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, September 24, 2007

just checking in...

Hey friends. Sorry for the lack of posts, but you know, your first month and a half in ministry is insanity.

Things are great, the parish is amazing, the kids are amazing and lots of fun. I'm loving the Diocese of Arlington. It's soo amazing! They are a great group of supportive people and amazing resources. It's so much fun to work for this diocese and to be part of the Arlington elite.

I'm struggling a little bit because I feel idealess. Here I was spending all this time at school studying and planning and coming up with great stuff, but now there's these souls that are actually real and attached to these plans, which makes me hate everyone of them. The desk has the amazing ability to zap all planning from me. I went out to lunch with my old youth minister, who's still the youth minister at my home parish and we talked through the semester and it was amazing. I gave her her entire semester's worth of plans....and named the group PULSE...and then we planned my stuff and I had nothing. We met today and promised to meet once a month for planning and I hope mentor ship...I know things take time, but really, I feel like whoa! What happened to all these ideas.

Is it normal for me to feel this way, is it normal to take some time adjusting before you can come up with a game having only toilet paper, tape and a chair at your disposal? I've never struggled like this before, I'm hoping it's just my adjusting.

Please keep me in your prayers as well. I'm fighting off the seeing me as a youth minister and seeing myself as a daughter of Christ, who's career is as a youth minister. Pray for me to fight the fight, just as I am praying for you!

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The Human Experience Grassroots Films

They posted the trailer on youtube. I can't wait to see the final product!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

ATM-Steubenville Youth Conferences

I'm in the middle of the Annual Team Meeting for the Steubenville Youth Conferences-the hosts and a few speakers and all of the organizers from all of the sites. We review the past year and take a look at many things-like did the schedule work, how can we improve the program, what worked, are we staying or straying the mission of the Youth Conferences.

One of the things that we are looking at is the role of the Young Apostle program. To be honest, from my vantage point, I didn't see their use to the conferences. We all recognize that it's become a chance for kids to be on stage rather than being servants. The conversation about it took over 2 hours. My preference would be to really make it a formative program which automatically includes leadership training, because we are all called by our baptism to be leaders and to serve.

Some sites seem to rely a great deal on their Young Apostles to work for them. I'd like to see sites offer kids the opportunity to serve, and not be dependent on them. On campus I could see placing them under our student leads so that they are actually doing something to serve the Conferences, but are also surrounded by great college kids who pour their hearts into their work.

But we'll see what develops...

All in all it's been excellent to be with the other organizers to support one another. There are some extraordinary people out in the trenches doing the Youth Conferences and the only way that we were able to reach 37,000 kids at 18 sites is because of their hard work and dedication.

Pray for us as we continue to work on making the Summer Youth Conferences everything that God wants it to be. Pray that we hear and follow his leadership and guidance!


The Meaning of Life

Grassroots films is going to have another hit on it's hands.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Souless Perfection: Girls Who Hate Their Bodies

This is a very interesting article from the Christian Science Monitor. I think it is well worth the read because it has to hit home to us, whether we are a woman or a man in youth ministry.

For us women, we know all to well the struggle it is to love ourselves. In fact, I think we never get out of it because within youth ministry we get to stay young and try to look "cool". What is cool? Thin is in. God love Queen Latifah and Mo'nique and yes, even Camryn Manheim who want to make it cool to be big. But in reality?

Thin. Is. In.
...In essence, they are crying out to our godless culture, showing us just how damaged a child can be who is thrown to the wolves of advertising and amoral media without any spiritual armor.

I'm not calling for a return to conservative religion or restricting dogma. I'm envisioning an inspired movement toward community where girls are nourished with dinner-table conversations about the values of kindness and charity; where girls undergoing puberty are encouraged to embrace the miraculous, complex, and perfectly imperfect bodies they possess; and where girls can find inspiration – not condemnation – in religious texts.

Men, this affects you to. You are the model to other young men of how you treat women. It is not just the pretty ones who should get attention. I'm not saying that it is your role to be a part of a young women's healing, but you can take notice of their hurt and find good, solid women to be role models.

I cannot say that I am above the lies quite yet. I can't say I think I'm "attractive enough" which then makes me think I'm not Good Enough. But I do recognize the lie, which is more than most teenage girls can do. I struggle with the lie and I've been honest with some of the girls I've been closer to about it.

I'm with this writer: There is more damage than we know when we decided taking God out of society was a good idea.

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Speaking of Facebook...


Friday, September 14, 2007

MYSpace, Facebook

Are you on Facebook? Have a MYSpace page?

I'm on Facebook because I think it's funny-and ever since the inclusion of "applications" I've loved the creativity that Facebook affords.

But while it's the latest phenomenon in the new age of communication, it also speaks a great deal about our life.

Seriously-my space. Who is it about? Me. Even Facebook, which I have fun mocking is all about ME. Granted, you can give gifts, leave message on others' pages, share pictures, and all, but I think it keeps us separated from really sharing with each other in Reality.

Ok, I'm an adult-I HAVE friends on the outside. I use Facebook but I don't depend on it to tell me how popular I am.

But how many kids are getting their identity through it? How many are seeking real relationships and not finding them via the internet?

I'm not saying it's bad, I'm just saying it is a statement about our times. How lonely are we that we have hundreds of friends online, but maybe few in real life? How lonely are our kids who spend hours online?

In their study, Reader and colleagues asked people a series of questions about their attitudes toward friendships and found 90 percent of individuals said it was imperative to know somebody face-to-face to form the tightest bonds.

The key it seems is face-to-face interaction where people can interpret social clues such as laughs and smiles that help determine if others are friends to be counted on, Reader said.

I don't know. What do you think-help or inhibit kids' lives?


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Frustration has set in

A few weeks later, I'm still loving my job. It's becoming more real by the day, a little less idealistic then I thought, but nothing that I haven't expected, so that's good.

I need advice. I have a member of my "youth group" who follows every inquiry with, "well, Ryan did it this way "...Ryan's the old youth minister. I know that you can't go in changing things, I understand that (thanks Jen!) and I'm keeping things the same (not changing youth group times or structures etc). I guess the issue is that I didn't have youth group for the last two weeks (it was labor day and the weekend before was the day before Catholic school started) and that bothered this teen. He's like, "well, Ryan never cancelled youth group" why did you cancel? I understand his question and I was honest. I told him about school starting and that I needed to get organized.

My question is this: How much do I have to keep the same? Ryan left me next to nothing to go off of, so I don't know everything. Do I really have to spend my money on stocking sodas in the youth room? Can I put up a bookshelf? Can I organize my desk? I know there's Ryan worship, but at some point, I have to be able to do something to get my life in order in a way that makes sense.

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