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Youth Column: eXp and Me

Youth Column: eXp and Me

Monday July 12

Eleanor Preece, 17, describes her experiences with the eXp youth project in Dunoon and Cowal


I’ve been part of the eXp family since I was introduced to it by my older brother. At the time I had no experience of any form of Christianity due to my parents being atheists.

I went to my first summer camp with eXp before starting high school. During our evenings we had a clubhouse, we would sing, listen and pray and then split off into smaller ‘dorm groups’ where we would talk about what we had heard, our faith and pray together.  I remember having a discussion about where we were in our faith by drawing parallels with a basketball game.  Me, well I was sitting in the crowd watching others with interest. Our theme song for that year was ‘Build Your Kingdom Here’ by Rend Collective this got everyone excited to get up and sing whether they knew what they were singing about or not.

Since then, I have gone from being an attender at eXp, to an eXp ‘Stepper’ (a young person that helps at some of our weekly events), to a ‘Rookie’ (a young person in leadership training).  I was and continue to be encouraged through eXp to explore my faith in God. I have gone from being in the audience (referring back to the Basketball game analogy), to sitting on the side lines, to tentatively starting to dribble with the ball. In other words, I am at the beginning of my faith but growing.

During eXp camp Gordon Whyte started some music workshops and we got to lead a worship song in clubhouse.  The next year, we practiced, just before camp, to learn more worship songs for the camp and from there started playing at Friday Night Clubs around once a month. We formed an amazing group of people and instruments that worked really well together!

Before we knew it eXp had booked a weekend away for the group at a small residential recording studio. We were given music when we arrived and spent the first day practicing before recording 3 songs over the next two days. It truly was an amazing experience to be part of the production of some wonderful music and to be with people that are like family. We loved it so much we had to go back for a second time, this time with more people and sounds to incorporate. One of the songs we recorded was ‘10000 reasons’, during which we improvised a section, it sounded so magical and perfect that it is still one of my favourite pieces.  It was through this that the idea of actually forming a School of Music came into being.

Before Covid, we started playing at church services.  Our leaders would take the service and we would read the Bible passages, say a prayer or give a testimony. It made me so happy to hear from the congregations how our music brought something new and refreshing to their church and that they would love to have us back. I can honestly say that I connect with music in a way that I am unable to do elsewhere. No matter when I listen or how I am feeling, a song will come on that feels like the epitome of my feelings in that moment. Being able to share my gift with others when performing and playing in groups is so amazing, especially when I play with the eXp School of Music.

You can hear some of the songs this group of young people have produced on the eXp Youth Work YouTube channel.

eXp – eXperiencing Faith on Cowal is a children’s and Youth Work Charity supervised by Argyll Presbytery’s Youth Worker, Susan Whyte.


If you are under 30 with a connection to the Church of Scotland, and would like to write for our youth page, email us on magazine@lifeandwork.org 


This column first appeared in July's Life and Work. Order, download or subscribe here.