Harnessing Your Power Youth Gathering
On Saturday 04 March 2023, 50 plus children, young people and their leaders gathered together at Wesley’s Chapel for a day conference, exploring harnessing their power. The day was facilitated by 3 of the Connexional Youth Reps (Eli, Iraj and Owen) and we were joined by young people from all over London and beyond.
This fantastic day provided the young people with the opportunity to look at the ‘powers’ they hold and find ways of harnessing their power for good. Over the course of the day, we covered 8 powers:
Power of Prayer
We all have the power to choose to be kind. In this section of the day we explored the power of kindness through the game, Random Acts of Kindness Bingo
Time is a commodity we all have. So, we asked the question: "How do you harness your power of time?" Our young people got together into small groups and wrote down as many ways as possible.
“Self-education is the single most important things you can do to challenge society.”
– Gina Martin.
To explore the power of knowledge the young people named issues that were important to them and then discussed a selection of the issues in groups; discussing how they can gain knowledge about each issue.
The power of money is not just about donating to charity. Every pound we spend is a vote for the kind of world we want to live in, so we got the young people explore the top 10 tips for ethical consumerism, from www.EthicalConsumer.Org; before focusing on these four:
Boycotting the Bad Guys
Getting Active and Challenging Corporate Power.
“I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” – Angela Y. Davis.
We listened to a dramatic reading of an extract taken from 'Do Something: Activism for Everyone' by Kajal Odedra. The extract illustrated the power of speaking up when you feel something is unfair or needs to change, and showing that it needn’t be a massive, global issue that you’re campaigning on. We then got the young people to come up with as many ways of using their voice as possible, before exploring who they can lobby to make a change.
We spent a big chunk of time thinking about the power of privilege, which recognises that certain people have benefits, advantages, and power because of aspects of their identity. People experience life differently because of certain factors, such as their race, education, or wealth.
We also explored the idea of dominant culture. People closest to the dominant culture get to decide what behaviours, values and traditions that are considered acceptable and the ‘norm’. In the UK this is people who are white, male, upper/middle class, straight, cis-gendered, educated, athletic, neuro-typical, able-bodied. These people are mostly in charge and have most of the power. The young people were encouraged to think about the dominant culture as an imaginary box, writing down the identities they hold that are a part of the dominant culture and inside the imaginary box. They then wrote down their identities that are marginalised, and therefore outside the imaginary box.
We then did an activity using The Diversity Dice from the Frontier Youth Trust to help the young people and leaders to reflect on and have conversations about diversity. Using the five main dice (faith, gender, sexuality, race and disability) and after getting them to throw the dice, we asked them to think about the following questions through the lens of privilege:
How does society see this person?
How close are they to the dominant culture?
What issues might they face?
How can you support them?
Self-care is a radical act. We live in a world that tells us we must be busy; we must be productive or consuming all the time. Taking time to look after ourselves is taking a stand against the capitalism that rules our lives.
To explore the power of self-care we were led in a Zentangle drawing workshop by Bron Coveney (who also produced the artwork for each of the powers). Zentangle is an abstract drawing created using repetitive patterns with the invention of making the act of drawing pleasurable, meditative, and accessible to all.
The last, but by no means least power is the power of prayer. We don’t always think of hope as an active thing, but it is something we can practise. We can hold on to hope by holding on to who God is. It’s great to remember, for instance, that God’s love for us is not determined by how hard we work or how ‘good’ we are – but is rooted in grace.
So as the day came towards the end, we wanted them to remember that they're not alone in the fight against injustice, and that we can hold on to who God is and hold on to hope. We therefore gave the young people a piece of paper and got them write something they wanted someone else to pray for them based on all the things we spoke about during the day. We then had them make it into a paper airplane. Before on the count of 3 they all threw their plane is different directions, before picking up an airplane that didn't belong to them and challenging them to pray for that person/thing, taking the airplane with them to continue praying for them/it.
We closed off the day by asking the young people and their leaders which power resonated with them the most and why. They stood by each piece of artwork representing that particular power and asked them:
How will you Harness the Power of…?
The young people really engaged with the material and left them with the challenge of how they were going to harness their power when they are back in their churches and circuits.