A life-changing summer
In Summer 2014, an amazing 3,950 children and young people attended a Venture or Falcon Camp. Overall leader Jane Gillis tells us more about the Falcon Camps Treginnis 1 and 2, and the impact this ministry is having on the children and teenagers who come.
'Popular demand is the main reason we started running a second Falcon Camp at Treginnis. We'd been running a camp for 8-11s for a few years, and the kids who were too old to come the next year started asking if we could do something for them. We were very aware that, for some, Treginnis was their only experience of Christianity, and also that the Falcon Camp is often their only holiday, so after a bit of creative thinking, we said yes to a new camp for 11-14s!
'This continuity is part of what makes Treginnis a community and not just a holiday, as relationships are strengthened year on year. Some leaders do both camps, and a few of our teenagers have been coming back year after year since they were eight.
'Creating a sense of family is really important, and so a lot of the Christian teaching is centred around mealtimes. We find that teaching in bite-sized chunks is really effective, with three-minute teaching slots before each course and lots of interaction with the young people. We tell stories from the Bible, personal stories of God at work in our lives and use videos and songs they know. Believe it or not, we even taught the gospel using the Lego Movie!
'We talked a lot about how God's story connects with ours, and in the small group times before bed there was chance for the young people to think about their own stories in small groups and ask any questions. Reaching them where they're at and giving them the freedom to join in as they want to is a wonderful gift to them, and helps them to personally engage with the Christian teaching.
'Leading at Treginnis for many years gives me the privilege of seeing glimpses of the longer-term changes taking place in young people, and we see the Falcon Camps as a mission-shaped community which we hope will continue to bear fruit long into the future. Some of them have really sad stories, and we've been able to help them manage what they've gone through and seen changes in their behaviour and outlook.
'Nearly all the children at Treginnis are from innercity Bristol, so one of the things we're focused on is giving the young people as many outdoor experiences as possible. This summer, we spent lots of time on the beach, went body-boarding, did a nature speedboat ride, visited an outdoor centre, cooked around a campfire and even milked goats and cleaned out chickens at a nearby farm. Seeing their faces when they do all these new activities is wonderful, and several times young people have told me something at Treginnis is the best thing they've ever done.
'A few months ago, Easton Christian Family Centre (where some of our leaders are based) started a Fresh Expression called 'Church@4'. It takes place in the grounds of the local primary school and the congregation is mostly made up of Treginnis leaders, young people, parents and carers. It's early days, but our prayer is that this will deepen the trust and relationships which God has blessed us with so richly.'
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