Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Importance Of Building Relationship - Christina's Camp Story

Thank you David from YL Capernaum Phoenix for this story!

Christina has been coming to our Capernaum club for two years! She’s 18 years old and has Down syndrome. Christina had not yet been to camp with us, since it hadn’t been the best fit for her or her family. After talking both as a team and with her mother, we decided that Christina would be ready for summer camp at Lost Canyon, with some intentional effort and factors throughout the year. The first thing that we wanted to consider was who Christina’s leader would be, knowing that we would want them to build a relationship all throughout the year. We knew that this would deeply impact Christina, but also her mom. It would continue to build a trust with her, allowing mom to see that we
loved and cared for her deeply. Paige, one of our volunteers, jumped at the chance to get to know Christina and her mom! The more that Paige spent time with Christina, the more that we saw Christina’s behavior change for the best. With a friend loving her deeply, she was settling more into who she truly is.

It came time for camp and Christina had an unbelievable week! She was delightful all week long and shared from her heart during every cabin time. We loved watching her be attentive to the message in club and even more so, when she joyfully went up to the stage during the Say-So, to scribble her name as a new follower of Chris on the big heart!

We’re so grateful for Paige and for how she loved, and continues to love, Christina!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

I love you- love others the same way!

Here’s a great blog post from Amber Waldron!

Check out this great campaigner/small group lesson based on John 13:34. Amber Waldron and her team paraphrased this verse into “I love you- love others the same way!”. Along with the lesson, they created two pages to help engage your friends in the content of the conversation!

We love getting to learn about loving others well! Thanks for creating this great small group conversation!

Have some from your small group?! We’d love to see and share them! Send them our way!

Friday, May 3, 2019

Discipled Through My Eyes

We love this article that was posted on Young Life Access:

Recently, my pastor began the Sunday morning message with this statement:
“I am best discipled through my eyes.”
It was a powerful statement that led me to wonder: How am I best discipled? How is each person in my family best discipled? How are the ministry volunteers I lead best discipled? What about the kids in my high school and middle school — how are they best discipled?
As ministers of the gospel — whether in a staff position or as a volunteer leader — it’s very important that we consider the many varied ways that individuals and groups are best discipled.
As in all things, Jesus is our model for this. When we look carefully at His life, we see that He had deep wisdom and discernment on how to disciple each person He encountered.
  • The bleeding woman was discipled best through touch ✋ (Matthew 9:20-22).
  • Peter was discipled best in the simple, routine context of his everyday vocational life of fishing 🚣‍♂️ (Luke 5:5-11).
  • The Samaritan woman was discipled best simply by being acknowledged, spoken to and heard 👂 (Luke 4:17-26).
Jesus knew how to specifically disciple individual people by doing a few very basic things: being with them, listening to them, and asking them questions. In other words, Jesus’ individualized discipling strategies didn’t depend on His divine power or knowledge, but rather grew out of His intentional and relational humanity. We can, and must, follow that example.
  • We must pay attention to how people learn.
  • We must pay attention to how they interact and engage with others.
  • We must pay attention to how they process experiences and information.
  • And we must pay attention to all the different ways that Jesus discipled the individual people He was with. He used sight, taste, touch, sound, tangibles, and more.
  • We must also pay attention to the different ways that Jesus discipled the large groups of people around Him.
  • The 5,000 were discipled best through the taste and sharing of a meal 🍞 (Matthew 6:1-10).
  • Jesus often discipled His closest friends by telling stories and parables. ❓
  • And He discipled the religious leaders — through a powerfully nuanced challenge — by drawing in the sand ☝️ (John 8:1-8).
As we disciple a growing diverse population of kids — different ages, different cultures, different abilities, different interests, different backgrounds, different family structures and more — are we considering all the different ways individual kids need to be discipled? Are we getting to know individual kids deeply enough that we can tailor our method, style, conversation and interaction to meet them in a way that effectively engages both their heart and mind?
Jesus’ life and ministry makes it clear that we are called to do just that. Now it’s up to us to know our kids (and leaders, as the case may be) well enough to disciple and lead them in a way that best connects with and serves them on their path to becoming more like Jesus.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

YL Capernaum Catholic Resources

Together, Young Life and the Catholic Church have tremendous opportunity to reach every kid, everywhere with the gospel. Through a shared passion for Christ, kids and mission, this rising tide of cooperation is making significant contributions to the new evangelization described by Pope Francis.

Overall, Young Life is committed to working with the Catholic Church by:
• Training our staff and volunteers to minister to Catholic teens in ways that respect and reanimate their Catholic faith in Jesus.
• Encouraging Catholics to serve as Young Life staff, volunteer leaders and committee members.
• Working with Catholic dioceses, parishes and schools to invigorate the faith of young Catholics.

This is all absolutely relevant and true for our Capernaum Clubs and friends too.

A significant way Capernaum can come alongside our Catholic families and local parishes is to connect them with existing resources that provide specialized catechism curriculums and plans, inclusion resources, and information about accessibility grants - to name a few!  Check out this video for more information.

The great news is that neither you, nor your parish, nor your families need to recreate the wheel!

Below are some of these resources:

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

As early as 1978, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) developed and approved the Pastoral Statement of the U.S. Catholic Bishops on People with Disabilities which affirmed the human dignity of all people and established that all people of all abilities have a right to full participation in the life of the church.

Here is just a snippet:

“It is essential that all forms of the liturgy be completely accessible to persons with disabilities, since these forms are the essence of the spiritual tie that binds the Christian community together. To exclude members of the parish from these celebrations of the life of the Church, even by passive omission, is to deny the reality of that community. Accessibility involves far more than physical alterations to parish buildings. Realistic provision must be made for Catholics with disabilities to participate fully in the Eucharist and other liturgical celebrations.”

The USCCB reaffirmed the Pastoral Statement in 1998 with the document, Welcome and Justice for Persons with Disabilities.

In 1995, the USCCB also released the Guidelines for the Celebration of the Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities.  A revised edition of the Guidelines was approved and released by the full body of the USCCB in June 2017.

In response to the 1978 statement, the USCCB established this organization to implement the directives in parishes and dioceses.

“Rooted in Gospel values that affirm the dignity of every person, the National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD) works collaboratively to ensure meaningful participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of the life of the Church and society.”

On this website you can find:
  • Adapted curriculum and inclusion curriculum for catechism
  • Ministry models for parishes and dioceses
  • Resources specific to autism, mental illness, the deaf community, etc.
  • Universal design plans and surveys
  • Webinars
In 1966, SPRED was established as an agency of the Archdiocese of Chicago with the goal to make it possible for each parish to welcome persons with developmental disabilities into a group where they would become prepared to participate in the liturgical life of their parish.  

It has now expanded nationally in 19 dioceses/archdioceses and internationally in seven countries.

The SPRED Agency provides training, supervision and materials in the form of a syllabus of sessions. The parish sets up a program for a given age group in accordance with SPRED standards. Each SPRED center has a team made up of volunteers: a chairperson, leader catechist, activity catechist and helper catechists (sponsors). Each helper catechist becomes a partner in faith for a child or adult with developmental disabilities.  

SPRED small communities of faith are comprised of up to 14 persons: 8 catechists and 6 friends. This ensures a personal experience for all.  A welcoming space, the bonds of friendship, the proclamation of the Word and inclusion in the sacramental life of the parish are essential for growth in faith.

More information and resources can be found on their website.  

They would love to talk with any parish about starting their own SPRED group!

This initiative began in 1996, as a partnership with the Archdiocese of Chicago which is now expanded, as an interfaith effort to assist all congregations in welcoming people of all abilities.

“An inclusive faith community means that every person, regardless of ability, is offered the same respect and opportunity to participate in their worshiping community. Differences are both accommodated and celebrated so that each individual feels a sense of welcome and belonging.”

On this site you will find:
  • Practical videos on inclusion and accessibility
  • A video from Henri Nouwen who spoke at their conference in 1996
  • Resources for an Inclusion Awareness Day
  • Religious education materials around inclusion to help children of all ages welcome people of all abilities.  This material is also published through Loyola Press and is called Different Gifts, Same Spirit.
  • Open Hearts and Junior Open Hearts Awards cash grants process


This list is not exhaustive, but it is a great place to start with parishes and families who are engaging in these conversations

The USCCB perfectly sums up the heart of Capernaum and our families in saying:
“All persons with disabilities have gifts to contribute to the whole Church. When persons with disabilities are embraced and welcomed, and invited to participate fully in all aspects of parish community life, the Body of Christ is more complete. ‘The Church owes persons with disabilities her best efforts in order to ensure that they are able to hear the Gospel of Christ, receive the sacraments, and grow in their faith in the fullest and richest manner possible.’”

Additional resources:
Capernaum Parish collaboration example - from Blair Ransom in New Jersey

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Capernaum Personal Discipleship Plan

We are so grateful to Katie Vidal, Area Director, Tucson Capernaum Young Life for all her amazing and intentional work on these discipleship plans!  Thank you so much, Katie!

Over the last few months, we have been brainstorming ways to be more intentional about providing our friends and their families with resources as they transition out of Young Life Capernaum and into a lifelong faith community. We know that across our country, people with disabilities are underrepresented in our churches. Many of our friends and families expressed that they weren’t sure how to begin conversations with church leaders about the skills and gifts God has equipped them with and the ways that they want to use those gifts to serve in the Body of Christ. We wanted to create a tool that our friends can bring to their churches to express their individual discipleship goals and the ways that they would like to serve in their church.

We modeled our Capernaum Personal Discipleship Plan after the one that is accessible to staff and leaders on Staff Resources. We created three different options for our friends; one tool that allows them to write their own answers, one in which they can circle pre-populated answers, and one with pictures illustrating the pre-populated phrases.

Our friends first get to identify the ways that they want to continue to grow in their faith, both individually (i.e. pray on my own) and corporately (i.e. join a Bible Study at church). Next, our friends get to identify the gifts and strengths that God has equipped them with. Lastly, our friends identify the ways that they want to serve in their church and come up with some tangible support that they need in order to be successful in those roles! Our hope is that our friends can fill these out with their families and then take the plan into meetings with church leaders.

I had the privilege of helping my friend Jessica fill out her Discipleship Plan with her parents. Jessica expressed her desire to read her Bible everyday and listen to worship music. She recognized that she is very friendly, likes routine, and loves children. Jessica expressed her desire to volunteer in the Children’s Ministry at her church as well as help with greeting at service. Jessica came up with some steps that would help her be successful, like reminders when a task needs to be completed. Jessica and her parents were then able to sit down with a Sunday School teacher and talk about the ways that Jessica would love to serve in their classroom. They also met with the head usher and now Jessica is being trained as a greeter for Sunday mornings.

Our hope is that these tools will help churches see the untapped skills and gifts of our friends and help move them on the continuum of not just being included in their churches, but experiencing true belonging.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Sammy's Story - I am so glad I was born!

Thank you John from Young Life Capernaum, Santa Clarita Valley!

Sammy Sosa experienced his first time at camp at Lost Canyon Capernaum week this summer! In fact, it was his first time away from home! Sammy has been in a wheelchair his entire life, and he needs a transfusion every other day, so going away from home has never been an option for him. 

However, with the help of his amazing YL leader, Curt, Sammy was able to go to camp, and he had
the “best week of his life!” He rode horses, went on the big swing, danced, pied his leader in the face, made some new friends with the campers and buddies, laughed, heard about God’s precious love for him, and basically got to be a teenager! 

Sammy is smart, friendly, full of jokes, and he always has a smile on his face. During cabin times, Sammy shared his story and his struggles. Growing up with a disability, he often wondered why he was ever born. He said he spent some years being very angry and bitter with God. 

But God changed Sammy’s heart and his outlook on life. Sammy’s friendship with Jesus has given him hope and joy. He longs to serve God by serving others. He said he no longer complains about his life. At the end of camp, Sammy stated this: “I now see that I am so glad that I was born, because I got to be here at camp in this cabin and have real friends.”

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Super Hero Club!

We LOVE this club idea from Robb Schreiber, YL San Diego North

Most of their friends come dressed up for club and the leaders also bring some extra items for their friends who didn't bring a costume.

Superhero Shuffle: basically works like a cake walk
Printed 27 pics of superheroes that we placed randomly all over the room and while the music played, we walked around until the music stopped everyone moved to a superhero. We printed all 27 names and called 3 out each round like bingo. Example: Superman, Wonder Woman, and Mr Incredible. 

We bought superhero figurines from the Dollar Tree and some activity books that were a superhero themed. Each kid would get a prize. After that round we would pull those superheroes off the floor and play again. Each round we call out 3 superheroes, give out prizes, and then pull them from the floor until there were only a few superheroes left and the kids had to choose from the last remaining superheroes on the floor, so we had multiple kids on the same superhero and we gave prizes to the kids that had not won a prize already. It was a way to make sure every kid won at least one prize.
27 pics of superheroes
27 names of superheroes

Spiderman Web Game
Has the entire group gotten into a circle facing the middle.
We bought a big ball of thick black yarn that we wrapped around each friend to create a spider web.
We bought some large plastic spiders from the dollar tree and placed them in the web by wrapping the legs into the yarn.
We played the Spiderman theme music and they wiggled the web to try and knock the spiders out of the web. THEY LOVED IT
Here is a video of what it looked like

Kryptonite Challenge
We had them sit in a circle
We had 3 different colors of flagging tape
Every 3rd person got the same color. Red, yellow, green, red, yellow, green, etc.
We spray painted 3 pieces of pvc pipe neon green to look like kryptonite. You could also use thick glow sticks
We played music as they passed the kryptonite around the circle and when the music stopped if you were holding the kryptonite your team got a point. The goal of the game was lowest score wins. Every few rounds we would increase the value of the points when one team was far in the lead.

Share Superhero Power/ Superhero Show and Tell
Give each kid the chance to come up front to share what their superhero can do.
They also shared a fun phrase that their superhero says.

Superhero Disguise
Sometimes superheroes need to disguise themselves
We bring a BIG tub of skit and prop clothes.
Divide kids into a couple of teams
Teams on one side of the room and clothes on the other side
Kids run from their team to the pile of clothes and put on some clothes, like an extra large shirt, a jacket, a wig, a hat. Simpler things to put on, pose for a picture (great photos) take off the clothes and run back to their team and then continue the relay. More teams the better so there is less standing around waiting in line.

Sometimes we give every kid an award certificate and highlight something they did at the club and have an award ceremony at the end of the club.
Capernaum Superhero Award Certificate