(Best viewed large)
When all was packed up and ready for home, I discovered this large scale laminated site map lying in the outer office. During the Conference, it had been on the Control Office wall. The black croses show the location of the Village Hosts. The whole site is split into villages so that campers can pitch with others that they know, or who are from their home area. Most people come with friends or church groups, but there are those who come alone, and part of the New Wine experience is the fun of living as part of a community. Village Hosts are volunteers who help this to happen.
For those of us in the Control Office, the Village Hosts are an essential resource. To my knowledge, we telephoned Village hosts to ask about lost children, medical emergencies, lost property and thoughtlessly parked cars. They, in turn, reported blocked toilets, cold showers, low water pressure and missing fire buckets. One Village Host even made an emergency call to us to report a tent fire. Thankfully, the fire was extinguished with only one person suffering minor burns to the hand, but it reinforced our message about the use of naked flames inside tents!!!
On the whole, Village Hosts do a great job and many offer to take on the role year after year. They help to make the Conference a happy experience for so many people!
Incidentally, my village was Red 3. It was a good spot; nice and handy for the Office but fairly quiet. I wasn't camping with my own church because many were not able to go this year. Instead I was 'adopted' by a pair of churches from Shipley in Yorkshire, which are home to a number of fellow team members. I didn't spend a lot of time in the village, but when I did, I knew that I was amongst friends. Thanks guys. :)