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Dealing with monsters

30 August 2013

CHILDREN and young people are scared of a number of different things, Chris Kidd says. He is the director of children's and youth ministry for St Andrew's, Dibden Purlieu, on the edge of the New Forest in Winchester diocese. "They're scared of being bullied, scared of getting lost, scared of being alone. Sometimes these can be funny little things, like being scared of what's beneath the bed, to much bigger things, like when they move school and are trying to make new friendships."

The church, he says, has an opportunity to help because, although schools work hard at preventing bullying, there are times when children will be bullied. So, for a week in the middle of August, St Andrew's ran a holiday club for children aged between two and 11.

More than 185 were attracted by the theme, "Monsters Stink!", and, with the 85 trained volunteers, they were able to explore various times when they might be scared - not only of bullying, but of the dark, or being picked on, or when they moved house.

At the holiday club, they used clips from the Disney film Monsters, Inc., and stories from the Bible, to help them to deal with children's fears and emotions. But there were also plenty of other activities, such as stories, games, singing, and messy challenges. And there were workshops for older children, including cake-baking; dance, drama, and music; video and photography; and crafts and sport. 

With the support from St Andrew's and the volunteers, the church was able to run the week with just a suggested donation of £5 per child, which meant that many families who had been unable to afford other holiday projects were able to take part.

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