Friday afternoon greetings to you all out there! A bit muggy here today but no sign (yet) of the torrential rain forecast, maybe it will head somewhere else – we are certainly hoping so as a Friday afternoon in the park is just what we all look forward to.
With this fantastic weather our focus again has been on the outdoors where all our projects have benefited from the outdoor space on our doorstep and the sunshine. After Schools and Autism have been outside at every opportunity – having snacks outside, outside homework sessions, dressing up, den building, outdoor art and games; great to be out in the fresh air and sunshine even if you are doing maths homework. There were also a few visitors in the form of slugs, snails and slaters which provided great interest, some even relocating to new homes via yoghurt pots and jam jars. This week we welcome Kendra and Andi as volunteers to our Autism project; they are already settling in well getting to know the young people, their interests and needs and we appreciate their interest in this project. Leanne and the team are organising some summer outings for the group taking on board the members’ interests (e.g. trains, animals) and seeing how these can be accommodated. After Schools staff also met this week to organise their summer (just around the corner) with staff rotas, outings, visitors, staff leave etc.so the wall planner is definitely filling up.
Last weekend Youth Club helper 14 year old Jamie McWilliams co-ordinated a Boys’ Sleepover event in the YMCA with 20 boys spending the night not sleeping (at all) but taking part in a huge range of games, challenges and discussions. Jamie and his team did a fantastic job, looking after everything from a risk assessment, contacting neighbours, delivering the 12 hour programme and then making breakfast! They certainly had great fun and there was plenty of conversations about life, the universe and everything in between – truly a memorable night for all. Thanks to the youth club staff who provided support for this marathon – they all look pretty fresh in the 2.45am photo.
This week there has been more outdoor activity with rounders, football and relay challenges as well as also chilling in the evening sunshine. Robert (IFA Coach) has been back with more coaching for our footballers and there has been the usual art and cookery sessions going on. Youth Club members also spent time thinking up some new art and cookery options; the list of 23 cookery items included everything from pizza and burritos to the more unusual such as watermelon cake and unicorn buns. The suggestions for art were no less imaginative – India art, solar system modelling and eye ball art! Looks like some interesting sessions ahead and great to have young people contributing their ideas to the programme planners.
YMCA Week starts tomorrow and today will be the first of our YMCA WORLD CHALLENGE Run The World sessions in the always beautiful Dixon Park. This is part of YMCA Week across the globe and our members will all together run a half marathon – this works out at a couple of hundred metres per participant, so should be well within capabilities. Hopefully it will be a fun event and a reminder that we are part of a world wide organisation, working in different locations delivering different projects with either many (or perhaps limited) resources and yet all to benefit children, young people and those in need.
This weekend also sees the start of our Big Lottery funded NPLQ project with 8 young people enrolling to complete an accredited lifeguarding qualification alongside personal development sessions. Also our Mid & East Antrim Council funded Multi Sports programme starts this weekend combining sports and Good Relations for 7-11 year olds. So plenty of opportunities for children and young people to get together and get active.
The skies are getting a bit grey here now but sure, whatever the weather, we will have a great weekend and we trust yours is just what you need. Thank you for your continued interest.