Harvest is an event in the North East of England originally based at witton castle in county durham, but now based in Teesside. It is for young people to connect together for around a week, and get to know God in a different way.
I started to go to harvest in 1994, I was around 14 to 15 years old and went with the church I was with at the time called The Tab – I made so many new friends while I was there, and learned how worship could really be expressed by youth and not just hyms in church but actual music you could enjoy singing and dancing too. There was many games, seminars, and workshops of sorts – be it learning, how to put into action or having fun.
There used to be a game – a challenge between the villages of harvest. People were split into 4 colours of village depending on the area you came from in the North East.
The challenge was its a knock out – they played it each year until around 1998 and it has never been seen before. Basics of it was silly games that involved a lot of water – knockout with sticks with foam on ends pushing one another trying to make the other person fall or bobbing for items in buckets aswell as physical challenges but all in the idea of fun. I enjoyed it a lot.
I went to harvest as a participant til around 1999 (aged 19/20 ish) after which I joined the stewarding team. I initially joined because many of my friends were already part of the team, and we were hanging out already. When I started stewarding you still paid to go, a few years in they stopped charging staff and it was kind of just accepted. From this year, they’re asking people to put something towards costs which is understandable but they seem to be getting a lot less people volunteering now.
9 years of helping out stewarding – I’ve seen many ideas on how to work it, how to help and what has or has not worked. People do seem to be repeating past things and don’t often believe its been done before – or not done as the circumstance often is. This year, 2010 I am not doing the stewarding at harvest, I’ve enjoyed my time there but its time to move on like so many friends already have.
Last year (2009) I was on stewarding team primarily, and ministry team secondary – I learned a lot, or so it felt so. People suprised me and opened up and it was good. It is time for me to do something different.
I am not sure what this year I will be doing at harvest if anything, I’d like to go and see how it is without being on the staff side althou I am not sure that is even possable. I think I will apply to be on the ministry team once again so I can help out, but also enjoy the site and see things before ending.
I feel it may be my last year helping out there, and this saddens me as it is an event that has helped me for a long time, over half my Christian life, and about half my actual life. Its helped me meet with many like minded people and has been very enjoyable but just as last year was my last year to steward, this may be the last to help before I am just a visitor.
All in all, Harvest has been amazing for me – so many new friendships and many ups and downs. Enjoyment from wandering, talking, playing, and listening. Its been a good time in life that I am glad I’ve had the oportunity to have.
Some people I made friends with in 1996, I was working with on team in 2005ish – we all said to one another – I know you, but I don’t know how? From photos I found later in the year, I discovered we’d all hung out together as one random group in a tent for a few days one harvest – some 10 years ish earlier but had lost contact – well before internet and email was the norm.