As the world celebrates the Olympic volunteers, I think of our own volunteers at St Paul’s, who tirelessly run our children and youth work, week in, week out. They may not be Olympic athletes, but it takes stamina to devise programmes for 0-18 year olds and direct them. If you need proof, checkout my post on FreeZone – Entering The Zone!
Gael Brodie - Ministry Co-ordinator for Youth and Children
Along with staff, Youth Director Sarah Percival, and Children’s worker Sarah Hounslow, a team of volunteers run activities all week. Visiting schools in term-time, running weekend activities such as “Summer Thursday’s” and “Who Let The Dad’s Out”, running youth groups in the evenings or taking a group to summer camp – these are some of the initiatives the leaders co-ordinate.
Gael Brodie, a retired deputy headteacher, heads up this area of ministry, and is responsible for the smooth running of ‘Team St Paul’s’ children and youth work. The skills in her former job; understanding children’s development and what motivates them, conflict management, planning, and leadership are being put to good use in her volunteer role. She is interested and committed to working with children. She said “My role is to support all those working with children and young people. Our aim is to bring as many children and youth to know and commit themselves to Jesus Christ by providing quality experiences at St Paul’s and through outreach events to grow our numbers”. When asked how she felt about her role, Gael said she was, “on a learning journey. Excited and looking forward to seeing where God is leading the Children’s ministry. I feel like ‘new beginnings’ with a new children’s worker and new KidZone coordinators. Wonderful to learn all that is happening in youth work, and toddlers group.”
Gael has a close family, with 3 children of her own, Katie, Greg and Eilidh, and 8 grandchildren. She loves spending time with them, and is enjoying the special moments with her grandchildren. Her Scottish mum showed her the importance of family (Gael was born in Dundee). She also likes reading, cooking, and has started playing golf again. She says golf “takes time but is a marvellous way to relax”.
When she isn’t volunteering, a perfect day for her would be on a beach, with blue skies, warm sunshine, sharing fun and food with her family. Then bed with a good book at 10 o’clock. But what is her strategy for dealing with not so good days? “Start with prayer and reading encouraging scripture. I keep a collection of verses from the bible for times like these. I also make sure I go out to see someone”.
The Bishop of Chelmsford, commenting on the Olympics, said: “Commentators, marvelling at the efficiency with which these Games have been put together, have said it is the largest logistical exercise in Britain since the Second World War. It might also be one of the largest outpourings of good will. This is an Olympic legacy worth holding onto: the desire to serve my neighbour and the desire to celebrate with my neighbour. It is with these things that communities are built”. St Paul’s have served their neighbours in so many ways, and built relationships with the community, and will continue to do so long after the Olympics.
For more information on children’s and young people’s activities at St Paul’s, please check out the children and youth sections on the website at stpaulscamberley.org.uk.