Community-Building Ideas for Ministry with Young Teens contains 80 team-building exercises that help young adolescents build solid, trusting relationships with peers in a nurturing, emotionally safe, and personally challenging atmosphere.
Copyright: Jan. 1, 2001
Size: 8.312 x 10.75
Length: 208 pages
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By Sean Buvala, Center for Creative Ministry
I am not easily swayed. It takes a lot for a book or series to make me say the following: If you want to make the most of your resource budget this year, be sure that you add the HELP Series from Saint Mary's Press to your library.
Most of you know me from my work with the Center, but I am also involved in a full-time ministry to seventh- to twelfth-grade teens. I am always looking for materials that motivate my volunteer teachers to design their own programs and processes. The HELP (Heads up, Easy, Low cost, Purposeful) series does just that.
Many volunteers are hesitant to design events because they believe that they don't have enough ideas. Well, with this new collection they have a brand-new pool from which to draw. For our most recent day-long junior high retreat, I loosed on the teachers the books from the series that were available: "Family," "Community Building," "Holiday and Seasonal," "Justice and Service" and "Prayer" ideas. I requested that they design a retreat using these resources and any of the other books in our youth ministry library. An hour later, they had the basic layout of the retreat, solely using ideas from the HELP series. Volunteers loved digging through the well-documented, easy-reading ideas that gave them the freedom to understand, choose and adapt the activities that would best fit our group and enhance the theme of the retreat.
The HELP book series contains a broad range of activities. They are great filler material for a current curriculum or, better yet, use them as my teachers did to create your own meetings, classes and retreats. There is plenty of commentary and advice on creating prayer and community in each book.
For those of you who are veterans of youth ministry, you may find that some of the materials, especially in the "Community Building" book, are standard types of activities reset especially for young teens. However, I think most volunteers will find fresh projects in this book. Even the most experienced among us will probably find some surprises as they dive into these books. In the "Prayer" book our teachers found the creative and inexpensive "God Can" prayer, which was a fine closing service. What a great use for all those empty aluminum cans we had collected after lunch at the retreat. And for my older teens I will be using the "Post Card Journals" found in the same book.
The series is a fine investment.
By Mary Lee Becker, consultant, trainer, and author, Fraser, Michigan
The HELP series is an asset to any parish or school developing young adolescent ministry. The series provides a variety of activities that can be used to supplement current programs, or as building blocks for creating new ministry opportunities. Whether a parish is seeking interactive ideas for religious education, expanding youth ministry to include middle school, or ministering with families, the HELP series is a valuable collection of recipes for success with young teens!
Archdiocese of Milwaukee Early Adolescent Alternative Models Project Newsletter, September-October, 2000
Saint Mary's Press has just published four books for ministry with young teens. They are part of the HELP series. When the series is complete, there will be seven volumes available. . . .
"Never judge a book by its cover!" There seems to be just one overall complaint for the series—the dull colors of the cover and layout are not eye-catching. But according to the four youth ministers who carefully looked them over, we shouldn't let that stop us from discovering the value in these wonderful books!
The books are laid out with 20 or more strategies. Each strategy gives you: (1) a suggested time it takes; (2) group size; (3) special considerations—if there are any; (4) materials needed; (5) procedure; (6) alternative approaches; (7) scriptural connections; (8) notes—a place where you can jot your own notes. And naturally, "Ownership of the book includes permission to duplicate any part of it for use with program participants."
Here are the main comments of our reviewers on the four volumes now available:
Reviewed by Bob Nolan of St. Joe's in Grafton.
Variety: Long and short prayers, active and reflective prayers, usable in various ministries.
Strategies aimed at youth; helps them communicate with God; hits them at the stage of affiliated faith and helps them transition to the questioning level of faith.
Ecclesial dimension: The strategies help bring young teens into community and even into the larger community of church and world.
I liked it so much, I went out and ordered Justice and Service Ideas.
Justice and Service Ideas
Reviewed by Bob Steckbauer of St. John's in South Milwaukee.
Each and every idea was practical and very doable with young people.
Variety: Everything from five- to ten-minute icebreakers to activities that could consume a 90-minute session (and longer)!
Hands on: There is something for the youth to physically do, with little time for boredom.
Catholic: Tied back to traditions, teachings, and worship of the Catholic Church.
Time-resistant: These activities will not go out of style; they will become old standbys you will use for years to come.
Reviewed by Shelly Schwingle of St. Matthew's in Oak Creek.
Good activities that are low-priced and doable.
Can generate good conversation between parents and teens.
Easy to fit these activities into programming.
Holiday and Seasonal Ideas
Reviewed by Carol Fischer of St. Alphonsus in Greendale.
Super ideas that are short and crafty.
Year-long ideas for all holiday celebrations.
Scripture connections are given for all the ideas, with options and alternatives.