So I've had some sleep now which is rather good it has to be said! So I can tell you a bit about that wonderful place we stayed nd the great time we had.
The Chellington centre is an extremely well-equipped, well-organised centre, the co-ordination of the site is friendly and really open to youth groups. In terms of equipment the kitchen had SO much and the cleaning materials were impresesive too. It runs on the "leave it ready for the next group" principle which is somehting I thoroughly commend.
The centre is located in an incredibly gorgeous converted 12th century church, the fold-down beds are surprisingly comfortable, if a little odd but hearing that they're used by firemen made me think they probably would be ok! The views are stunning and the availability of your own enclosed churchyard with fire-pit and barbecue is amazing and the addition of the use of a maHUSSive field was fabulous. There was much Kubb y-played!
I couldn't recommend it more strongly.
The weekend away was totally awesome. We played Cranium on Friday night which is a game I really love and is pretty good for a mixed group because it's not all drawing or all questions and you can win by being willing to be silly and do impressions of chickens, Cilla Black, Mr Bean, Eddie Izzard et al or you can be an uber-brain and spell Rhododendron or Catastrophe (backwards)!
On Saturday morning we began doing the papier mache and while the young people sensilbly modelled with balloons for the base of their models, my wo co-leaders explored their inner child with the large bag of balloons!
Then we had great fun with the next team challenge which involved eggs hidden around the centre which contined both a puzzle (a wordsearch, su-doku, code to crack etc. which gave you a clue to the next location) and a chinese character. Once they had collected all the chinese characters they had to find out what thye all meant be finding various translated characters around the building and then using the first letter of each of their words, they had the key-word. It wasn't quite the Da Vinci code but it was pretty tough apparently!
Unfortunately we totally underestimated how LONG it takes for papier mache to dry so the weekend ended with the models still with only their undercoat so we had blue pigs a blue penguin, blue bear, blue fat man etc!
In the afternoon there was some munching of the tiffin made the night before, some chillin and then their all-time favourite - Ready Steady Cook! This year I made a bit of a twist though. In addition to creating a meal out of the ingredients, they also had to create a vegetable animal sculpture. Results on the Flickr group set.
In the evening we focussed our worship on the cross using a great bit of craft making crosses out of nails - a little tricky but worth it.
Then it was time for a campfire and the film chosen by the winners of Ready Steady Cook! We watched V for Vendetta which did prompt a lot of thought.
Sunday morning we got the young people in pairs to take one of the resurrection appearances of Jesus and prepare a worship station for everyone. It was SO COOL. There was a lovely station on Mary meeting Jesus (underwater scultping, floating flowers and writing a reflection - in the churchyard) then we had some reflective questions on Jesus telling Peter, "Feed my sheep" and what that means in our own Christian journeys and an invitation to enjoy the beautiful scenery as we reflected on the Great Commission. Last and by no means least was the Ascension which featured all the cuddly toys gathered around one of the bears who was attached to a string. It was kooky and cool and amazingly it was REALLY deep at the same time. The station invited people to offer something they wanted to be "taken up to heaven". At the end we all gathered aroudn the fire pit outside and burnt them and then shared the peace.
That wasn't all though. The young people then mucked in brilliantly to help get the place cleaned up. We did so well that the centre coordinator told me "you can DEFINITELY come back! It looks great."