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Planning a Youth Worker Training

Want to plan a Youth Worker Training at your parish, but don't know where to start?

Youth workers are more than just volunteers who agree to supervise children. Youth workers faithfully commit to teaching young people about the Orthodox Christian faith, through fellowship, service, worship, and witness. Successful youth workers must always keep up-to-date on the latest trends, issues, and topics facing young people AND the Church.

Therefore, it is important to encourage continuing education for those lead the youth of your parish. There are opportunities for youth worker training throughout the Archdiocese. But you can also plan a youth worker training worship at your own parish. Planning a successful youth worker training workshop requires three (3) easy steps:

Step #1ASSESS Needs of Youth Workers

Step #2PLAN the Workshop Details and Schedule

Step #3PROMOTE Workshop in Parish and Surrounding Communities


STEP #1Assess the needs of your parish youth workers.

It is very important to assess the needs of your parish youth ministries and its youth workers. This will assist you in planning a relevant and useful youth worker training workshop. Consider the follow questions when assessing your youth ministry needs:

  • What are the strengths of the parish youth workers?
  • What are the weaknesses of the parish youth workers?
  • What issues are facing young people today and in our community?
  • Do we have youth ministries that need to be restructured or reorganized?
  • Do we need more youth workers to serve the parish?

Once you have considered these questions, and others, you will soon discover what training topics and themes to address at the workshop.

STEP #2 – Plan the Workshop Details and Schedule

Details can be a tricky part of the process. But here are some things to remember, as well as a sample schedule.

  • Consider bringing in a Keynote Speaker. It is effective to have an expert come to speak to youth workers. Also consider bringing in more than one workshop leader. This will add variety to your workshop materials and presentations.
  • Secure a Location, Date, and Time for the event. Check with your parish general calendar.
  • Collect Resources to give to participants. This might be a book, articles, notes from the workshop leaders, etc. Place these items in a binder or plastic tote bag so they are easy to carry for the participants.
  • Plan to provide Refreshments for the participants. A light meal or snacks will definitely help making a few hours of training more
  • Make sure to have Supplies and Audio-Visual Equipment available for use. Will you need a power point projector, screen, TV, VCR/DVD player? Do you have pens and notepads for participants to use for note-taking?
  • Create a Workshop Schedule and Agenda. This will keep the workshop organized and moving smoothly. Here are two SAMPLE schedules; one for a weeknight workshop and the other for a Saturday workshop. These can be adjusted according to the needs of your parish workshop.

SAMPLE WEEKNIGHT SCHEDULE

Time

Activity

5:30 - 6:00pm

Arrival of Participants

6:00 – 6:15pm

Opening Prayer

6:15 – 6:30pm

Introductions/Icebreakers

6:30 – 7:00pm

Keynote Speaker

7:00 – 7:15pm

Break/Snacks

7:15 – 8:00pm

Second Presentation/Discussion

8:00 – 8:45pm

Q&A with Keynote Speaker

8:45 – 9:00pm

Wrap Up and Departure

 

SAMPLE SATURDAY SCHEDULE

Time

Activity

10:00 – 10:30am

Arrival of Participants

10:30 – 10:40am

Opening Prayer

10:40 – 11:00am

Introductions/Icebreakers

11:00 – 11:30am

Keynote Speaker

11:30 – 11:45am

Break/Snacks

11:45am - 12:30pm

Session #1

12:30 – 1:30pm

Lunch

1:30 – 2:15pm

Session #2

2:15 – 2:45pm

Q&A with Keynote

2:45 – 3:00pm

Wrap Up and Departure

 

STEP #3 – Promote in Parish and Surrounding Communities

One major step to remember is PROMOTION! No one will attend an event if they do not know about it. Make sure to publicize the training well in advance. The reality is most of parish youth workers are volunteers. They have a day job and have families of their own. So they need enough notice to incorporate it into their schedules. Here are some other tips for promoting youth worker training:

  • Use as many forms of communication as possible – Send out emails, create Facebook pages, create a phone tree, mail flyers, put up posters in the Church, ask the Parish Priest to include it in the Sunday announcements, publish it in the parish weekly/monthly bulletin, advertise it on your website.
  • Personal phone calls are a plus – Phone calls can be tedious, but they are a personal way you can encourage people to go.
  • Send information to surrounding parishes - Many parishes and youth workers struggle with the same issues and could benefit from the training workshop. So make sure to inform other local Orthodox Christian parishes about your training. Talk to your parish priest first. Then, contact the parish priest of the other communities.
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