Saturday, July 30, 2005

Real Summer


I know its summer, even though its raining, because its festival time in London and summer club time at our youth centre. There is a surfeit of activity. Today I slept and did club paperwork, emails etc after a week of ten to fifteen hour days. Tomorrow, after climbing, I'll go to the Innocent Fruitstock festival. Monday its back to summerclub. Five to nine year olds in the morning. 10+ in the afternoon.This will be the second week. The third week is a climbing project in the morning and mural project in the afternoon. The fourth week is a multi-adventure residential in Scotland.

Hi-lites so far...

Taking a group to see Blood Brothers at the Phoenix Theatre, the first time for many which they are keen to repeat.

Getting free tickets to Circus OZ at The Royal Festival Hall which enthralled us all and caused one young person to enthuse that it was 'really' the best show he ever saw.

Meeting and getting to know a lovely 12 year old girl with Down Syndrome and watching her move from not wanting to be left by her mother to looking forward to coming and seeing her develop her social skills with workers and other young people.

Watching our young people who volunteer with the younger group take on roles and responsibilties in the activities in a way which to the onlooker cannot be but an uplifting experience.

Seeing two young people (with behavioural issues) sit and (eventually) patiently work on a Hapa bead boy and girl respectively and their delight in their achievment having ironed the design to melt it together. The day after one of the two discovered an interest and ability in glass painting and sat patiently working painstakingly on a piece totally engrossed in her own creative world.

Lo-lites...

Taking an 11 year old round London Dungeon, crying nearly every step of the way. I took him out before the end, he felt better and appreciated the care people took of him inside. One boy his age put his arm around him and offered to be his 'bodyguard' from the actors trying to frighten him.

Accusing the wrong person of a negative message on a badge that was made. I apologised and learned a valuable lesson that when I'm tired and stressed I am less likely to do what I normally do which is ask questions before making judgements or challenging someone.

On a day we were using public transport, the young people misinterpreting a news report and thoughts of the 7th of July coming to their minds. The only incident we had on our journey was on the way back from the third trip that day when two drunken women tumbled laughing down the escalator on top of me and then had to be held to the top where we all tumbled at the top on top of them in nervous laughter. At least 7 people came to our rescue in rescuing them. The two were a mixture of embarrassment and gratitude. I loved the the fact that they brought us all together. young people, youth workers, men in business suits, tourists..all in what seemed like a scene from a slap-stick film with Laurel & Hardy or the like and good came of it.

As usual the summer club has more highs than lows...and even the lows have their positives.

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