Sunday, July 22

The ICSS BBQ, 2007 Click for more info

Blimey, I'm knackered.

Take 2006's BBQ and then multiply it by ten. That pretty much sums up what happened today. We had the same brilliant food, the same range of stalls (this year face painting was joined by henna and cake decorating) and even the same bouncy castle. Some of the events had evolved - we had Police and Fire officers (with a real life fire engine!) come in to give demonstrations and the like.

What was strikingly different this time was the sheer weight of numbers turning up - estimates put it at around three hundred mouths to feed over the six hours in which we had officially opened shop. That's around one guest per minute (and admittedly we had struggled at some points in keeping up with them all!).

But such numbers brings with them an exponential rise in variety. Whereas for the previous years it would have been fair to say that guests were almost exclusively limited to friends and family of ICSS, this time with the magic of social networking and the Internet, the already traditionally open invite found it way to people we had never been able to reach before.

Families and children, professionals and students, religious leaders, television and media personalities, teachers from the sister supplementary schools, and various others from far and wide: they all made their way to the Froud Centre today. I met more new people today than I do in a month, pushing my ability to retain so much information about so many new faces. The only real bummer was the lack of time; between assisting with the event and, uh, eating my face off there just wasn't enough minutes to talk to all the interesting people who had attended at any real length. Still from the comments left in the guest book, it appears that all had had a pretty good time.

It was interesting behind the scenes too. This was my third time here (oh how time flies!), which means that, relatively, I'm a veteran of the whole experience. But there was an unprecedented number of BBQ virgins today, which is a testament to the changing face and growth of ICSS during the 2006/2007 academic year.

But this wasn't the logistical issue it could have been (or would have been if it was anywhere else). All the volunteers new and old were stepping up to the task, picking up the slack almost automatically when it was needed. When people needed well deserved breaks others jumped to cover them. When assistance was required to do a task, all did them without even being asked. I don't remember the last time I saw such a slick team working as one. The exhaustion on our faces would have been worrying if it wasn't so obvious how we felt about how worthwhile had been. It'll take a good few days to come down from it completely I think.

So yes, it's becoming a bit of a habit to come away from this annual event, stunned at how well it all actually went. I won't even set the challenge I did last time about making it even bigger and better next year; I've now no doubt that we will since that's just the way the ICSS BBQ seems to be going. In fact, I'd say that there's a small danger of it outgrowing ICSS itself and becoming one of the free volunteer based faith social events of each Summer to come.