Amplify Youth Group are going for Bronze, Silver and Gold. The now established Youth Ministry team at St Anne & St Elizabeth are now running a Duke of Edinburgh Award night as part of their young person engagement. They have already helped lots of young people gain a Bronze, silver and gold awards and are now assisting more with Bronze, Silver and Gold awards.
The sessions run on a Thursday evening from 6.30pm till 9pm and Youth Minister Mike Price is finding that they are now interacting with more young people than previously. “We used to get between 8 and 12 young people on a Sunday but since we switched nights and have a clearly defined programme, we are finding that we are now averaging about 28 young people a week, which is fantastic”.
The Duke of Edinburgh Award helps the local community and parish, as part of the award is volunteering. The Youth Group has young people volunteering at after-school clubs, uniformed groups, altar serving, coaching at local sports clubs and assisting in charity shops. The young people have to volunteer for an hour a week, for a certain amount of time and it surprises some of them how much they enjoy it. It also teaches them a valuable life skill, as well as getting them to grow in confidence.
The other sections are skills, physical and the expedition. The skills section helps them to either fine tune an existing skill or learn something new. This again is an hour a week. Skills we have seen the young people take part in are: drama groups, dance, language, music, photography, flying a plane and 14 young people are now trained as first aiders.
The physical section has seen the young people take part in archery, martial arts, football, rugby, tennis, running and quite a lot more.
This helps to get the young people fit and healthy as well as dispelling the myth that they all sit at home playing on computers.
The ‘fun’ part of the DofE is the expedition. This involves them having training in map reading, compass skills, camp skills, using a stove and cooking meals. They also learn about the country code, how to pack a rucksack and much more. They have a practice expedition where they can get help and guidance from fully-trained staff and then they are on their own and putting the skills they have learnt into practice. They work in groups and find that they can do so much more than they thought they could. They manage on their own for 48 hours. Well, not quite on their own. We do have trained staff watching and checking them, but we try to let them finish the expedition with the minimum engagement.
It may seem a strange way for a Youth Ministry to work, but if you look at the figures and amount of time we get to spend with the young people, it does work. We can also see young people being seen in a positive light by the parish, which is good for all.
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