Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Healthy Collaborations: A Short Sheet

In May 2016 the Midwest Division of Young Life created a strategic plan that included intentionality toward collaborating with like-minded organizations. 

A group of 6 YL staff supervised by the YL Training Department- “Mission Movers” conducted research and created a template outlining the principles that could guide us forward in developing sustainable collaborations that would benefit kids toward whole and Christ like care. 

 This is a short sheet on their findings. As we transition our Capernaum friends toward life long Christian community these can be very helpful guidelines.

WHY Healthy Collaborations are IMPORTANT
We can model a fuller model of the Body of Christ.
We can better ensure kids involved in life long Christian community.
We can more fully serve kids as we create access to more holistic programs.
We can create opportunities to learn from others.
We will have more engaged adults in kid’s lives.
As we serve we may have something to offer other organizations in their mission.

As of November 2016 YL in the Midwest Division had over 40 collaborative relationships mostly with churches. The collaborations that were most successful had the following ingredients.
  • Healthy, scheduled and regular communication. 
  • A supervisor of collaboration.
  • Consistent leadership
  • Funding
  • Clear expectations in writing.
  • Similar core values/mission or like-minded organization.
HOW do you develop Healthy Collaborations?
Step 1. Identify key Stakeholders to buy in. Stakeholders at every level of both organizations.
  • Pray together. Seek the Holy Spirit’s direction. 
  • Get to know each other.
  • Assess current and mutual needs as well as gaps.
  • Pursue new relationships with other key leaders/pastors who are making an impact in the area.
Step 2. Clarify Focus
  • Identify possible partners and define what the relationship could look like. 
  • (Define the Relationship)
  • Determine the missional focus.
  • Discuss Mission Statement | Statement of Faith | Faith and Conduct of each 
  • Organization to ensure like-mindedness.
  • Clarify role expectations.
Step 3. Define the Template for Collaborative Relationship
  • Fill out template questionnaire.
  • Using the template results form a Memorandum of Understanding.
  • Write and agree on job description and actions steps with dates if possible. And as needed.
  • Implement a plan for regular communication and an annual evaluation.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Work Week: A Week that Changes Lives

When we begin inviting kids with disabilities into YL, everything about what we do is ALL about them!  We build friendships with them, we take them on adventures, and we build club and small groups around them.  We take them from a world where they can often feel forgotten and we put the spotlight on them for the gift of seeing who they are in Christ and the beauty of a relationship with Him!

I remember when Young Life was all about me in high school.  Just as clearly, I remember going to camp for the first time not as a camper.  I remember my leader helping me see other kids on our trip that hadn’t yet seen and experienced the deep love of Jesus.  I remember leaving high school and beginning to learn about being a leader and about sharing my faith.  I imagine that you can remember those very moments as well.  And those moments never go away since one of the beautiful aspects of growing in our relationships with Jesus means always learning to think less about ourselves and more about others. 

Just like everyone else, our friends need the space and intentional opportunities to transition from their faith (and YL) being all about them, to it also being about sharing Jesus with others.

Young Life’s Work Weeks are one of the greatest ways that our friends with disabilities can go to Young Life camp and begin to take steps towards that amazing camp experience going from being only about them to it being about hundreds, even thousands of other campers.    These weeks provide   They are given the chance to work hard, to be a part of a team, to be needed and to be celebrated as they get camp ready! 
our friends the chance to be around peers, peers who are also beginning to have their faith be about loving and serving others.

The days are filled with projects, laughter, community and friendships!  The nights are filled with amazing Young Life clubs, hilarious program characters and a gospel message that helps them to continue to grow in their faith! 

It’s discipleship, it’s beauty, and it’s an incredible next step for many of our friends.  Oh and did I mention that it’s free and even includes a camp t-shirt?!  Yes, that’s right, you just pay for transportation.  How about that for camp cost?! 

Check out this link to see where and when Work Weeks are happening around the mission!  We hope you’ll join us and give some of your friends with disabilities this amazing experience to serve and grow in their faith!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Club Idea: Minute to Win it Club

Reverse Charades (in one minute): One student comes up (you can do this as many times as you wish) and faces the audience. Words such as surfing, running, brushing your teeth, are projected behind the person and the audience silently acts them out. Keep track of how many they get in a minute.

Hanky Panky: who can pull the most tissues out of a tissue box with one hand in one minute

Paper dragons: each player gets two rolls of streamers. They unravel by making circles with their arms. First to finish both rolls wins, or most when minute is up

Oreo Mouth: One minute to get the Oreo from your forehead to your mouth (Great game for buddies to play while audience cheer them on)

Cup Stack: Stack cups in a tower and then take down. First to finish wins!

Shake it off – Taylor Swift
All Star – Smash Mouth
He knows my name

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Prayers of Intercession and Capernaum

This is a possible way to practice corporate prayer that all of our friends can contribute toward together.

Teach Capernaum friends the words or signing to HEAR OUR PRAYER. 

Use the prayer below as a template to write a prayer for your Capernaum group based on their needs. 


After each prayer request is shared you could possibly have the leader say “Lord in your mercy”  and everyone respond “HEAR OUR PRAYER”.  There could be a hand motion or signal that leader uses to start group with the response. 

This is an excellent way to teach prayer alongside everyone participating.   Also, friends can recognize the words they use to share prayer request are actually a prayer. 

  • Capitalized Words indicate GROUP response together
  • …. Indicates a brief silent pause.
  • The rest is led by a leader.

Prayer of Intercession

Lord in your mercy HEAR OUR PRAYER

For the peace of the world, in my community and in me…Lord in your mercy, HEAR OUR PRAYER

For the group here that we may be filled with truth and love from you…Lord in your mercy, HEAR OUR PRAYER

For the people we trust, our president, our teacher, our parents may they be filled with justice and promote goodness for all people…Lord in your mercy, HEAR OUR PRAYER

For the people who are poor, frustrated, sick and suffering…Lord in your mercy, HEAR OUR PRAYER

For the people in our lives that we care about that are sick- list names here…Lord in your mercy, HEAR OUR PRAYER

For our enemies and those that wish us harm and for the people we have injured or cause harm…Lord in your mercy, HEAR OUR PRAYER

For our friends, families, and neighbors that they may be free from worry and live in joy, peace, and health…Lord in your mercy, HEAR OUR PRAYER

For ourselves and the forgiveness of our sins, the healing of our minds and our bodies, and for the grace of the Holy Spirit to be in our lives….Lord in your mercy, HEAR OUR PRAYER

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Club IdeaDisney Club

Tape shapes: Have a few shapes on the ground shaped like Disney things like the wand, mickey ears, the castle. Play music as everyone dances around the room. When the music stops everyone runs to a shape. Whoever isn’t in a shape it out Each round have a leader take up a piece of tape until there’s only one small shape on the floor.

Freeze Frame: Split the room in half. Each group gets about 30 seconds to get in a freeze frame of a Disney movie that’s announced from up front. Most creative wins. Some examples are Tarzan: some kids are monkeys, Tarzan flying or beating on his chest, or Tinkerbelle where the kids are all holding hands pretending to fly. Make sure you say freeze when times up!

Name that movie: Create a slide show. The first slide will be a zoomed in picture of a famous Disney movie such as Tinkerbelle’s foot. The next slide is the full zoomed out picture of Peter Pan. Two kids will play. First to hit a buzzer, bang a pot, or whatever you want gets to answer. Once they get it right is when you go to the full picture!

Let it Go
How Far I’ll Go
Let there be light

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Life Long Learners

As Young Life leaders, we always want to be students of the teenage culture. It’s easy for us to consider this when it comes to songs for club, movies, musicians and sports but we often don’t consider the other elements of culture.  What language is being used around disability? How are schools progressing with students with disabilities?  What trainings are being offered in the community around topics that are sensitive or specific in the world of disability?  Let’s not just be learners of iTunes top song picks but of our friends as a whole. 

One of the places that we see this the most is in language.  It’s also the area where we get asked the   Here’s what we are learning- it is dignifying to say “teenagers with disabilities”, “teenagers with differing abilities” and “teenagers with diverse abilities”.  It is not dignifying to use the term “special needs”.  And also, we always want to speak in person first language.  An example of this would be, “our friends with diverse abilities” or “my friend with a disability”.  We are always God’s child before we are a label of any sort, so let’s show our friends the dignity of who they are in Christ- fearfully and wonderfully made- when we speak about them and with them!
most number of questions- maybe other than how to pronounce Capernaum!

As you’re learning more about your friends and the culture around them, please share your thoughts with us!  We want to learn alongside of you!  We’re always better together!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Several views from Capernaum WyldLife Camp in FSU (Former Soviet Union) - Part II

You just read earlier in the week about the YL Capernaum Center in FSU.  Now here some perspectives from the Capernaum Wyldlife Camp held in FSU in the fall.

Is there a way to make people pay attention to you, especially people you can't even start a conversation with? I run… You gotta run… You gotta run, not in order not to escape, but in order to run because they will be following you. They will run after you, stop by you, give you a hug and look right into your eyes. They will take your hand and ask: How have you been, Sasha?

I'm going to a camp for kids age 10-14. They promised to assign an easy boy to me, so I could be able to do other things at the camp. And here I am, running! To be exact – catching up! An easy boy
turned out to be an easy going Sasha! No, it's not because he doesn't understand what he's doing, he's challenging me. And I know why I am here, my duty is to show love of God through my caring. I’m engaging him by being active, helping him experience joy, not to let him stay one on one with autism. Indeed, not an easy task!

I’ve gone through a “boot camp training” given by Sasha’s mom – Layla. I learned how to hold Sasha’s hand very tight, to sound confident when I speak with him, to show who’s the boss here. I thought I could do everything; it’s even funny now. Sasha changed me, and I hope he paid attention to me as I tried to be his friend, to understand him. Also they say we look alike.

Layla, Sasha's mother
I’m laying on the sun lounger, catching the sun rays, swimming in the pool… Nothing is bothering me, everything is being done for me! Am I dreaming? But where's Sasha? I got used to always being around him, I always know what he wants and where he goes, I’m always ready to be in charge of his safety.

Here I am in a place, where somebody else is loving and caring about my son! I am being loved and cared about too! Scrapbooking, games, conversations about our kids with other moms, all in all, warm and friendly atmosphere. I could only dream about that! I'm in the best camp in the world!