Refreshed from our Christmas holiday the Castlerigg team descended on a conference centre near Derby for the Youth Ministry Volunteers conference on the 3rd of January. We began by being split into small groups with people from other retreat centres and getting to know them. Despite feeling a little nervous about this we quickly became friends and sat together at dinner. It turns out we all have a lot in common, who would have guessed!?

We then celebrated mass and sang my favourite hymn This is Amazing Grace , it felt really wonderful to be in a room celebrating our faith with these people who were now strangers, but would be friends by the end of the conference.

The next day we reflected on the faces of mercy with Fr Damien and had some really productive discussions on the faces of mercy in our own lives. Following this I attended a great workshop on leading praise and worship and song writing, both subjects that I’m really passionate about! I loved jamming with my fellow volunteers and managed to sign myself up to join a band with a new friend by the end of the session!

After a great day of discussion and workshops we all met in the hall for a 20th anniversary of the conference celebration, which took the form of a ceilidh. After a little chivvying we managed to get the whole team on the dance floor, with some secret talents being revealed!

In all the weekend was a great chance to meet other young adults who have chosen to give a year (or more) of their life to youth ministry and share our tips and tricks and most of all to make some lifelong friends.