Lucy with some of the FreeZoners
As I entered the FreeZone, I wasn’t sure what to expect. In a previous post, St Paul’s Youth Director Sarah Percival told me “Year 6-8 meet at FreeZone in St Paul’s on Thursday between 7-8.30pm for manic fun”. She wasn’t wrong about the manic! I must be at St Paul’s then.
FreeZone is a lively youth group in Camberley, which seems to be all about having fun, making friends, eating sweets and learning along the way about life. Oh, and it’s free too (but I don’t think that’s why it got the name). Sarah and a team of volunteers plan and run a range of activities including sports, games and crafts for the hour and a half of extreme excitement. Table football, Nintendo Wii, Sony playstation, comfy sofas, nail painting, games in the hall, football and competitions are some of the activities on offer. Most of St Paul’s centre is dedicated to FreeZone for the evening, including the hall to chill out and run around in.
The boys liked playing with the Playstation, Wii and playing pool, and thought FreeZone was “Wicked!”.
I met up with some of the 11 year old girls, to find out more, whilst they were chilling on the comfy sofa. I quickly learned FreeZone is all about Talk, Tuck and Chill. The talk is on a different topic each week, around God. “Even if you’re not a Christian, it’s nice to talk about things and meet and chat with new people. It’s worth coming because of all the fun we have.” said the girls.
Lucy is one of the team members who has helped to run FreeZone the last year, and is a former FreeZoner herself. She told me the activities have moved on from when she was in the ‘zone’. Back then knitting was one of the leading edge activities. The girls didn’t seem too keen on knitting. These days, sweets seem to be a very popular choice, with a tuck shop open on the night. Lucy gives up her Thursday evenings to run the group because, as she says: “it’s really fun, and I like helping out. Its a great life experience.”
FreeZone provides an opportunity for young people to build camaraderie, and seek advice and guidance, in a fun, safe environment. “It’s good times” say the girls. Looked like good times to me too, so let the good times roll. Except that perhaps next time, I’ll take some ear defenders!
To find out more about FreeZone at St Paul’s, come along, or contact Sarah Percival on 07921 816631 or firstname.lastname@example.org via email.
Hear all about FreeZone from the FreeZoners….