Today, I’m in the middle of leading group sessions as part of the Year 7 retreat programme in a large Church of England secondary school. The children and youth department from WYAD hand me the activity and then it evolves as the day proceeds.
With groups of ten pupils we started exploring the changes in the friends we now that we have moved to a much larger secondary school. How do we make new friends in a bigger context? With a flip chart on the table we “brainstormed” (he’s said it now!) what qualities we look for in a friend, a best friend, a bestie, a bezel.
Using balsa wood people from Baker Ross we then went from the archetype (yes we learned a key word) to our own individual desires by writing the qualities we are looking.
For a plenary (see, I was a teacher don’t you know) we looked at our person and assessed the qualities we were looking for. Then I asked the pupils if they were able to step up to the challenge and be those people they wanted to have as friends. “Can we be those people for others”? Can we be the “honest, caring, kind, funny… ” people we are looking for in the world.
The whole theme of the retreat was “The Light of the World” and this was one of many activities during the day. Later, when we returned together as the larger group we prayed together. I invited the pupils to pull out the wooden dudes they had decorated and think about what they had written. We prayed together that we may become those people who are a light in the world. We prayed that we would develop those good qualities we were looking for in others. We prayed that we would go and be the light of the world.
And then I blessed them.
The children and youth department at WYAD are great with resourcing parishes. They could do with an online presence where you can download resources they make available.