Last weekend we ran the 2nd Encompass UK programme, and it was a huge success! It was a fantastic weekend of fun, laughter, team work, challenge and some very intense and inspirational discussions.
15 young people joined us from organisations including Refugee Youth, Praxis, Active Change Foundation, Salmon Youth Centre and Aik Saath, as well as young people who had simply heard about the programme through word-of-mouth. This meant that a myriad of different opinions and faiths and communities were represented. However, the group really bonded and it is fair to say that NOT MUCH SLEEP HAPPENED! Instead, the participants stayed awake throughout the night, discussing things like food and rituals in their different religions and learning about each other’s experiences and values.
One of my favourite moments was sitting on the rooftop terrace at 1am in the dark (it was a beautiful evening) and talking about what everyone wanted to achieve in life. It was fascinating to hear how our ambitions varied wildly: from running a nursery to getting a world record in rock climbing to living until the age of 30. They reflected our experiences and yet we all cared about similar things too – like loving our families.
The programme was almost entirely facilitated by our group of volunteers, all of whom are ex-participants on different Encompass programmes. It was really fantastic to see them put into practice the skills they gained through their experience with Encompass. Every single one of them shone and it is no exaggeration to say the programme would not have been possible without them. It also meant that I could sneak off and just take photos… and here are some of my favourites:
Volunteer Jason leads some name games to kick off the weekend.
Then we head up to the climbing wall!
Discussing tactics for the Spider's Web: 8 team members, 8 holes... one team member must go through each hole!
The team manage to get one of their team mates through a higher hole.
The Spider's Web requires everyone to work together.
Mujtaba has just taken a leap of faith!
How can we turn the negatives of our communities into positives?
A beautiful "problems and solutions" tree!
Still just about enough energy for a group photo... despite the intense heat and the fact that some participants didn't sleep at all!