Sunday, January 27, 2013

The return of structure

Having worked as part of a structured Youth group for a fair few years now I've seen the difference that can come of such work.  I even ended up speaking to a local chaplain who was of the opinion that such work is increasing and the call for it is growing as people have begun to notice the implications of a far too liberal upbringing.  To further explain such a point i'll refer you to the video below from TED.com on the very same subject.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Oranges & sunshine

Our world has so many flaws.  The people, so many vices.  I have so many vices.  But sometimes it still amazes you to see the damage that can be done from one to another.

In this case I'm talking of the film 'Oranges & sunshine'.  Which documents the struggle for a social worker to come to terms with, and deal with the mass migrations of children to Australia.  This being done without consent of parents, in fact the children were, in some cases, told that their parents had died!

Once in Australia few dreams of Oranges and sunshine were realised.  Many were sent to places where they were used as labour.  In some cases abused in the most vile forms.  Then they were ignored.

Our government, and the charities who supported the work, hid the migrations from sight.  They pretended it had never happened.  It took years of work to find parents, names, anything to help the lost children of our empire.  23 years before the government even admitted it had happened!

The truth behind human sin is infinite.  We treat each other like dirt.  We take a step up by pushing each other down, revelling in it.  We've made it all too easy to bypass the truth and come out smelling of roses.  The little we do for others is considered enough.

I ask you now to strive for the best.  Normal is not good enough.  You can always do more and what you give will surely be given back to you with interest by He who we call God.  For we shall all face troubles,  but God is with us.

Finally, Human nature is to learn.  Let us move forward, let us forgive, but let us set things right.  We are all in God's Kingdom, we are all brothers.  Live like you mean it!  And love one another.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

For the few or for the many

"Sacrifice the few to save the many"

I was speaking to my captain the other day in terms of the numbers in our sections and the like in the calm after the storm.  We sat talking with the other officers after the company night as to how to go forward in the new year.  However something my captain said bugged me.

" Some kids are great to have in the group, but as much as we try to keep these kids, they will eventually give up."  Referring to the odd kids, the loners so to say.  Imaginative, artistic and highly creative are often major characteristics.  Sport on the other hand is not.  So when it comes to games which the others enjoy greatly, these ones often sit on the sidelines.

Of course when running the games you are often stuck to almost ignore the one.  I struggle with this concept.  When I'm not running an activity i make it my duty to encourage those whom sit aside.  The answers from them often being, "i'm no good at sports", or in some rare cases "i like it but i just want to sit out".  (Some kids really confuse me).

So unless another officer does the duty of talking to these kids I can do but shout encouragement in between running things, a task that is often unsuccessful.  I have rarely seen another officer do so, they've often tried and given up.

Sometimes you even make headway with a child, who then leaves without word. Somewhat soul destroying.

So my thoughts lie with the singular statement above.  Is it worth more to run our activities for the many, or try to do so for the few at the risk of losing the others?

Sadly, my captain may have wisdom I'm too stubborn to accept.  How about you?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Fill-in Games: Elevens

Another one for the younger lot.

Equipment:
       None!

Setup:
 Get all the kids sitting on the floor in a circle, legs pointing inwards.

The Game:

Starting with one foot the kids count to eleven for each foot.  I.e. first kid taps right foot on floor and says 1, then 2 on the left and round the circle.

The kid who is unlucky enough to be 11 takes that foot out of the game then starts with the next foot from 1 again.

That's it!!!

The winner is the person with the last foot in wins.

No idea why this game is fun but they enjoy it!

Expanding the game.

I must admit this is drawn from a more adult version with beverages but it is the natural extension. My friends would call it 21 and the same principle, but you can each say upto 3 numbers.  The person that says 21 is still in but chooses a new rule for the game.  I.e. miss 8 or make a noise instead of 12, a sign or the like.  Pretty much anything goes within reason.  This is more suited to teenagers.  Of course the target switches to wanting to say 21 to make up a rule often.  If you fail to do the right thing however you loose a life and the numbers start again with till 21 is reached and a new rule is created or someone else makes a mistake.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

We will remember

Our Boys' Brigade returned to the fray for the first time since re-opening in 2007 as we formed up in the square next to the cities cenotaph alongside other Youth groups, Royal Marines, RAF, Navy and the like.
The plan was to show the boys the meaning of Remembrance day, to take part in the parade and to show that the Boys' Brigade is still alive, thriving and taking an active part in our community.
We couldn't have had a better group of boys to do so.  With 10 out of the possible 11 of our older members coming allong in pristine uniforms, polished shoes, arm bands and hats forming up proudly in front of a fair crowd.  To have such a good turnout we knew we'd be in for a challenging but good day.
We knew we were on to a winner as the utterings of questions came from the crowd as we marched onto the square.  "Who's that Youth Group?", "Is that the Boys' Brigade Uniform?" and hilariously, "They're either the Boys' Brigade or Big brother or something?"
We replied to those we could but the morning was taken up by the silence at the stroke of the 11th hour and the ringing of the Last Post sounded out through the square.  Our boys, with heads bowed in quiet revererance and thought throughout.  A true moment for us as Officers and a memory for the boys whom did not question or complain but stood out respectfully in thanks to those that died for our way of life and so they might have the chances put before them in these times and those ahead.

Afterwards was lunch before heading to the local museum of the Royal Marines where in 2 groups we led the boys through the story of the impact of the Royal marines, what it takes to become one and what true bravery means.  The boys once again taking it all in.  They asked questions and found answers to ours, learning throughout.  All enjoying the day and content with each others company.

Of course we made use of the Assualt course to end and a game of rounders on the grounds to the front of the museum finishing in congratulations, thanks and a short prayer from the officers as the daylight began to fade.

To have been part of such a day truly inspires me for the future, the potential in the youth we have and the knowledge that we can give these kids something to really think about and they will honour us in their behaviour and actions when given the chance.

If your Youth group, Boys' Brigade or other hasn't felt the impact of being part of Remembrance day in your own town, i urge you to do so and you might see a side of your members that maybe you thought was absent.  We certainly don't regret it, not even slightly.