I am the Youth Co-ordinator for ACTiv8 Chisholm. I attended World Youth Day in 2008 which definitely sparked the flame for me. After that time, I went on to be married and have children but there was always something inside of me that was drawn back to youth ministry. It has always been something close to my heart to work with young people and share the love of Jesus.
In 2016 the timing was right for me and my family so I applied to be the ACTiv8 Chisholm youth coordinator.
Working in youth ministry is one of the most rewarding things I have experienced. While giving up my evenings sometimes is tiring, the benefits outweigh the negatives. All the activities, friendships and spreading the message of Jesus are things that are going to impact these children and young adults for a lifetime.
I love being there not only for the young people but also to be an example to other parents. Walking the faith journey with our young people as they discover their relationship with God is a privilege, and as a result that often helps parents rediscover their faith.
We have four youth groups which are all completely different in their own way but still have the same purpose. Each group includes food, games and sharing.
We have a youth group at Lochinvar which runs every Monday night. This youth group is made up of around 16 children from primary school. We speak to the children about the upcoming Sunday Gospel and explain it to them in a way they can relate. We often give them little challenges to complete during the week such as a random act of kindness.
Tuesday night we also run a primary school aged youth group consisting of around 15 to 25 children.
We finish this youth group night with a youth Mass.
Children are involved in most of the ministries of the Mass and are always very eager to get to Mass. This youth group consist of a large number of children from state schools who are Catholic and find youth group a great way to have their faith in their life as they don’t get that at school.
Our Largs youth group consists of children from seven to 16 years. This is an outreach youth group, as most of the children are of no religion.
The children are aware it is Catholic youth group and still respectfully join in prayer and reflection activities. We feel we have made an impact on these children and teens though our example of Christ and making them realise the gifts and talents they have to offer to others.
We run a senior youth group every second and fourth Sunday evening after the Chisholm Regional Young People Mass. All of our youth group our involved in ministries at the Mass. Afterwards we gather in the Therry Centre for games and dinner.
Through the Year of Youth, we have been able to create awareness for the older generations of our parishes that our young people are a valuable and worthwhile part of our parish communities. They are able to bring life and joy into our liturgies through their energy and talents.
I feel like the Year of Youth has opened up many opportunities for young people to take an active role in church ministries and be examples of Christ. It has created awareness of our young people.
The Australian Catholic Youth Festival was an example of this, as many teens attended the festival and it reignited their relationship with Christ. The energy at the festival was contagious and left many of them wanting more.
The theme of the Year of Youth was to open new horizons for spreading joy, which we hope to build on for many years to come as we encounter, engage with, and encourage active participation with our young people.