During the 1950's Anerley Methodist Youth Club was host each year to other Methodist Youth Clubs from around Britain. Beds were made up on the floors of the Hut for the boys and the Side Hall for the girls.
We provided our guests with breakfast on Saturday morning and then, donned in green and yellow we all went into London for various events during the day and in the evening the MAYC Rally was held in The Royal Albert Hall.
Then back to our Church for supper and a good nights sleep before going on Sunday to the Service at Methodist Central Hall Westminster. Some of us were in the choir led by Steve Race and sang both in the Royal ALbert Hall and the Methodist Central Hall Westminster.
One of our Youth Club activities was Club Swinging. Our team were privileged to perform with illuminated clubs at the concert in the Roya Albert Hall.
An article on the world wide web reads:-
Masses of Methodists
When the Methodist Association of Youth Clubs (MAYC) was formed – way back on the 2nd June 1945 – it brought together Methodist youth clubs throughout the Connexion, providing them with training, resources, best practice guidance and events.
It’s incredible to think just how many Methodist Youth Clubs there were back then. Within just six years of MAYC being formed there were four thousand. That’s one youth club for every three Methodist Churches in the Connexion.
By 1963 that number had levelled off at 3,400 clubs, accounted for a staggering 110,000 14 to 20-year-olds – the third largest membership of all associations in the country at that time.
The London Weekend
One of the biggest things the M.A.Y.C. put on was the annual ‘London Weekend’, held in May each year. Attracting thousands of young people from all over the country, the London Weekend encouraged youth groups for decades, inspiring incredible loyalty and fervour.
But, from 1989 it became clear that the event just wasn’t working any more. It wasn’t just the costs of putting it on (although it was very costly). It was the changing nature of youthwork in the Methodist Church and the declining numbers attending.
After wide and patient consultation with all constituencies, the brave and necessary decision was taken to break the mould of the event and experiment with a new style of national gathering. 1998 saw the last ever London Weekend.
In October 1999, the first ‘Breakout’ event was held at the NEC in Birmingham. More weekend tickets were sold than for the 1998 London Weekend, but the hoped-for numbers of extra young people booking for the Saturday evening concert did not materialise.
Breakout 2000 was held in London Docklands arena. In many respects it was a success, but costs continued to escalate. It was time to take stock. So, the findings of an extensive review were presented to the Methodist Conference 2001.
Conference agreed that there was still an important role for Breakout, but that:
Breakout would be held on a biennial basis
Breakout would be an integrated part of the youthwork of the Methodist Church
Breakout should be complementing and enhancing youthwork locally
Breakout should continue to focus on the priorities that have always been at its heart – participation, partnership, belonging, fellowship, fun and learning
Breakout should be a unique event – complementing rather than competing with other events on offer to young people nationally and regionally
Since this review, Breakout has continued to evolve and develop.
In 2002 it was held at the NIA in Birmingham, while for 2004 and 2006 it moved to a single-site venue – Blackpool Winter Gardens. Breakout 2008 moved to Cliff College, where new accommodation streams could be offered.
Breakout 2010 the last of its kind
Breakout 2010 will again be held at Cliff College in Derbyshire from 9-11 July however, this one will be the last of its kind.
The changing context and a new future emerging
The Children & Youth Team of the Methodist Church is now embarked on rolling out its five-year Connect Strategy. The strategy has seven key themes:
Valuing: Encouraging churches to value children and young people and ministry with them
Thinking, talking and being with God: Exploring our understanding of how God connects with children and young people
Being 21st Century Church: Helping children and young people to experience different forms of church and worship
Supporting the workers: Enabling those working with children and young people to connect with God, the world and each other
Teaching and challenging: Providing resources and training to enable people to give appropriate teaching, challenge and nurture to children and young people
Participation: Helping the church to connect with children and young people by using different methods of participation
Speaking Out: Connecting people with the issues that affect the lives of children and young people
And the future shape and direction of Breakout is a key part of all this.
The team is already forging ahead in delivering the Methodist Church’s Youth Participation Strategy. With the One Programme, Regional Participation Project Managers and the new Youth Assembly – building on the best of Breakout and weaving it into a new form so that experience and knowledge is not lost but nurtured – the Methodist Church is leading the way among the denominations in its systematic and missional engagement of young people across the country.
The Team still recognises the role of big, national events. But, instead of trying to do everything in its own strength, it is looking to partner with other organisations who share its vision and values, but who have established expertise and experience in doing what they do. That is why the Methodist Church will be partnering with Greenbelt Festival – the largest, longest running Christian Arts Festival in Europe – over the next few years, as well as exploring a number of other exciting and creative synergies with other denominations and agencies.
Alongside this, the Methodist Children & Youth Team will be developing an increasingly regional focus. This will see the Team taking its youth engagement nationwide, year-round and into the grassroots, building on the programming strands that have been so successful at Breakout in engaging young people in body, mind and spirit. It will also see the Team providing retreats and opportunities for exploring vocation. And all this with children, young people and the children’s and youth workers who seek to guide and inspire.