The National Youth Ministry Weekend is nearly upon us. After two years away we’re finally back and meeting in person! It’s a jam-packed occasion that we hope will really bless everyone there. Based on the wisdom of previous years, here’s some top tips about how to make the most of it.
1. Don’t forget your Covid safety certification
You won’t be able to get in without proof of double vaccination, proof of a negative test within 24 hours of arriving, or proof of a positive test within 180 days but outside of 14 days. You can read more about this in our NYMW FAQs. You’ll need the proper NHS certification of these – hand-written vaccination cards or test strips will not do we’re afraid, and we don’t want you turned away at the door!
2. Don’t forget your ticket either
You’ll need that too, obviously. You should have a digital copy – print it out or bring it to scan. If you can’t find it for any reason let us know!
3. Bring your walking (and dancing?) shoes
Everything is relatively close together at the Vox but you’ll probably still clock a good few steps in dashing from seminars to main events to that vital next coffee stop. And perhaps the worship times will have you dancing in the aisles. So, bring footwear that’ll keep you comfortable.
4. Seminars, gotta catch ‘em all?
There’s a lot of seminars on all across the weekend. Loads of topics from a load of brilliant speakers. The schedule is available now so plan ahead for what you’ll be checking out! If you’re in a team, you can agree to go to different sessions to catch as much as you can and then debrief on it later. If you’re on your own you won’t be able to see everything, but we’ll also be selling access to all the talks from the weekend after the event, so you can catch up after too.
5. But don’t burn out
It’s going to be a lot for all of us particularly after so long apart. While you should try and make the most of your time there, this isn’t school and there won’t be an exam at the end – don’t feel obliged to cram in every single session if that’s just going to be draining for you. Socialising and connecting with old friends or new ones is a really important element too, so make time for those conversations.
6. Bring your Nando’s reward card
Other establishments are available. There’s actually loads of excellent food and drink vendors at the Vox so enjoy those at your leisure. You can also grab some food outside the Vox at Birmingham International (it might be slightly cheaper there), or of course you could also bring your own hearty sandwiches/snacks.
7. But plan ahead/book meals if you can
We’re not the only show in town – and one year 1,000 youth workers were competing with legions of Chesney Hawkes fans for those coveted spots at TGI Fridays. If you want to eat out and you know your plans in advance, book a table if you can. Not everywhere will be available for booking so you may need to just plan queuing into your timing!
8. Bring a mask
You’re used to hearing that but it’s still worth saying. Masks will not be mandatory at the event but we will support anyone who wishes to wear one. And there may be situations where you decide you’d rather have one on, so bring it along.
9. Hate parking? Catch a train
Consider getting the train to Birmingham International instead of driving. It’s right next to the Vox, with regular trains running and you’ll save yourself the hassle of driving and parking. And it’s good for the environment. But perhaps you love parking, in which case…
10. Remember where you parked your car
Okay that’s not rocket science but be warned the car parks are huge! Write down where you parked or take a picture of the nearby sign. You’ll need to validate your parking – find out more about that in our FAQs.
11. Check out the exhibitions
There’s a load of great people and organisations exhibiting at the NYMW. Be sure to peruse what’s an offer and chat to the people there – it might provide the inspiration or connection you’re looking for! Some of them might even give you some free sweets.
12. Be aware of other people
Again, that’s familiar covid advice. But remember everyone will be at this event coming from different places with diverse feelings about such a big event. Social distancing is not required, but just be aware and considerate, and be prepared for fewer hugs going round this weekend.
13. Take notes
Many do this already but bring a journal and take the opportunity to write down what you’re learning and thinking about. Write down those inspiring quotes, verses and big ideas for the future. Write a message to your future self that you can read and be encouraged by. And it wouldn’t be a Christian gathering if we didn’t also tell you to bring a Bible and pen.
14. Help is at hand
The Youthscape team plus wonderful volunteers will all be at the event to help make it happen and to help you – we want you to feel welcome and happy. There’ll be designated points where we’re always available if you need help or just someone to chat to!
15. Don’t miss the free resources!
There's a ton of free resources given to NYMW ticket holders across the weekend, but sometimes people leave before collecting them all! So make sure you stay till the last session on Sunday to get all the goodies for your youth work.
16. You’re allowed to leave the room
If you wander into a seminar and find it’s not quite you’re expecting, please don’t feel that you have to sit there for the whole thing. We are overwhelmingly British, but all our speakers will completely understand if you want to slip out quietly and try something else.
17. We love an early start
We know some of you don’t love us for this, but we want to squeeze as much into your weekend as we possibly can. That means there are events and activities starting at 7.45am each morning. Our 8.15am Bible studies are always among the highest-rated sessions at the event so reward the early bird!
18. Remember to give us (constructive) feedback - we really listen!
If you find something at NYMW doesn’t quite work for you, please let us know. We’ve worked hard to improve this year based on the feedback we had in 2019, but we can only get better when we know what went wrong. Grab someone at the info point, or write to us afterwards. We love mail.
See you soon! Check out more details for the NYMW, including speakers, the schedule and FAQs, here.