The Norfolk and Norwich Christian community website

Rise of home-grown Norfolk youth festival  

Intents 10Over the Bank Holiday weekend youth groups camping at the Intents Youth Festival on a farm in Mid Norfolk were treated to a feast of fun, mud, friendship and life-changing teaching from Norfolk Christian speakers. Jenny Seal reports.

The fourth annual Intents Youth Festival was held from Friday May 23 to Monday May 26 on the picturesque Brandon House farm in rural Mid Norfolk, near Mattishall.

The Intents team warmly welcomed 45 young people aged between 11-16, from youth groups from across the county and beyond.  Camping on site, the young people were treated to a rich programme of teaching, creativity, fun and games all in an intimate and unique environment.

Intents 4The heavy downpour at the start of the weekend did nothing to dampen the spirits of the young campers.  On the Saturday morning in one of the first seminars, ‘Welcome to Christianity’, ten teenage and pre-teenage boys sheltered from the rain in the ‘iron age round house’ (pictured right) cosily bedecked with fairy lights and bunting, and made a commitment to follow Jesus. The boys were given freedom to ask searching questions and at the end of the hour as they left were prophetically prayed over one-by-one by name.

Intents 9The mix of seminars offered something to challenge young people at whatever stage in their faith journey, with engaging speakers including Danny Doran-Smith from ENYP, JJ Waters from Burn Norwich, Norwich Diocese Rural Evangelist Jessie Walrond, Freddy Hedley, Director of Training at Fountain of Life Church, Michelle and Rod Smith from Glory Tribe and Pete Tyson from Norwich Youth for Christ (NYFC).  The worship was led by Phil Starling from Fountain of Life Church.

The programme balanced teaching, sung worship and input, with periods of intense fun, creativity and the opportunity to deepen and make new friendships.  Downtime provided the option to play a mass Nerf game, learn how to sing with NYFC’s Libby Redman, take part in a two hour water fight, sculpt the Great Banquet with Norfolk sculptor Steve Eggleton, have a manicure or compete in Hunger Games type challenges.

Intents 1The Intents Festival is organised by Adam Jackson, Youth and Young Adults Worker at St Stephen’s Church, Norwich in partnership 
with the Fountain Network and Urban Saints.  The festival, which is held on Adam’s parents’ farm, started as the Fountain of Life church youth group weekend before it expanded and opened up to all youth groups four years ago. 

There is room for Norfolk’s home-grown youth festival to grow and Adam is keen to get the word out to more youth workers.  The cost is set deliberately low at just £37 per young person for the three nights with all food included.

Intents 8At Intents for her second year, youth worker Micki Carey from Holy Trinity Boston in Lincolnshire returned this year with a larger group of 16 young people. Encouraging other youth leaders to book Micki said: “Definitely come. The fact that the Intents team plan everything, organise all the food and all the activities is fantastic because it takes the pressure off you.
“All you have to do is spend time with your young people and help them process what they are hearing.  And they are hearing the things that you want them to hear, that maybe you’ve been saying but it’s different voices and it’s different challenges, and being together with a bigger group has such an impact on them and they journey together in a way that they can’t do necessarily on their own at home.  We came back last time so tight knit and we’ve grown together from that point.  It’s life changing actually.”

Intents 2Returning to Intents for her third year 14 year old Sarah Lofts from King's Lynn (pictured on right, beside Kay Naveh) was most looking forward to: “Meeting new people and the worship which is really good here. It’s great to meet new Christians the same age as you.  It’s just really fun.”

Find out more and book online for Intents 2015 at www.intents.org.uk. 

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