Hold a post-VBS session each day for your teen volunteers --
Yes, I know this adds on time to your day after a busy morning with the kids,
and could cost some money to offer lunch (or dessert, if lunch is part of VBS) for your teens to stay around for a discussion -- but consider that this can provide some opportunities for the components of community life, prayer/worship, catechesis and evangelization time for the teens, and only take a little extra effort from you (or other youth ministry leaders.)
Suggestions for the gathering --
1. Grace before lunch (or over dessert)
2. Ask highs and lows of the morning
Option A: Scripture sharing
- You can utilize the readings of the day (http://usccb.org/calendar/index.cfm?showLit=1&action=month)
(Do simplified Lectio Divina style of proclaiming the reading, asking each person to share a word or phrase that speaks to them, ask if they are willing to share why that word or phrase, re-read the Scripture),
Option B: go deeper into the VBS theme of the day.....utilize The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth or the Catechism of the Catholic Church
4. Spontaneous prayers of petition and thanksgiving
5. Go in peace, until the next morning!
Voila! You just did children’s ministry and youth ministry in about a half a day
If you decide to do this, please let me (Cindee) know how is went and if would do it again!
Of course, you could also do this with ALL your volunteers, which would provide some Adult Faith Formation as well...
During the last workshop round at the 2015 National Catholic Youth Conference, I participated in a "What Now" session with teens and adults from the Archdiocese of Dubuque.
A pastor, youth minister and 4 youth shared their experience of the previous NCYC and how they took the energy and learnings back to their parish.
They then invited all participants to consider what they may do after leaving NCYC.... and invited them to select one of the following areas in which to focus:
What do I want to work on after NCYC?
- Improve prayer life
- Improve charitable actions
- Grow YM at parish
- Teach others about the faith
- Liturgical ministries
- Be more active in parish in general
- Overcome challenges in life
- Improve relationships
Teens gathered in small groups around each of these areas and brainstormed ways they can take action back home.
I thought this was a GREAT way to start bridging the experience with some practical ideas, and that while this was NCYC specific at the time, how it can easily be adapted for any large event. Consider it when you are busing back from the March for Life, or before leaving your retreat, or after attending the next Diocesan Youth Convention (DYC) or mission trip.
(It is also not too late to gather your NCYC participants, if you went, to do this activity... after spending a little time reminiscing about the General Sessions, Camp Techakwitha, Prayer rooms, and break-outs, then ask them how they would like to build upon the experience in the New Year!)
I have often seen that a "mountaintop experience" can have a tremendous impact on a young person. We may want to be like Peter, James and John at the Transfiguration who wanted to build a tent and stay there (Matthew 17).... but we must go back home and rejoin our 'regular' lives at school, work and with family and friends.
However, pulling from another chapter of Matthew's Gospel (13), the large events are opportunities to sow seeds. If the seeds of the experience are not nurtured and fed, they quickly die... we must help our young people tend to the seeds so that they can bear great fruit for the individual, but even for our faith communities!
"But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it,
who indeed bears fruit and yields a
hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.” (Matthew 13: 23)
Cindee Case, MPS
Director of the Diocese of Youngstown Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry.