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Shechem Weekend 2011: A youthful perspective

Shechem this year was my first time back after graduating. Sadly, throughout my four gruelling years of study (okay, I admit it, Durham was actually an amazing experience), I had only been able to make it down to camp once, so returning was something I had been looking forward to for a while.

My name was down to assist with the youth and I felt, as I was now a ‘grown-up’, that it was my duty to put my name down on the Loo Rota! Fortunately, Shechem is truly a family where getting older does NOT mean getting boring. It is totally acceptable to still have fun and act silly even when you are a grandfather, isn’t that right?! And I LOVE it. So, I may have been down on rotas and in a ‘Position of Responsibility’ with the ‘Youth’ but it was still Camp.

Our sessions down at the Farmhouse were great. We were blessed to have Tim, Amanda and Becky as guests, and helping with the youth. I decided my job title was ‘Liaison’ and proceeded to find my place nestled comfortably between the leadership and victims, err, I mean youth. As ever there was great acceptance for newbies and a true joy at being with old friends again. My most memorable experience of the sessions (after Ross’ fabulous interpretation of Sarah - Abraham’s wife, and the victory of the girls’ team in ‘Who-Can-Remove-The-Most-Metal-Spoons-From-The-Bucket-of-Water-in-a-Minute-Using-Only-Your-Feet-While-Leaving-All-The-Plastic-Ones’) was the exercise we did with the picture cards. There were fifty postcard-sized photographs of various things from an eye to a view of a sunset to a woman looking out from behind a small window in a door. They were laid out in front of us all and then questions were asked to which we had to choose a photograph that for us depicted at least some of our answer. The five questions began with ‘Think about your life right now, which image best describes it?’ and ended with ‘When you think about your spiritual life or journey, which image best represents what you wish were true?’ The youth really engaged and there was some great depth, honesty and insight in their answers, while also some hilarious ones.

From Shechem Camp this year my biggest memory will be the last night. Who can fail to have enjoyed Hammad’s sing-a-long evening?! A family of loonies ranging from a few months up to OAPs dancing the night away and singing at the top of their voices to such classics as ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ and ‘We are the Champions’! Thank you to everyone who was there for this great joyful and crazy night and thank you to the various musicians who made it possible.

Jessi Orr