NEC Youth Reports – 2018
14th September 2018
NEC Youth director Pastor Adam Ramdin provides a comprehensive report of the major youth activities performed over the summer of 2018 in the areas of Athletics Day, Adventist Students on Campus, Students Retreat, BIG Six and Aberdaron Summer Camps.
NEC Athletics Family Fun Day: 8 July
2018 saw the largest Athletics Day in recent memory as the glorious sunshine no doubt encouraged the masses to attend. Held once again in the world-famous Alexander Stadium in Birmingham, teams from over 20 churches came to contest the chance to be crowned NEC Athletics Day Champions 2018. The reigning champions from 2017, Erdington Adventist church were there as well as several other churches from the Birmingham area, though there were also churches from as far away as Manchester with Leicester sending two teams ‒ St Matthews and Leicester West.
Held the Sunday after camp meeting it afforded those who came an opportunity to see friends that they had made at camp meeting. Track and field events were held for various age categories from the age of 5 to 50+ but it was not just limited to the track or traditional field events. During the day there were activities for the children on the main field that kept them occupied.
As always the 100m and 200m and the relays attracted the most interest but this year the over 50s women's race possibly had the most contestants of any race with some fierce (but friendly) competition on display as some of the mothers (and grandmothers) in Israel rolled back the years to the delight of the crowd.
The day was organised by a team of local youth, led by Horace Radcliff and was made possible by the commitment of the many volunteers who made the day a success. Days like these offer the church an opportunity to spend time together outside the traditional four walls and give us a time when relationships can be strengthened and built and lasting memories can be made.
After the final scores were tallied up, Handsworth Adventist church came third, Camp Hill Adventist church came second and after two years in second place, Leicester St Matthews came in first place. Leicester St Matthews, organised superbly by Sally Ann-Flemings Danquah and supported by their pastor, Jonathan Holder are not the biggest church, but they have a great level of participation from their members. The trophy was presented by NEC Youth director Pastor Adam Ramdin on Sabbath 8 September during the AY service in the afternoon.
Photos of the day can be found online on Facebook and Instagram @necyouth and we look forward to next year's NEC Athletics Family Fun Day.
ASC Students Training Retreat: July 9-15
Public Campus Ministries remains an integral part of the Youth department in the NEC and thus once again this year a training retreat was held for the leaders of the various Adventist Students on Campus (ASC) Societies around the Conference. In the previous academic year there were 18 societies in the NEC and this year at our training retreat we had 25 students attend to receive the training.
The training covers various key aspects of campus ministry such as how to organise a society, how the various roles such as president, secretary and treasurer function, how to run your stall at freshers' fair, how to do Bible studies, how to incorporate spirituality into your student life and how to manage your time.
Some of the training sessions were done by the ASC Advisory team that supports the societies throughout the year. This group is comprised of former society presidents and they provide monthly and quarterly support to the presidents, give advice and visit each society under their mentorship. They provide a very comprehensive and structured support and have enabled campus ministries to grow with a solid foundation.
We were also blessed to have a guest speaker this year who had over 15 years' experience in campus ministries, both as a student leader and as a Conference-wide leader in the Michigan Conference. Alanna Rodriguez has been involved with the CAMPUS programme in the Michigan Conference for a long time and brought a wealth of experience, advice and stories from the frontline that served as both inspiration and motivation to the students that came.
The period of life when a young person goes to university is a time of immense change with new pressures, both social and academic coming their way. It is vitally important that we support our students as best as we can. The purpose of the ministry is twofold ‒ to strengthen and ground the Adventist students who go and provide them with a home away from home, and also to be an outreach focused ministry on campus.
Please keep our students in prayer as they minister on campus and if you wish to find out further information about what universities the societies are based in then please check the NEC Youth website and click on the tab entitled 'students'. For photos of the event then please check out our Facebook and Instagram pages @adventistsc.
BIG Six: July 22
Football, Basketball, Badminton, Netball and Table Tennis were the sports this year that comprised the annual Big Six event, a favourite of the NEC Youth Calendar. University of Manchester, Fallowfield Campus, Armitage Centre was the venue and teams from all over the Conference came. Birmingham, Middlesbrough, Leicester, Nottingham, Doncaster, Huddersfield were just some of the cities and towns represented.
Big Six gives the youth a much-needed opportunity to fellowship in an environment outside of church whilst having fun along the way. Some of the same teams play each year and over the years have built up a healthy rivalry. Doncaster have had a very good football team for many years but up until this year had at best finished as runners-up a few times. This year they won a closely fought semifinal against the 'home' team from Manchester South and played Perry Beeches who made their first final appearance after beating a good young side from Nottingham. Doncaster prevailed in the final led by their captain Bheki Sibanda and supported throughout the day by their pastor, Derek Simon.
The basketball event was smaller this year than previous with the victorious team for the second year in a row being 'Air Jamaica'. Badminton has the most categories with singles, doubles, men's and women's games being played. The men's single winner was Jonathan McCool with Marcus Rey as the runner-up. Men's double winners were Jonathan McCool and Ketan. Women's singles winner was Jade McQuarrie with Slyvia Whittingham as the runner-up and the women's doubles champions were Danielle Stevens and Anike.
We look forward to Big Six in 2019 and photos and videos of this year's event can be found online on our Facebook and Instagram platforms @necyouth.
Aberdaron Youth Camps 2018 July 29 - August 19
Aberdaron Junior Camp:
Junior Camp for many people over the years has been an introduction to Aberdaron. For some children it's the first time away from home but more often than not the memories of home are paused for a few days as their time is filled with fun activities, engaging worships and making new friends. The campers are well looked after with a whole range of staff. Counsellors are assigned to each tent and to support them we have the house parents. This year we had Ruth and Paul South from Wolverhampton. The activity staff provide fun activities throughout the day ranging from arts and crafts indoors to games on the beach, mini Olympics and assault courses.
This year the camp was organised by Melissa Nicholson as Camp Master and Taneisha Burgher as assistant Camp Master and they did a wonderful job in keeping things running smoothly. We were blessed to have 43 campers from all over the country. The theme for the worships and camp throughout the week was #selfless and the speaker for the week was Basil Powell from Huddersfield. Supported by his wife Christine he did an excellent job in getting this message through to the campers which was shown on the night of the banquet as many of the tent acts were focused around this theme.
Junior Camp is for children aged 8-12 and so if you have a child between those ages next summer then book their place early! One of this year's counsellors, L'Queba Givans commenting on her role as a staff and Aberdaron said, "I feel that Aberdaron Junior Camp creates a great, safe space for campers to enjoy fellowship with new people and make new friends. All those on camp feel like family; we encourage emotional and spiritual growth and encourage independence in a way that children may not experience at home!"
Aberdaron Earliteen Camp:
Earliteen Camp was another large one this year with 75 campers, mainly from all over the NEC but with a few from other parts of the country and Europe also. Once again we were blessed with good weather as the great British summer rolled on and good weather at Aberdaron always makes for a better camp. We were blessed to have Pastor Dejan Stojkovic, BUC Youth director, as our camp speaker this year and he did an excellent job in engaging with the teens.
A good number of the campers this year were regulars who had 'graduated' from Junior Camp and it was nice to see campers who have built friendships at Aberdaron over the years renewing those friendships once again. Often times we get their request, 'Can I go in a tent with such and such, because we were in the same tent last year.' Where possible we try to accommodate such requests as friendships built at Aberdaron have something special about them. Many adults in the BUC today trace their friendships back to their time spent in a tent in Aberdaron.
One of the new activities that we had for Earliteen Camp this year was the 'new' 7m climbing wall. Almost all the campers had an opportunity to try it out and some loved it whilst others realised that they might actually be scared of heights! Our day out on Thursday this year was spent at the sports centre in Pwllheli and was followed by the 'Superheroes' themed banquet.
Tent inspection once again kept the tents clean (at least in the morning) and the competition friendly between the tents. Many of the counsellors have been coming for several years and their dedication and commitment is greatly appreciated as they are key to making the camp run well. Olivia Campbell who has been coming for 5 years now said, "Aberdaron offers everyone who comes a glimpse into heaven here on earth. A time where we can truly rest from all the issues of life and focus on forming everlasting sincere and fruitful friendships."
Aberdaron Youth Camp:
Youth Camp has been steadily growing in recent years but even to the most optimistic supporters of the camp, expectations were surpassed this year. From just 13 campers 4 years ago, we sold out this year with 2 weeks to go as 67 campers booked their places. Sadly another 20 who had put their names on the waiting list were not able to make it. Attracted by both the stunning scenery and the opportunity to connect with God and other young people, the campers came from all over the NEC with a few coming from further afield in the south of England and also Europe.
This year we were privileged to have two worship speakers. For the first 2 days we were blessed to have Pastor Ian Sweeney, the BUC President share with us and then for the second half of the week we had the SEC Youth director, Pastor Anthony Fuller ‒ both sharing on the theme for the week of #selfless. There was also opportunity on Sabbath for a 'real talk' session where the youth were able to speak openly about various issues that affect them as young people in the Church and how we should live and act as Christians.
Throughout the week we had a wide variety of activities from jet skiing, speed boating, sea kayaking and paddle boarding to some really good arts and crafts. One of the new activities this year was the off-road buggies that we bought earlier in the spring. They were a great hit with those who tried them and were used on a grass track on one of the newly purchased fields. Everyone on site was spilt into teams for the week and whenever we did team games and challenges this took place in teams, encouraging team building and making friends with new people. Each day the points total was tallied up by the house parents and it kept the competition fun and friendly.
Thursday night was banquet night with well over 90% of the campers and staff dressing up in the theme of Superheroes. Friday night we had a moving Agape feast and on Sabbath despite the clouds that threatened rain we enjoyed a walk to Fisherman's Cove. This year we had a large number of 'regulars' return to camp but at the same time we also had quite a few people who were coming to both Youth Camp and Aberdaron for the first time. Next year our dates will be 18-25 August and booking has already been opened.
Volunteers and Staff
We would like to thank all the staff from the summer camps because without them the camps could not run. Their care, commitment and dedication make the camps a success and we thank them for giving up part of their summer holiday and for many, part of their annual leave to come to camp. We would also like to thank the fantastic campsite summer staff who keep the site running as well as the Aberdaron Camp Staff team of Stephen Bull, Akbar Davamony and Violet Kityo.
Photos of this year's camp can be found on both Instagram and Facebook @necyouth.
For those who wish to book early there is a discount for those who book before the middle of December this year. Go to: https://uk.bookingbug.com/home/w1440866 to get your booking in now!