catalyst Youth UK’s Summer Camp: Online

Can be found: Catalyst’s YouTube, Facebook & Instagram LIVE

About: Join us at 1pm & 6pm on the days of Monday 27th, Tuesday 28th, Wednesday 29th & Thursday 30th July for some games, chat and all out chaos! As well as a late-night session on the Thursday with a campfire…

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