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Lockdown Blog #26 - Keeping It Alive

You may have noticed that last week (and the week following that) we didn’t publish any blogs. Maybe you didn’t notice. Either way, WE’RE BACK!

Hopefully you did notice though, and the reason you noticed was because you followed what we were actually doing on the week of 27th – 30th July. Every day, at 1pm & 7pm, we were live on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram & Zoom for our Summer Camp 2020 – Garage Edition!

It was a fantastic week, full of challenges set by you all, as well as a chance to answer any questions you may have. We saw a real sense of fellowship and community, all across the platforms on social media as well as our very own little groups on Zoom. Since the camp has ended, we have had a few questions come through as a follow up, so what better way to answer them than through our blog? Yes, you read that right… it’s a joint blog!

To make it clear, any answers in Italics are Antony and any in Bold are Darren.

What was your favourite moment of camp?

We were given many challenges throughout the week but a personal favourite of mine was the rap video which we were tasked with recreating. It maybe didn’t turn out as the best video, but we definitely had a fun time putting it together! You can see it via the YouTube link in our ‘Weekly Resource’. However, a special highlight for me that ran throughout was seeing the community grow between groups who may not usually be given the chance to come together and share within discussions of life, faith and at times, all round madness!

So, here is the youth worker answer: Spending time with all the youth and interacting with them on Zoom. But personally, mine is also the challenges! We had so much fun making them. I still stick with the ‘Laurel and Hardy: Way Out West’ dance routine. Trying to get that right gave me stress like I’ve not experienced since before lockdown. But I enjoyed it and laughed so much. You guys should see the practice runs we did in the kitchen, perhaps I will post them to our YouTube channel? Let me know if you want to see it.

Was there anything you struggled with at camp?

I don’t think there was anything major that I can think of that may have been classed as a struggle, but one of the surprises that did come our way was the amount of questions and challenges we had. This meant that our time management had to be well on point to be able to fit all of these in, especially as some of them needed to be pre-filmed! At times, we found this to be a struggle, as any of you that know Darren and I personally will know, we are quite relaxed about the majority of things and this definitely didn’t work in our favour on some of the days of camp… in fact, some days turned out to feel quite manic!

The free time! In my head I had ideas of chilling in the hot tub (which we did, but it did cause issues…), going for a game of golf and chilling out in the sun, like we would do at a normal youth camp. But I struggled just before camp and a bit during with the tech side of things. None of you will know this but before camp me and Antony decided which aspects of it we would be in charge of. For me it was the tech side. So, I needed to make sure we had a decent enough camera, lighting, sound and internet speed. This did not come cheap, but it does mean we have equipment we can use at camp in the future. As you will know a few sessions we got some bits wrong like the sound (sounded like we were talking on walkie talkies or a tannoy at the country fair, sorry) and computer issues not streaming smoothly. We were running a studio on a laptop! But it all added to the experience. I must remember we’ve never done this before!

What would be one thing you would change about the camp if you were to redo it all again?

We were very blessed with the space we had for camp, as well as being able to host it alongside each other. We had great fun and I wouldn’t change any of that at all. However, if I was to have to pick one thing it would probably be that if it ever came to needing to host it online again, I would love to have a few extra in the team. Even if they weren’t there every session, maybe they just filmed some side bits, but it would have been fantastic to have a few others who we could show attempting the challenges as well, and to turn it into a much bigger event than maybe the one we were able to put on this year. Saying that, I was astounded at the numbers we had seen this year, so the size of it definitely beat our expectations!

Yes, we were blessed with the space we had, BUT a bit bigger space would have been good along with cool air. It got a bit hot in my garage at times. I also agree with Antony, a few more people on the production team. If you don’t know we had Brenden doing the tech and Sarah did some of the challenge filming. If we had a few more people and a bit more space we could have had more camera effects (like zooming in etc). But I enjoyed the week so much with what we had so I mustn’t complain.

What was one thing you learnt and will take away from the week?

Even when you’re unsure on something, and you genuinely have no idea how it will go, don’t give up. You have no idea who it may touch! We definitely reached people who I never imagined would tune in and that felt amazing to see and hear.

I’m going to chuck in God, sorry! (not sorry) God truly blessed our week with weather, participants, outreach and energy! It says in Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” And that is exactly what God did, my recurring thought was ‘what If no one watches or joins in?’ I had no need to worry, just on Facebook alone we had 164 views (when I last checked) which for our small movement is AMAZING! So, for me it is ‘Do not fear’.

How are you feeling about camp 2021?

I am so excited. You can probably all imagine how disappointed we were that we had to postpone this year’s camp, but you’ll also know that the fire inside us is burning even bigger now to make Camp 2021 extra special and something to remember. I can’t wait to see the reaction people will have to it, the new lessons to be learnt and the complete randomness that will come out of a week together. I really hope you’ll join us there!

I believe everything happens for a reason. So, whether you believe in God or not, He uses every situation to spread love. He has built me and Antony up for camp 2020 and what we have done during our 2020 camp can be used in our 2021 camp. We have already started planning 2021, DATES HAVE BEEN CONFIRMED (#excited) by the venue so we are on the countdown to when we can be with the youth face to face. I am so excited, and I hope you are too. I have a sense that camp 2021 will be one to remember!

Finally, one thing we do want to say is a huge thank you. Thank you to all attended, whether it was for 1 session, 2 sessions or all the sessions, we really had a great time and it wouldn’t have been possible without the participation from all of you! Thank you for all the support, those that set us challenges and those that helped us to organise things. However, Catalyst Youth UK wasn’t started for just one event, we started this movement to be an ongoing mission to bring young people together all across the South of the UK and wide spreading if that’s the direction it takes. With all the platforms we now find ourselves on; Instagram, Facebook, YouTube & Twitter, we want to continue to see this grow but we can’t do it without your support. So, what would YOU like to see next? What would help you in this time? What could we organise to support you all in whatever you may be going through in your life? Let’s hear them…

Antony & Darren.

This week’s resource…

YouTube Recap: You can see all our challenges in their full glory on our YouTube channel now!

About: We hope you enjoy watching these as much as we enjoyed taking part and making them.

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