So, Ladies and Gentlemen, we did it!
To celebrate Eid, myself and a friend got our Tuesday Night Youth Group together to share in food and fun together in celebration. It was a great time and the parents of the young people very generously cooked some delicious (and spicy) food for us all (I even topped off the feast with some of my world-famous Donner meat pizza from a local takeaway shop!). But, this year, to add to the celebrations we thought we would throw in a bike ride too, just for fun! The main conversation filler as we ate was our upcoming bike ride the following week. We had planned an 80 mile journey along a canal path, passing parts of Bradford and Keighley and ending up in a beautiful part of Yorkshire called Malham.
The momentous day arrived and we all gathered together, for what was probably a once in a lifetime experience for some of these young people. We had a group of 15 young people, Christian and Muslim, from different parts of Bradford and Keighley ready to show us just how fit they were.
I have never been so tired in all my life! Neither have I ever been so proud of a group of young guys, who worked hard to reach something that seemed a lifetime away at points. There was some moments of doubt as we rested along the canal and encouraged one another on but WE MADE IT to Malham and we made it TOGETHER!
When we arrived at the youth hostel we relaxed and chatted. I made it my duty to get more Donner Pizza, even if the nearest pizza shop was 10 miles away. It was great to see everyone talking openly as if they had always been mates. The group of lads has struggled through the cycle ride together, and had achieved something significant for themselves!
All in all it was an amazing experience. It was an honour to share the experience with amazing young people and volunteers. The day would not have happened without the hard work from my friends at e:merge (Kev, Pugh and Emma) and my good friend Rob Normington, who is a bike specialist and route master! I would recommend Rob for any youth leader out there who is thinking about doing an outdoor programme!
It’s now my hope that the new relationships which were built amongst the Christian and Muslim young people who attended, will flourish and create lifetime friendships, building upon their experience that weekend to work together to achieve things that seem impossible.