It’s 4 days until the Church of Scotland’s National Youth Assembly in Dundee.
If you follow my blog or my twitter feed you will probably have noticed that this event seems to have taken up lots of my attention over the past couple of months. I wanted to try to write about why that might be because it’s not like me to get so obsessed with a project.
We have history
Lots of history. Yout Assembly has defined some pretty important points in my life.
I was a delegate/participant/sent to the first of the modern Youth Assemblies in 1994. I was still at University and my dad was on the presbytery committee that got the job of sending someone. He didn’t look much further than the other side of the dinner table. I went, I liked it, I got picked to present a report from that Youth Assembly to the General Assembly.
I got a job with the Church of Scotland and became part of the team that delivered the event and spent a year talking Guilds into raising money to support it.
I was even put in charge of running one. 2001 at West Park in Dundee. Possible still the highlight of my career so far.
All good so far, but then for a number of reasons I wasn’t at or was only partly involved in the next few. I felt disconnected from the whole process but in many ways I think that was a good thing. Distance gives perspective. At least that’s what I thought.
Then I was invited to speak at the celebration of the 10th NYA a couple of years ago and thought that was the end of that.
I was surprised to be asked to this year’s NYA. As I said, I thought I was done with it. But apparently not. I’m leading a team (that in itself is worth a post) who will deliver and resource ( I hope) a series of discussions on Social Media. We’ve not been able to meet in real life as a team so we’ve used a wiki to plan and I’ll be doing the delivering and the whole team will be doing the resourcing of the conversations.
So what’s big deal?
I seem to care. More than I think I should. And I don’t know why. I’ve set up the event wiki and a planning wiki, a flickr group and some other stuff. I’ve made suggestions about the event way beyond what I would do normally as an invited guest. I’m not sure why.
One of my frustrations with FURY Assembly (the URC’s version) is that I don’t feel that the skills of the CYDOs (that’s me and my colleagues) are used effectively. I think NYA is better at providing an informed and really challenging environment. Not that I’m trying to big up myself. I’m pretty terrified of this task and maybe that’s why I’ve given it so much attention. Social Media is something that interests me but I’m not an expert. I’m an enthusiast. I see all kinds of possibilities and pitfalls and I think I get some of the challenges for the church but that needs translating for an audience of young adults.
Or maybe it is to do with investment. I know how this event changed my life. I probably wouldn’t have worked for the church if I hadn’t gone to that first Youth Assembly. So, given the opportunity, perhaps I want to make the same kind of investment in this group of young people.
Maybe it’s about me wanting to impress my former colleagues and the new guys. I used to do your job or something like it. Performing in front of your peers is always pretty scary.
Maybe I should get some therapy and find out what it is about this event that gets me worked up! But it does. So the next week is going to be interesting, not least because I’ve still not finished my sessions. I’m going to try to blog the process because it’s an interesting event with interesting people and I want to see what it stirs in me and if that helps me make some sense of how this thing affects me.
Oh, it’s in a 4 star hotel with a pool and gym and a spa. Just thought I’d mention that!