Bart’s Youth Summer Week Away 2011

This year we decided to try something different but no less challenging that last year’s sailing trip!  On 15th August chaos reigned at Semley School as dozens of cars disgorged the twenty five youngsters and six brave adults who had volunteered to help.  Finally, they were all rearranged into one minibus and five cars and set off for deepest Devon and the Heatree Christian Activity Centre.

Heatree BikesHeatree is situated on the edge of Dartmoor and is staffed by active Christians, (mostly young!) who organize exciting activities, share their faith and provide teaching sessions designed to help young people explore Christian beliefs in an attractive and contextually relevant way.  Most of the young people opted to sleep in the Centre but two adults and six youngsters braved the camping experience!

The youngsters were split into three groups for the activities, which included mountain biking, caving, high adventure, low adventure, canoeing and raft building.  In the evenings they took part in a night hike, an activity session with Kub a Viking game and Stomp Rocket Attack – a new game invented specially for the trip.  On the last night they put on “Bart’s got Talent”, a ShowTime with acting, singing, stories and dancing.  A necessary part of any occasion such as this is the opportunity for the adults to make fools of themselves; this they did with gusto.  They performed a poetic record of the week’s happenings set to music.

Before the evening meal each day the youngsters were led in a discussion of faith by the staff.  Topics included what it means to be a Christian, what are the 10 commandments and whether they are good rules to live by and is it cool to be a Christian.Heatree Smile

The week brought out the best in the young people, all of whom grew in confidence and community spirit.  They pushed themselves to try new and somewhat scary tasks such as the high adventure, which required a jump from a platform 50 feet up a tree, putting their trust in the person on the safety rope to let them down to the ground.

A more confident and cohesive group returned home and is now settling down to the winter programme of events.  The meetings have grown in popularity over the last year and there are now around fifty members of whom at least twenty five turn out at any one time.

One Mum was heard to say “It’s lovely to see how my daughter has grown in confidence during the week”.

The trip was a great success and would not have been possible without the support of the grant making bodies and the volunteer helpers, we and the young people at Bart’s are very grateful for your support.

We have made a short video of the trip and you can view it here - Heatree Video