A couple of days ago was our termly Youth Worker Network meeting organised by Ian (Youthblog). This time we were at Oakwood Youth Challenge, a fantastic facility with accommodation for residentials for about 80 people (I think that was what they said!) with loads of outdoor activities and a farm all part of the experience. The aim of the centre is to reach out to young people in the local area as well as being a great Christian residential facility. There was only one thing I really wasnt impressed with and that was being given 10 press-ups for a comment I made on the low ropes at the time I only had a half formed argument but I now have a fuller thought on what I said. First to give the context, we were doing a low ropes course and as part of it we had to retrieve a ball (dinosaur egg) as well as getting the team across each stage. As we moved around things were being made more difficult and at this stage we were given 1 minute to think up a plan then 2 minutes to exorcise it. We had already had one attempt and failed, I made the suggestion that maybe if we were trying to over complicate things maybe the simple answer was to leave the egg. I was told off and given 10 press ups for bottling out the argument was that often we are faced with challenges and we cant get out. Here however is my thinking, we had two challenges, too get the egg and to get the team across in 2 minutes, sometimes we can have a situation like this in our ministry and we have to chose which is more important, my thinking was if we were given a time limit surly the team was more important than the egg. Therefore my comment was not defeatist as suggested but one of thinking of the team, given a situation where you know you cant do everything (and we couldnt in the time available) my comment was suggesting that the priority should be to keep the team together at the cost of failing one part of the task. So anyway now for my confession I only did 8 press-ups, I dont have enough upper body strength to do them (despite 3 years driving a 4 tonne bus without power steering) but hey I dont feel guilty, I perhaps feel a little guilty about getting Ian 10 press-ups though sorry mate!
After the low ropes came another challenge, the high ropes! I like the irony of being a stilt walker afraid of heights and just looking up at the high ropes terrified me but in the end I decided to have a go and below is the evidence of that (thanks to Ian for the photo) I would guess this course was 30 40 feet off the ground and yes I was scared but enjoyed it and even stopped shaking an hour or so after getting off it. The thing I found most difficult was where there was something to balance on (like the log in the photo) but also something to hold onto about chest height. I have a reasonable sense of balance (stilts and unicycling etc) and had the opportunity a few years ago to learn the tight rope, I didnt master it but I had almost (probably another ½ hour or so and I would have been fine) therefore I found it easier to balance than to rely on holding on to something, but hey there we go, I did it and Im glad I did and I probably would again, after all it is only by facing our fears we can overcome them!