Last week the Linhay came to life; its rooms were filled with music, rhythms, singing and the alchemy of making food fresh from the land. Embercombe was filled with the spirit, life and energy of 50 14- 18 year olds from Bristol and London as Embercombe and LIFEbeat embarked on their second year of collaboration.
This collaboration supports young people to embrace creativity in all forms, to experience community, family and nature. It is an incredibly powerful and transformative program both for the young people and the staff.
Dream workshops, song writing, lantern making, nest building, pizzas, gardening, exploring, singing, dancing, movement, natural dyes, drumming, debates and discussion you name it we probably did it!
I am not sure if words can describe what this program does; it gives a creative voice and an opportunity to experience love that may not available to many of the young people who came. It supports participants to be acknowledged, seen, appreciated and met. One young woman arrived so shy she hardly dared to look at us. Hood up and eyes down. Though the course of the week she was allowed to grow in every sense and at the end of the week she stood up on her own and sang in front of over 100 people. Hood down head up.
It was a place where worlds met. Where cultures and knowledge mixed and stories shared. Where street dance and country dancing happened on the same night. Where brave conversations around race, feminism, choice and leadership were embraced. Where stories of the trouble these young people faced were heard head on and hope was found.
I met many fantastic young leaders. Individuals who are stepping up in their communities; standing up for the more beautiful world they believe in. Once again I have learnt from these young people and been inspired by their creativity, strength, bravery and attitude.
A week later I can still feel the heart beat that LIFEbeat brought to this land. I am excited about this collaboration and the magic it will continue to bring both for the young people and the staff.