Forging ahead – returning to youth activities
The Church of Ireland Youth Department (CIYD) is sharing advice for youth leaders and workers for returning to youth work activities, as soon as possible, now that lockdowns across the island are continuing to ease. The 11–page guide – available on the Church of Ireland website at https://bit.ly/3f9BMkw – covers planning ahead, programmes, practicalities for indoor and outdoor gatherings, and loads of ideas for activities to bring youth people back together.
· ‘Lunch on the Lawn’ – with everyone bringing their own picnic
· dropping off a card and a bag of sweets to each young person’s household
· drive–in movies in your church car park
· youth small groups for social events or discipleship Bible study outside
· garden games and scavenger hunts
· social action projects in your community (e.g. litter picks, gardening, helping elderly people)
· ‘Kindness Rocks’ – painting rocks/stones with encouragements and Bible verses etc. and leaving them in various places.
Our National Youth Officer, Simon Henry, writes: “Firstly, it is important to acknowledge that youth ministry never stopped! The creative and innovative ways many churches, leaders, and youth workers across Ireland supported and continue to support young people during the Covid–19 pandemic are a testament to their faith in God, passion, resilience, and commitment. As we journey through this crisis, looking ahead, we can begin to look to the future and how – on a carefully managed basis – we can restart youth ministry activities over the coming weeks.
“It is important that we look to restarting youth ministry activities, however small, without any unnecessary delays, based on the latest government advice at the time – for the good of our young people’s socialisation, faith development and mental health.”
All guidance is indicative and subject to ongoing public health advice and a step–by–step risk assessment which should be carried out on an ongoing basis by each organisation or group, in line with the Return to In–Church Worship Protocols resource. Clear planning and communication with your Rector and Select Vestry is also essential.
Youth leaders and workers are encouraged to come back to CIYD or their local diocesan office for help and advice or to ask anything more specific regarding youth ministry. All activities should have regard to all other relevant requirements and good practice (e.g. in child protection, awareness of risk, and the safety and well–being of staff and volunteers).
CIYD wishes to thank our friends and colleagues in the Irish Methodist Youth and Children’s Department, Presbyterian Church in Ireland, National Youth Council of Ireland, and Education Authority (Northern Ireland) for their assistance in the preparation of this document.