What do you get when you mix four groups of young people aged from 12 to 24 who have never met before and are different in terms of their background, education and physical condition? Lots of talk…..lots of laughter….and even more fun!
Saturday 23rd September 2008 saw the first combined youth day held at the Lamontville Good News centre. This was the first activity in a new program for the centre in which activities are run for the community several times a week. These include youth days, kingdom youth soccer, reading improvement classes, Bible classes and life skills classes on topics from finance and being part of a committee to health and even arranging a funeral!
On Saturday, we had youth attend from the Mariannhill ecclesia, Mason Lincoln School for disabled learners (better known as Happy’s school), Lamontville UCC and some younger youth from Lamontville who have been attending reading improvement classes run at the centre by Brother David White. What a wonderful opportunity to get youth from all areas together and enjoy a day of fun and fellowship!
The day kicked off with some raucous games which included lots of animal noises…(quite a sight, and sound!) and some activities to get the youth mixing and meeting one another. Brother David White then lead the youth through the “Teen Commandments” (no, not a spelling mistake….10 instructions to help teenagers live Godly lives) and endeared the audience to him at the startling revelation that to count his age by turning around in circles was a challenge on the giddy scale!
Then it was outside for some more games! The competition was stiff in a game where the youth had to find others who met certain criteria and have them autograph their page. “Liking peanut butter”, “having two brothers and sisters” and “wearing a blue shirt” had never been so important! It was a noisy mix of all four groups of youth as they battled to note down people’s names that they didn’t know, for extra points!
The great balloon popping game is always a favourite and this one got off to an early start as the balloons all started to explode prematurely! Even the many young people in wheelchairs participated, with balloons tied to their chairs – I was sure we were going to have some ankle casualties, but everyone became good at dodging! It was lovely to see that the winner of the game was a young disabled girl from Happy’s school, who to everyone’s astonishment showed great determination against Senzo, a young guy from Mariannhill, to take the title as if she had won gold in the Olympics!
Brother Craig Blewett led an interesting session on the Olympics by paralleling the various aspects of sporting achievements to our walk in life to the kingdom. It was touching to think how many of these kids would have real empathy for the stories of struggle to overcome sickness and disadvantage.
The classic South African snack: viennas on rolls! The youth then had the chance to enjoy some snacks and I was amazed at how well they were all mixing. In particular, the care taken by the youth for those in wheelchairs in terms of moving them around and ensuring they had enough to eat, was very touching.
The event ended in the early afternoon, with the youth all hugging each other and waving happily – promising to see their new-found friends again. What a success! We hope and pray that all the youth days held at Lamontville are such wonderful experiences.