The perils of an event north of Watford

I’ve got a challenge ahead. The Youthwork Summit, the event that I help to lead with my friends Chris Curtis and Matt Summerfield, is not being held in London this year. According to my friends in events and marketing, this could be very bad news for us.

This will be the fourth time we’ve held the event, but only the second time we’ve held it outside the capital. The last time we did it, we held it in Brent Cross, got over 1,000 people there, and enjoyed an absolutely brilliant day. You can read about that here – but I’m not going to focus on the what’s and the why-you-should-comes in this post. The point is – it’s not all that hard to get to people to London.

So instead – I want to share my big hope: that for once, we might convince people to travel more than a few miles to an event that isn’t in London. I’m not just talking to the Southerners here – there’s a long history of events stuttering along and even dying because they weren’t held in the big smoke – and I’ve been on the inside of those painful discussions where we had to decide to close something down for exactly that reason.

I’ve been a youth work volunteer for over ten years, so I’ve earned the right to say this: we youth workers are terrible travellers. 100 miles on a map can look like 10,000 to us. I get why – we’re busy; many of us have families and jobs and loads of other responsibilities (not least including youth work!). But do you know what – some things are worth travelling to. Very occasionally, it’s good to find a way to get there.

So here’s the deal I’m offering – and I’d deeply appreciate any help you’ll give me to share it far and wide – if the youth workers of the UK are prepared to make the trip to the Midlands on May 18th 2013, our team will do everything we possibly can to make  it the richest, most rewarding, God-soaked, practical and inspirational experience of their youth work year.

Of course this could all be a glorious failure. We could yet end up looking very foolish for trying to do the right thing and move the event around the UK (because frankly London and the South-East gets enough good stuff). But I hope not. I hope that we can draw together the youth leaders of the UK (and beyond) for one amazing day of vision, unity, big ideas, friendship and maybe even a few moments of awe and wonder.

If you want to get a taste of the Youthwork Summit style – big ideas in short talks – visit YWS Inspire for loads of free, high quality videos from past events.

Or if you want to book yourself, and maybe your youth work team in – go straight here. If you do it really really quickly, you might still sneak in at the special price of £25 (it’s going up to £35 this weekend).

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