Last week I was at Basecamp at the Atholl Centre in Pitlochry. Basecamps are training events for 16-18 year olds, mostly young people who have been involved in SU Holidays or Missions and want to learn to be leaders. This weekend there were 17 young people from all over Scotland, from Drumnadrochit to Dumfries.

So how do you train to be a leader? First, the training is spiritual. In our case, we had sessions focused on servant leadership, based on Paul's epistles. After this the trainees shared their Christian stories with one another in group time. A variety of workshops were run to help the trainees with various aspects of leadership, from discipleship issues such as how to care for your group of young people, to the more practical aspects of leadership like how to run a bookstall or a camp bank. Added to this we had some unforgettable scenarios at mealtimes - dramatic demonstrations of how not to be an effective leader!

Meanwhile, we ate wonderful food - my personal highlight was the vegetarian pasta, rich with olives - and all enjoyed the presence of the cooks' two wonderful young children, full of charm and humour. Outside it snowed; inside we clustered round electric heaters as a new heating system was being installed. In summary it was a great weekend. The trainees were up for everything - promising great things as future leaders. My job now is to place them for on-the-job training, the next stage of their leadership training. Ideally I'd like each to help at a holiday and also at a mission. Finally we invite them back for a review weekend in August, which is a great opportunity to hear what God has been doing through them and encourage them in their next steps.

The whole programme is called "COmMISSION" and there are two more Basecamps in June this year if you want to be involved...