Within Dreamscheme, we remained as busy as ever. So much planning went into this summer, so that we could make it our most amazing and memorable summer to date. In this post, we will reflect on the many activites, trips, workshops and summer schemes that we did over the summer.
Have you ever been in a team that just doesn't function?
It's chaos. Disagreements, arguments, divides. It's unhealthy.
Let's rewind back to January, when I had just signed up to go on a mission trip to Gran Canaria. I was excited, but I didn't really know what to expect. The first meeting came along. I remember looking around the room at the rest of the team. Some I knew, and some I didn't. It was clear from the outset that the team leaders Rebekah, David and Alvin wanted us to bond from the start and get to know each other in a more deeper sense. They wanted us to acknowledge each other's strengths and weaknesses, to recognise our gifts and how to use them.
It's 6 o'clock in the morning and you've only had about 3 hours sleep. A wave of excitement rushes through your body. Its time for Camp Sonshine 2018.
Our Summer Dreamscheme programme was funded by Belfast City Council's Community Development Summer Scheme Fund.
On the 31st of July 2017, Dreamscheme opened the doors of Milltown Baptist Church for the beginning of the Milltown and Belvoir summer scheme.
Following great success in 2016, the staff and volunteers of Dreamscheme were excited for what 2017 had to offer. It’s safe to say that they were not disappointed, as it turned out to be another great summer scheme. The week of positive activities allowed many more young people from the area to socialise, make new friendships, and to enjoy themselves.
On Monday, we began with some fun (and slightly embarrassing) ice breaker games, such as musical chairs, parachute games, “Bring me this” and various team building exercises, to allow the young people to come out of their comfort zones. Later on in the morning the team provided a tuck shop, which turned out to be a highlight for some young people, followed by time in the chill out room, where they had access to table tennis, snooker, Xbox, and different types of board games.
On Tuesday, we began the morning by splitting the group up to provide a choice of activities. Those who enjoyed football were taken to the Belvoir 3G pitch for a tournament, while those who were maybe not so inclined stayed behind to do arts and crafts, which involved t shirt painting and designing. Apart from all the mess left behind afterwards for the leaders, this was a really enjoyable activity for the young people, and gave them a chance to access their creative side. The second half of our morning involved a trip to “We are Vertigo”, where the young people made full use of both the trampolines, and the ice cream available.
On Wednesday we held our water sports day, although it was the weather that provided most of the water for us. Unfortunately due to the constant rain that was hammering down, the team were not able to carry out all the activities planned for the day. However the Dreamscheme were not dismayed by a bit of bad weather, and instead carried out various activities, such a messy games, an “Angry birds” themed water fight, and to finish it all off a slip and slide. The young people arrived and left soaking et, so all in all it was a successful day.
On Thursday we began the day with a scavenger hunt, in which the Young people split up into teams and searched for clues around the Milltown area that led to the ultimate prize. The Young people turned out to be excellent at this task, and completed the hunt in no time at all. Later on the morning the team carried out various team games, followed by some time in the chill out room.
For the last day of our summer scheme, the Young people were taken down to Shaws Bridge for a morning of Canoeing with BAC. Thankfully no canoes sank, and the team left with all the young people that they came with.
Once again the Dreamscheme Milltown/Belvoir summer scheme turned out to be a great success, as it gave us a chance to interact with more Young people, to help them grow and to make friends, and to allow them the chance to have a fun and activity filled week.
Anxiety. What exactly is it?
We hear people often say that they are feeling anxious, perhaps if they have a job interview, an important exam - or even a big date! It is characterised by the butterflies in our stomach, our shaking hands, the awkward laugh that we do that sounds somewhere between a cat being strangled and an angry whale. It feels uncomfortable, unnatural, unnecessary, and the word itself is sometimes tossed to the wind in such a way that it loses its meaning altogether: ‘I’m really anxious’, or ‘I suffer from anxiety’... but do you really?
Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about self-image. By that I mean how a teenager might view themselves, their skills and assets, their physical features, their shortcomings, their insecurities. Mostly, I think often on how I, a youth worker from Belfast, can help a group of teenagers to feel confident and fulfilled in a world that constantly tells them that they aren’t.
This summer, Dreamscheme are running two summer schemes, reaching approximately 60 young people aged 11-14 years from Braniel, Belvoir and Milltown estates. If you are interested in influencing and inspiring the next generation, developing new skills, or gaining youth work experience, this is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding things you could do this summer!