What you've always wanted, and more!
Finally, we're able to unveil the courses for summer seminar's growing Enrichment Stream! We're sorry for the delay, but we're very excited about who we have joining us this year! Check out the course overviews and the instructors, and register online today!
And spread the word by sharing this! Thanks!
By: Jeannette Manser
Hello!! This is Jeannette Manser reporting on the NCCYM. You might be asking yourself ... what the heck is that? Well, just like WCACYM will be celebrating their 25th year of being the Western Canadian Association of Catholic Youth Ministers in January at our annual AGM, the states have their National Catholic Conference for Youth Ministry Bi-annually. 7 of us Canadians represented, and 4 of us were WCACYM's finest!
Myself: Jeannette Manser - Alberta, Erin Kinsella - Manitoba, Clay Imoo - British Columbia and Deanna Beaudoin-British Columbia!
The NCCYM was held this year in Orlando Florida at a beautiful hotel and conference center in Disneyworld Resorts - The Dolphin! With shuttles and boat rides and monorails away from Disneyworld's theme parks, we were able to enjoy our stay quite well.
It is amazing to see how alive and active our catholic faith is all over North America. And how inspiring and affirming it is to be with other youth ministers that are totally the same way as you!
Thurs. Nov. 29th was our first day at the conference with opening liturgy followed by a session by Bob McCarty and his wife, who are really the hands and feet of making this conference possible.
After Deanna, Erin and I enjoyed dinner in Downtown Disney, we headed back to the conference center for Opening Ceremonies and a flash mob practice!!! Yes, that's right, I said Flash Mob practice. The MC's for NCCYM were a hilarious duo - Jesse Manibusan and Judy Mcdonald! (They're famous Catholic Super stars!!!)
On Friday morning as we had our opening praise and worship session, all of us involved in this massive flash mob stationed ourselves throughout the room ready to go before our morning speaker! It was wonderful!! I along with Erin, Deanna and Clay, were with all these famous Catholic Youth Ministry people!! I felt pretty special!!
Each day, we had opportunties to attend 2 break-out sessions on various topics in youth ministry. For example, on Friday I chose to attend Multimedia in your office, and Athletics - Renewing the Vision. On Saturday - 10 techniques in music prayer ministry, and Campus and High School ministry. They were all fantastic!! Each morning we would have praise and worship, a speaker, and then after lunch we would have Mass followed by a speaker.
The evenings varied. Thursday was opening ceremonies and speaker, kind of like a rally. Friday night was the Youth Extravaganza showcasing some of those famous Catholic Super stars leading skits and songs about ministry, which really helped everyone there appreciate what we do and laugh about what we sometimes have to deal with on a regular basis. On Sunday night, we had our final mass which was the 1st day of advent, and awards for youth ministry efforts were given out. This made me think, we should really do this for WCACYM - have awards for those really fostering the faith in young people in western canada and be recognized.
Couple of other bonuses to the weekend was the fact that there was a resource expo hall filled with many catholic organizations, missions, orders, clubs, and resources for us to check out. There was also a stage with various catholic performers featured as well! It was a great place to network and gain new ideas for ministry!
The Upper Room Adoration chapel was a place I spent saturday afternoon in during the conference. It was beautiful with different types of art to look at and reflect on. A prayer intention candle table, adoration and the sacrament of reconciliation. I loved the fact that we had the opportunity to just go there and spend time with Jesus whenever we wanted!
I love the fact that we all have a chance in the evenings to socialize and visit with one another. And of course with being in Disneyworld, Downtown Disney was our destination for dinner or late night snacks. Deanna, Erin and I stayed an extra day, and decided on Universal Studios as the theme park we wanted to go to. What a great last day! So much fun!
Anyhow, I am truly blessed as a youth minister that I can take these opportunities to attend such amazing places and gain so much wonderful knowledge of my ministry and to be affirmed in what I'm doing. It certainly has helped me truly re-charge and come back to my school ready to go!
I hope to see you all in Winnipeg! Thank-you for all that you do to bring young people to God! You ARE making a difference and Jesus is smilling down on you!! Thank-you!!
Youth Ministry Coordinator
Notre Dame Highschool
Red Deer Catholic Schools
By: Erin Kinsella
So I just came back this week from Orlando, Florida! Nice vacation from the Winnipeg weather J. Why was I in Florida, you ask? Well, it was because the biennial National Catholic Conference on Youth Ministry was being held there. Just a perk that it happened to be hosted at Disneyworld!
Anyways, I wanted to share about something I found really interesting …
Youth ministry is defining itself more, and really is a collection of information/theory/best practices/wisdom about how to help young people to encounter Christ. It’s not fluffy.
Sometimes it’s hard to move forward in youth ministry, because often our pastors / bosses / parishioners / other bystanders / volunteers / teens / us see youth ministry as something that is merely a social gathering/a way to keep young people occupied/an extension of catechism/a way to get young people to Mass/a vehicle for service and justice/other narrowly focused thing that is ill-defined and unspecialized (YM is ALL of these things, and more, not just ONE of these things by itself).
Sometimes, the job of youth minister/campus minister/youth coordinator/person responsible for all evangelistic efforts to all young people from birth to 40 goes to the only person who is unable to flat-out refuse the role/the excited young guitar-playing college student who doesn’t have any experience but is really cool/willing to do it for free or for a salary that is unjust and/or literally criminal/ already doing a million other jobs in the parish and should now “take care of the youth”/the person who used to do “youth stuff” but might not be aware of how much theory around ministry to youth has changed/any other person who loves young people with that as the only qualification.
If we can help people to shift their focus and see that ministry to young people requires a whole skill set with specialized competencies and knowledge just like any other job, then we can help our young people to have access to those who both
a) Love Jesus and want to help them to be consumed by the love of God in such a way that it spills out of them into the world around them, and;
b) Have some training in how to go about this effectively
I’m not for a minute suggesting that those who don’t have formal training or education in youth ministry can’t be called to it and be very good at it (I’m a great example…I started professionally in YM with only a few years of experience and an unrelated university degree as a qualification, have taken part in lots of training stuff and gained more experience, and am now moving into more education to supplement that experience…but I started off as mostly a person who loves Jesus and teenagers and wanted to see them paired up). What I AM suggesting is that YM has grown a lot since it first began as socials and athletics for young people, and there is now a huge body of knowledge and theory and experience that we NEED to tap into when we minister to young people.
Whether you are a volunteer or are paid, you DESERVE to have a frame of reference to minister in. It’s awful to feel like you have no idea how to even start doing what you’re expected to do, which is often a whole lot, and this can lead to ineffective youth ministry, unhappy pastors and young people, and people who end up hurt or used as a result of their service in youth ministry. This doesn’t always happen, but it’s not necessarily uncommon either, and is this not something we would like to avoid? Think about it this way: it would be kind of like asking someone to be an accountant without them having an accounting degree, and then expecting them to balance the books because they are a nice person with good intentions. Sounds harsh, but it’s not fair to them, to the firm, or to the people who rely on their service.
In Canada, we are moving more and more towards this understanding, I think. We’re getting better at helping people to understand the concrete-ness and huge-ness of youth ministry, at equipping people to do it effectively, at discipling people who disciple youth, and more. It’s also likely that by the time we see these things coming more into their own, youth ministry will have morphed into new theories/practices/expressions that will require us to do it all over again.
Anyways, these are some thoughts that came out of the conference, especially because young people are SOOOOOOO worth it. They are worth knowing how to do our jobs well (whether we are volunteer or paid). They are worth taking care of ourselves for and making sure that our ministry doesn’t lead to burn-out or being frozen in discouragement. They are worth our own continuing growth and understanding of the richness found in our Catholic faith and teachings so that we can help them to do the same. And they are certainly worth us entering more and more deeply into a relationship with Christ so that we can enter into relationships with them and help them to encounter Him too.