Totally Catholic Youth Ministers Lounge

Are you in youth ministry and you've had it with crazed parents? Rollin' your eyes at the pastoral council? Tired of administration work? Love youth? Love the Church? Appalled at parish politics? Looking for some good games? For a creative ways to teach a lesson for Religious Ed? Just need a place to veg out and say "phew! Someone outside of the parish to talk to!"? Grab y'r Starbucks, turn the computer away from the staff's eyes, grab a seat on a donated dusty couch and let it all go.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Church History Resources

Does anyone have any good resources for Church History?

I'm doing a trial run of a class we'll be doing next year for our post-Confirmation 11th and 12th graders. It is sort of an AP Theology course-much more in depth than their RelEd classes yet not quite College level. I took Church history as a course in school, but it was never my forte. Any good adult reads? (they want challenging information)

Just A Word

About Youth Specialties.

I really like their Youth Ministry journal and now their on line resources. While we as Catholics are catching up and formulating our own youth ministry vision and resources, the Protestants are still way ahead of us on so many things.

Having said that, I am also aware that some of their stuff is not necessarily going to meet the needs of Catholic youth ministry. They are going to take a much different view on forming ones' theology and how and what kind of message to bring to the youth. Whatever I post here will be good sensible wisdom for anyone in youth ministry no matter where you are at in the Church.

The Back Row Club (It's Not Just In Catholic Churches)

Have you ever had those kids in Confirmation class who CLEARLY do not want to be there? Syler Thomas writes a good, encouraging article for Youth Speacialties:

We're called to make disciples. In some cases, that will involve pursuing lost sheep, reflecting God's heart in Luke 15. In other cases, it'll involve shepherding the flock that's under your care, heeding Peter's charge in 1 Peter 5:2.

It takes a lot of courage sometimes, do step out of ourselves and do what is right for that young person-but aren't they what it's all about?

WHY It's The Best Band Ever

well, at least lately. Here's an article.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Road Trip Games

I'm printing out all of our summer events, many of which involve driving long distances-Orlando Florida for Workcamp, Steubenville, Ohio for the Youth Conference, Notre Dame for the ND Vision week...and one of my faithful readers sent me an email wondering:

Does anyone have any good road trip games? Maybe a mind bender riddle or a travel game. Do you have a good one-or several-I'll need plenty for the Orlando Trip! (thanks to Jim F. for the idea!)

So Much Info, So Little Time

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I've been a little on the busy side. I've tried to keep posting so that I don't loose you all!

Now I find that there is so much information that I've been wanting to post I can't keep up with myself!

The Holy Father

As you may have already heard, the Pope is in the hospital again-had a tracheotomy. Pray for his health, strength and endurance.

(A local radio station called the office and wanted a comment. Our secretary didn't want to comment, and I was the only one here-why not form their own opinion? Why call the token Catholics in the community? Anyway, I hope I did right by him. The Pope that is, not the reporter.)

Stats on Catholics (teens)

Does anyone know where to get a variety of stats on Catholic teens besides Barna? I view Barna everyonce in awhile, but I find their method of questioning distinctly Protestant evangelical. Terms are used in their questions that Catholic kids don't use and may not really understand. So I was looking for research that is particular to Catholic youth. Is there anything out there?

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Forgot To Tell You

Found out last night at RelEd that a few of the boys-same ones I eyed in the firecracker incident-were the reason that the other boys' cabin froze that night. They had unhooked the heater. Not sure how that happened.

What Did I Just Do???

I'm an adult, but sometimes the things I do scare the bejeezus outta me.

I left a message for one of the parents who I have been in conflict since our first conversation and invited her to lunch. It gets worse: She accepted. Holy Cow!

I have no idea how our conversation will go. Do we rehash the past? This may work so that we have a clearer understanding of each others' version of the past, or is may work to further the canyon that exists and both of us leave angry. Do we just say "Fresh Start!" and get to know one another so as to give the other the benefit of the doubt in the future?

I'm not sure. And to make matters worse, her granddaddy gives a substantial amount to the parish. Funny how I didn't have these arguements when I was working inner city.

*sigh* I'll be praying a lot these next few days.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


Well, for starters, thank you all for the prayers. We had a pretty good Confirmation Retreat.

We had 49 of the 58 Confirmation students on retreat-and 2 ended up going home sick. We had team of 14 teens and 8 adults. The teens gave the talks, led the games and led the small groups. I go back and forth as to the wisdom of having teens lead the small groups. On one hand it is empowering, especially if they get training before hand. On the other hand, they lack experience and life lived to offer the kids in their small groups.

The theme of the retreat was Journey: getting started on, journey within, with others, with God, and finally Confirming the journey. All went well until during the second talk when fireworks went off outside the chapel where we were meeting. For a good minute and a half they popped and sparkled. I looked at my more suspicious boys and couldn't tell if they were the culprits or not. Later one of the teen team told me that he heard that some of the kids at school knew we were going to be here and had planned on doing something. Sometimes staying in town is not always the best thing!

The highs were that we were at a camp, and right on Lake Michigan. It was also watching the teen leaders do their thing and work hard. I was also thrilled when it was peaceful and quiet by 2:15am and I could go to bed in peace, pretty sure that no one was going to get up in the middle of the night and wreak havoc. (Seriously. Last year I stayed up ALL NIGHT.) We also do a "Palanca" letter-we send a letter to all of the parents asking them to write a letter to their son or daughter about whatever they want to write. Palanca is a Spanish word meaning lever, or to support, to lift up. At a time when for many of them meaningful conversations with their parents is low it is touching to see them read their parents words of love and care for them. Good stuff.

The lows was that there were about 6 boys who kept the same attitude together: This is bull. We aren't going to participate, we are going to roll our eyes and we really don't care. Unfortunately, for at least one of the small groups, this may have intimidated the others to not share and even join in on the attitude.

I can't help but wonder if part of their resistance was due to my lack of prayer. I have been so task oriented these past few weeks, careful not to mess up in the administrative end of things that I just let the attention to prayer slip on by. I hadn't even let my family know that we needed prayers, something I always do before a big event. I hadn't prayed much for this retreat, we didn't even get a chance to pray over each other as a team before the retreat. It made me realize that while these boys have their own stubborn free will and issues, prayer really and truly is the key. I was fighting a spiritual battle for their hearts and minds-but with rusty swords and dull armor. I hope never to make this mistake again.

The team and I have found that we need to revamp much of the retreat. As it stands now, we have one talk, one small group and then go right into reconciliation and Mass. We just get them in the door and then say "come confess your deepest darkest secret"-no warm up, very little prep. We are definately changing that for next year.

All in all, it happened. I had a great team of kids, wonderful adults and ideas on how to make it better next time around. I loved the camp and while some of the teen Team liked the old place, pretty soon no one will know what it was like to be at the old spot and we can stay put and iron out the challenges of being at this Camp.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Pray For Us!

I'm in the throes of packing up for our Confirmation Retreat. It will be Sat-Sun, 5 talks given by the Teen Team, Reconciliation, Mass, Small Groups and sleeping in cabins where you have to walk to the bathrooms! Ah well, it's on the Lakefront, so I'm not going to cry. It is snowing and I wish it would stop!

Please pray for us! Pray for the Confirmandi, the team, for me, for the other wonderful adults.


Thursday, February 17, 2005

Baby Got Book

This is especially funny for anyone who grew up with the rap song "Baby Got Back" which-for the uninitiated-is a rap song, yes, about girls' heinies-but it's quite funny, really!!

Anyway, this is quite a take on a um, "classic"!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Confirmation Retreat This Weekend

And if you've ever done one you know you run around like a chicken the whole week before.

I'm still quite interested to know what Catechetical materials are being used at your parish: Sadlier, Pflaum, etc. Do you like them? Are they good? How do you define what should be in them? What do you find useful or not useful? What should a newcommer to Religious Education be looking for (or looking for what is lacking)?

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Go Ahead, Share!

I think the below conversation about Confirmation Materials could be extraordinarily helpful to almost every DRE and Dir of Youth Minister who wants to have excellent materials to catechize and evangelize the youth. However, this forum won't work unless we have lots of commenting, so could I get each of you to pass this site along to at least 2 or 3 others?

I realize this could sound like an ego quest-it's not-and that it takes times to build a following. I suppose my motto has been "If you build it they will come"-and I'm hoping that exactly that will happen so that we can have lively discussions!

So, go ahead-Share!!

Explain The Reference

It just dawned on me that I get the reference of "Cleanin Out My Closet" when it comes to some of the music our teens are listening too, but not everyone does.

It's from Eminem's album "The Eminem Show".

Friday, February 11, 2005

Confirmation Materials

We are using two sets of materials: For the 9th grade, we are using "Confirmed in a Faithful Community" and for 1oth grade LifeTeens' "ROC: Rite Of Confirmation".

Any thoughts on the first one? I honestly haven't gone through it in depth enough to make a solid opinion.

What are you using?

Cleanin' Out My Closet

When I worked in the inner-city I found most kids listened to music that many adults would shake their head at and say "That's just so wrong". Typically, we'd try to get them to not listen to it and find something more "suitable" if you will, for their ears. Garbage in, garbage out, is the thinking.

However, I began to see that, like my own generation, music can also explain a great deal about what that kid is going through. Why are they attracted to that group or performer? What is it about the music that draws them into it? It might be the beat, it might be a guitar lick-it might be the lyrics.

In a recent article for Policy Review, Mary Eberstadt writes about the message that the music sends-and that we need to hear. She states

To put this perhaps unexpected point more broadly, during the same
years in which progressive-minded and politically correct adults have been
excoriating Ozzie and Harriet as an artifact of 1950s-style oppression, many
millions of American teenagers have enshrined a new generation of music idols
whose shared generational signature in song after song is to rage about what
not having had a nuclear family has done to them. This is quite a
fascinating puzzle of the times. The self-perceived emotional damage scrawled
large across contemporary music may not be statistically quantifiable, but it is
nonetheless among the most striking of all the unanticipated consequences of our
home-alone world.

It seems we'd all do well to listen a little closer.

Do you know what your kids listen to and why?
(thanks to Amy Welborn for the tip)

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Notre Dame Vision Program

Good morning!
Has anyone ever heard of Notre Dames' Vision Retreat program?

I have a former student who is going to Notre Dame and is on the team for it, and wants to invite some of our youth to attend. The retreat is do help youth determine their vocation in life-in the broad sense.

From what I am understanding the week revolves around 4 areas: Invitation, Catechesis, Prayer and Community. While I'm sure many fine things go on at ND, I'm always a tad wary when it comes to their brand of theology.

So, if any of you have any insights that you could share that would be great. I have to say I've always approached vocations with a broader mindset-that it's not just about finding priests and religious, but answering the call of God in our lives.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Hail Mary, You're Funny

Mary is the name of our Liturgy coordinator. Today as we all got back to work after the Noon Mass, we found that there were several messages and phone calls wondering when the evening Mass was. Mary said "They always want to know if 'Ashes come with that'. One of these times I'm going to say, 'No, fries and a Coke'"

Then, as she was walking down the hall I heard her say "I'm glad we can at least drink between meals" and as she passed my desk she waggled a bottle of wine in front of me.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Lenten Resolve

What are you doing/not doing for Lent?

I may make it my obligation to meet with certain parents in the parish who I've made mad-unintentionally, but they're PO'd anyway. I only want to hear their concerns, but I want them to know what I'm about as well. It will take courage and humility. I'll let you know how it goes.

However, I will say that Lent came upon me quite suddenly, and right after a time that I felt on the defensive-so you can read: Bad Attitude. Not really wanting to get into the "spirit" of Lent if you will. But I want to give up something this year in an effort to be transformed.

What are others doing/not doing?

Mardi Gras to Ash Wednesday

Well, the Mardi Gras was a success. The high schoolers ran games for the little ones, everyone wins a prize from Oriental Trading Co., lots of sugary treats, music, balloons and masks. About 8pm everyone heads into Church, we sing Alleluia one last time, and the deacon reads a prayer that reminds us that Lent will soon be underway. We walked together out to the parking lot where we lit and burned last years' palm branches for Ash Wednesday. We sang "Jesus Remember Me" and the deacon finished with a prayer.

I'm not sure there is any formal prayer that this comes from other than a tradition started at our parish. I was a tad annoyed at all the kids who had their balloons in Church, but they did a great job of not bringing in their snacks and soda. What I think I liked most about it was that it was a way to teach the kids what Mardi Gras is-not just a wild party to break up the winter blues, but to know that the next day begins a solemn time in our Church year.

So, to all...Let Lent Begin!

Nursing Home Visit part deaux

Does anyone watch VH1's "I love the 90's part deaux"? That's why I thought of "part deaux" with that dumb guys' voice.


Well, I told you I'd report back on how the visit went.
It went very very well.

But my day was insane!

I began the day early, packing up the boxes so that I could deliver them to the coordinators. One of my coordinators called me Tuesday night and said that she couldn't do it, so I had to find someone very quickly. Called one of the 7th grade catechists-no problem, she said. They have a family friend at that home that they can visit. Phew! Said I, I'll get you the materials and such.

So, Wednesday we had staff lunch together. I still needed to pick up a few more things because I was afraid I'd have to few things to do. I had lunch from 12 to 1, went out getting things from 1-2, drove out to the next town where one of the coordinators worked to give her the supplies. From there I thought I knew how to get to the next work place of the other coordinator.

Oh no. I did not. And his directions were not very good.

So I'm driving around this town, driving around my town, looking at the map-can't find it. One of the problems is that streets around here have this nasty habit of changing names as you are driving down the street. Really! You could think you are in "a" boulevard when suddenly you look at a sign and it is "yellow" street. Same street! No curves, no turns. Just a new street name.

So I end up back at the parish around 3. Call this person. Get directions again. Zip over to the next town to deliver the package. Realize that I've told the girl who has asked me to be her sponsor that we could meet for dinner that day before RelEd. *sigh*.

Haul it back to the parish. BEGIN packing my own supplies-which means dividing all the supplies again into 4 parts and putting them in 4 bins because the place I'm meeting the 8th graders at has 4 buildings that we can go to. So, dividing and supplying I'm hurrying.

At 4, I call girl that I"m sponsoring. "You live on this street? Ok, I'll be there at 5" By 4:40 I know I'm not going to make it. Call again "Be there soon". Ok, she says.

So, in this farming community, I drive off down the road towards her home. I get there and dad is just pulling in the driveway. He gives me a funny look, so I ask "Am I in your way" He says " Uh, no, but I just dropped her off at Religious Ed, thought you were there?". Not sure how that happened, but I said "uh-ok, I'll go get her" He said "ok, I'll go call her".

It is now 5:15 and I need to be at the nursing home by 6. Race to get girl, head off to Mc'D's, chat a bit, drive her back to RelEd (in a school 7 miles from Church that is shared with other parishes), race to nursing home by 6:10. Find 8th grade catechist wandering around, not sure where to go.

We go inside the building marked "office" (the one that I had emailed everyone we would meet in) and set supplies down. Talk to on-duty nurse. "You're coming to visit?" she asks quizzically "Really? No one told us about it." We call the Activities Director line, no one there, so I run to another building where her office is. "No, she has gone, want me to call her house?" Yes, I say. So we call her house.

Ring Ring
"Hello, Is ____ ______ there? ...oh...oh really...oh, well, Ok, thanks. Bye!"
"Um, she's not home. I guess she's in Chicago".
Oh. really.

So I ask "Well, do you think anyone here wants to do fun crafts with us?"
No, most everyone here is asleep already. (Asleep? Really? At 6:20pm? ok, that's fine)

Jump over to two other buildings, finally rustle up a few residents that wouldn't mind the company.

Meanwhile, the kids are gathering and I look like a ninny who hasn't gotten her act together.

I arrive back at the "office" we circle up and I tell them all what is going on. Only half of the two classes came, so we divided between the two buildings and began our craft fun.

My group went to the other building and met 5 lovely residents. None of them wanted to do anything, they wanted to watch us do it. But we chatted, made cards and flowers for them and had fun.

At the end we joined the other half, did Mad, Sad, Glad and ended in prayer. Nearly every student said that they were glad that they had come-and the catechists said that it turned out very very well, that they were impressed with their students for being so friendly and helpful.

I talked to the other two coordinators for the 6th and 7th grade classes and they both said that it went very well. All in all it sounds like a success!

(I must admit, a part of me said "nyeah, you who think I am not good at administration. This came off very well!" oh, my pride! )

BTW-went home tired and delighted. For an exhausing day, it all turned out right!

Differences in Faith

I went to lunch today with the woman who does our music here at the parish. She made the comment to me that she's not sure if she's even Catholic any more, though she does have a deep faith. I was saddened by this, but as she told her story, I found myself wondering a few things.

Her ex-husband (civil divorce) was a by-the-book Catholic it sounds like. She admitted that she realizes now that she married him because she was anxious to get married and start having children. She knows that they were not well matched and that he never really accepted her and who she was. It sounds like the end of the marriage was particularly nasty, his family calling her names, he was doing the same, he was anticipating keeping her children from her, all the money, etc. Not good for anyone under any circumstances.

So, she has very little good to say about the Church hierarchy. It sounds like he so discolored her opinion of Church because he was so narrow that he could not accept who she was in all her creativeness and flair. She now lives with one of her daughters and her fiancee. For her emotional life she feels she is being best to her self by doing this. Because of her painful experience I don't think anyone could tell her that what she is doing is wrong. She is picking up the pieces of her life and trying to find acceptance, balance and sanity.

I was sad for her, esp as she told me that when she does marry her fiancee, she won't seek an annulment, but that she'll have a civil ceremony and bring in some liturgical qualities.

What I began to wonder about was can I be quiet and still be a presence of God-in all his truth and beauty-to her?

I am fairly confident that any conversation about sin, divorce, the Church's teaching on sex, what have you would go not only unheard, but resented at this point. She has talked to several (sometimes dubious) sources, so I know that she is searching. However, could this be a lesson to me about holding firm to all the Church has-that I know that I cling to and do believe-and still be a sister to this woman who is not quite sure she wants to accept it all? How best could I bring Christ to her?

I think of all the other Catholic blogs out here. We tend to be fairly orthodox if not a bit on the conservative side. What would some of the others think? Would they all jump on me and say that I had to tell her how it was and expect that she could live up to these expectations?

It dawned on me that each of us have our own experience of Church and we take it in, mull over it and put it back out as if it were what the Church teaches. Sometimes we get it wrong and so we put the wrong thing out there, and we do not want to hear this. Sometimes we get it right and the challenge is in how to share it with others.

Most importantly I think we need to "be transformed by the renewal of our minds" and conform ourselves to the Church. Maybe with her I will need to "Speak the Truth and if necessary use words".

Lenten Prayer Books

If you live in Michigan and have been in the Saginaw Diocese at all, you know it is a challenge to live an orthodox Catholic faith there. However, I have found that I like their prayer books. The new Bishop, Bishop Carlson is going to be really great for Saginaw. Not everyone will agree with that-esp my outspoken aunt who lives there-but for most of us we realize what a good thing this is.

Fun Before Lent

Ash Wednesday has come up so quickly this year that I didn't realize until to late that I hadn't ordered our King Cake! For next year, for lots of fun, get a king cake and have fun with Mardi Gras!

Our parish is having a Mardi Gras celebration which ends with a solemn prayer and blessing of ashes? I hadn't come last year so I'm not sure what happens. I'll report back tomorrow.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

A Slight Departure...

Amy Welborn has begun a Monday Morning Liturgical Quarterback blogging that asks folks to comment on their weekend's liturgies. I'm not sure if she's start a new entry for this Monday, but I wanted to comment on tonights' Mass before I forget. You'll probably see my entry there sometime this week, but tonight I'm departing a bit from Youth Ministry.

The weekend's Gospel is about being the Salt and Light of the world. Our parish also likes to honor the married couples who have been married 15, 20, 25, etc, years up to whenever. So, there they are in the front pews and the deacon starts giving the homiy.

It occurs to me that we missed an amazing opportunity here at our parish. If I had given the homily-and while I'm not advocating it, sometimes I think I might do a better job-I would have done something along these lines.

In marriage, you are called to be salt and light to each other. Sometimes you have to refresh your commitment and act in love even when you don't feel in love. When it's hard, and you choose to grow, that is often the spice of life, of growing together. Certainly, marriage can be an opportunity to also be a light to the world. Good marriages can come through hard times and be a witness of God's grace. Good marriages can be a witness to the world of the couples' love pouring out onto others-maybe through the two of them or through their famlies. Certainly Catholics are known for having several off spring that can also be a witness to the world that contracepts love and treats men and women as objects of pleasure.

In the same way, we are all called to be salt and light to the world. Marriage reflects God's relationship with his Bride, the Church. We can go through hard times, choose to grow, and be a witness of God's grace working in our lives. We can be a witness to the world of our love, between ourselves and God pouring out onto others. The fruit of our lives is what others will see and we can choose to not contracept God's love for us or our love for one another.

But alas, no. Our musician-who has the annoying habit of not just announcing songs, as this is all that's needed, but also addding commentary on how these songs relate to the Mass. Please just announce it and thelet the song speak for itself-picked out a song that honored marriage which we sang after this bouncy Communion hymn, and it was called the Nuptual hymn or some dumb thing. No where did it even relate the fact that as husband is to wife, so Christ is to his Church. What a beautiful connection we could have made here and it just went right by.

(I must add this to my dismay, I am a cantor and so have to sing and lead some of the crazy songs she picks. Fortunatly, though the books we have often have songs that say "God" all the time and never "He", there are some songs that retain the sense of "Father" and "He" and she doesn't change those)

So, there are my thoughts. Had to put them out before I forget.

I've got to work Sunday-training of the 11th and 12th graders who will be leading the Confirmation retreat in a few weeks! So, I'm done for tonight!

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Painful Growth

ugh. No one likes it. I've always hated it. It's embarrassing, humbling, maddening, sickness inducing, and excrutiating.
I'm going to share this with you because maybe you're me in a different parish. Maybe you aren't even aware of these things and I'm yelling at you to wake up. Maybe it will help parents or pastors who check this site out to know what is going on in a youth ministers' mind-and what might be going on in thier youth minister's mind.

Do you ever hear pastors roles explained like this: "He's great with people but an administrative mess! Love him to death, but can't run a meeting or keep the finances together." OR "Yeah, we are out of the financial hole here at our parish but the pastor is so hard to talk to-definately not very warm."

Well, I'm definately the first. And, being that those failures are much more concrete, those of us who are like that generally get "the talking to". And that's what I got today.

This parish has very high standards: It is a parish of money, of business owners, of higher education, of high expectations. A wrong date on a hand out throws their world into panic. A phone call or email not immediately returned is considered rude. An injustice, real or percieved could determine whether they stay here or go to the other parish across town-or leave all together. When I say high standards, I mean HIGH.

And, in one sense, this is good for me. Painful, yes. Their expectations that improve at the very things I am weak in is very real, and will make me a better worker, in the long run. It will make me a better person and maybe even a better minister.

No one likes their weak points shown to them and then told to work on them. My defensive side kicks in and says "well, co-worker who has brought this to my attention, you're not so great with kids. You yelled at one last week". or "yeah? Well, you talk down to the kids" or to the Pastor-who highly values excellence in administration-you ain't so warm and easy to talk to at all.

But the reality is that we all have weaknesses. I've said this before, I'm obviously still thinking about it: Most of us who get into youth ministry do not do so because we enjoy working in an office doing adminstrative work. I think for lots of us it's the necessary evil so that we can spend time building relationships with the kids, with their families and with our volunteers.

If you are one of those kinds of people, let yourself be open to improving your office skills. If you are in the office too much and have a great calendar of events but no one comes because no one knows you, get out there!

I'm also a bit nervous to put this out there because I don't want to give the impression that programs are better than relationships. I still believe that programs need to be at the service of relationships, that you need people in youth ministry who are able to have genuine and solid relationships with teens. But know that the other side is there, that it is real and get ready for it.

A side note of wisdom to all those who have not entered youth ministry: If you aren't sure you are good at administration, at least do yourself the favor of getting a job that you like (and get better paid at) and then volunteer for youth ministry, or get a job where administrative work is valued and immerse yourself in learning.

And for all the parents and pastors out there who get frustrated with our lack of admin skills: Be patient with us. Thank us for the good things that happen. Look for the times when an event did go well-tell the pastor and tell your youth minister. Offer to help. Offer to connect people who your YM might not know about. And most importantly:

Pray for us. We want the best for your kids and really do want to support your family. But instead of gossiping about us and complaining about us, please pray for us. I know that I'm in desparate need of your prayers.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Mad, Sad, Glad

I realized today that I do a lot of thinking here, but not enough creative YM ideas. So, as I'm in the throes of packing the supplies up, I thought I'd take a break and do just that-tell you what we're doing!

Wednesdays are the nights that most of the kids come to RelEd. We are having the 6th-8th grade classes meet us at 3 different Nursing Homes and doing crafts with the residents.

This has needed quite a bit of planning-I have a coordinator at each spot, a few parents and the catechists, obviously. The kids will meet us there-as opposed to meeting us at the Church then bussing them to the various sites which would cost us money and time that we don't have.

We decided to do a Valentines visit intead of Christmas caroling because many of the places said that they are overwhelmed with visitors during the Christmas season. So, Valentines time it is.

We are doing crafts with the residents: making tissue paper flowers (email me if you want the exact how to), door hangers made of card stock (it's nicer looking that construction paper) and pipe cleaners, and placemats both of which can be decorated with foam hearts, colored markers, crayons, stickers and such.

What I do at our Service opportunities is first, gather and pray. Then I go over exactly what to expect (esp important if you are at a nursing home!) and what is expected of the teens. Then we do our thing-this time we have about an hour. About 15 minutes before the end I regroup them and we do "Mad, Sad, Glad". I think it's quite important that they have a chance to talk about their experience together and this gives them that chance.

Mad, Sad, Glad is just going around the circle and each person gets to say if they are mad, sad or glad. Then they say why, which usually includes a story about something that happened that evening. We always end with a prayer. Oh, and I always "circle up" so that we can see and listen to each other.

I'm very big on the fact that not only should they be serving, but that we do it together as a community to support and help one another, but also that they get a chance to process their experience to whatever depth they want to.

I'll let you know how it goes. It's 9:30 pm and I'm still packing the boxes. Tomorrow is going to be a loooong day!!

Blog Awards

Ok, I may be to new for such a thing, but here's my thought:

If the word gets out there that we are here, we could probably have some really interesting discussions. The more the word about this blog gets out there the better. Seriously-because I love it when people comment, even when they disagree. It makes me a better minister, I think. And gives a community for earnest and devoted men and women who make it their business to bring kids to Christ and His Church. That's my biggest goal.

So, if you want to nominate, feel free. Do you know who else I really like- is Take Your Place at least for "New Blogs"

Gifts Appreciated

Let's face it, not many of us go into Youth Ministry because we think "Oh, goodie! Administration work!" Most of us go into it because we love youth, and want to share the love of Jesus Christ and the joy of living according to the Church and our Faith.

My pastor is on sabbatical and it seems that he's given the deacon some pointers about what to watch for. I just talked to a woman I work with here and she gave me a few more details about a meeting I"m supposed to have with the Deacon.

I've blogged about this before yet I'm bringing it up today because I'm guessing I'm not the only one who deals with this. I'm very aware that I'm not as excellent as some at admin work. I'm great with kids, with people. And really, if parents have an issue with me, bring it to me so I can fix it, quit taking it above me-then it doesn't get fixed AND I get in trouble.

The thing that worries me is, being female and a rather emotional one at that, I'll break down and cry. Now, men-you don't do so well with that. In fact, I believe I've lost respect from some colleagues who've seen the tears. And lets face it, men, I think you still get more respect then women do. I think I'm seen still as a trainee, a new girl, a fresh out of college kid. I've been in the business long enough to -well, to not be that.

So, I'm going to stick to my guns. I'm going to remind him (the Deacon) of all the things that I do bring to the kids-friendship, companionship, an adult besides mom and dad that they can turn to (and hear things mom and dad may want to tellthem, but kids can't hear from them). Too much of my job is in this dreadful office-I'd rather be at their schools! (thank goodness for MSN Messanger!)

And for the love of St Christopher, I won't cry! (please God, please God please God!)