Last week I had a young lad on work experience with me, our main aim of the week was to give him a taster of as many different areas of ministry as we could in the church. This led him to spend two half-days in our Day Centre, for older folk. He happens to be very musical and so agreed to provide musical entertainment by playing a range of worship songs, and then the next day leading the older people in some singing. It was great to see the way that several of his friends, off school having finished GCSEs decided to come and help him out and form a little band for the older guys. Everyone seemed to really enjoy it, and while there was a hope for something more, it wasn’t something I expected to see happen for quite a while. So it was with some joy and a sense of pride in the young people that I heard several of them were going in again this week, and some of them are hoping to make it a regular commitment during their school holidays.
For me, as a youth worker, I see so much potential in these links, these bridges between younger and older people. It benefits the old people in the way that they get additional support at their activities, in very practical terms, they will get extra music, but they also get another person to speak to, someone very different. They also see that not all young people are scary gangs hanging around shops and street corners trying to intimidate them. But alongside that, is a massive impact on the young person – to hear some of the stories, to see the value an older person brings to the community; to learn from their example, so many of these people are our prayer warriors, and to gain their acceptance and support.
Long may links between young people and old people continue to develop in Tonbridge. How else have you developed these kind of links?