Holiday and Seasonal Ideas for Ministry with Young Teens is a collection of 27 strategies to help young adolescents mark significant times in the liturgical and secular calendars. The collection includes prayer ideas, service projects, social activities, learning activities about church life and practice, strategies for outreach to the parish community, and discussion-starters that focus on celebrations, commemorations, and cultural observances.
- Getting a Fresh Start: A Reflection Activity on New Year's Resolutions.
- "I Have a Dream": A Reflection Exercise on the Speech of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
- Soup or Bowl: A Game and Service Project for Super Bowl Sunday.
- Valentine Visit: An Outreach Event for Valentine's Day.
- Real Love Is . . . : A Community-Building and Discussion Activity for Valentine's Day.
- Ashes to Reconciliation: A Reconciliation Prayer for Lent.
- Lenten Nails: A Reflection Exercise for Lent.
- Justice Walk: A Contemporary Version of the Stations of the Cross.
- The Passion Here and Now: A Contemporary Look at the Passion of Jesus Christ.
- Resurrection Relay: A Bible Learning Activity for Easter.
- Be a Fool for Christ: A Prayer Service for April Fools' Day.
- Mary, Full of Grace: A Learning Activity for the Month of May.
- The Spirit Blows: A Hands-on Activity for Pentecost.
- Tower of Independence: A Discussion Activity for Independence Day.
- TGIS (Thank God It's Summer)! An End-of-School Celebration.
- Back-to-School Blessing: A Prayer Service for the Beginning of the School Year.
- Fears: A Discussion Exercise for Halloween.
- Trick-or-Treat for a Cause: An Outreach Activity for Halloween.
- Unmasking Saints: A Learning Activity for All Saints' Day.
- Giving Thanks for Special People: A Communication Activity for Thanksgiving.
- Build a Meal: An Outreach Activity for Thanksgiving.
- Advent Buddies: An Intergenerational Relationship-Building Activity.
- Santa Teen: An Outreach Activity for Christmas.
- Stocking Stuffer Relay: A Prayer-Writing Activity for Christmas.
- Posada: A Re-enactment of the Beginning of the Christmas Story.
- Happy Birthday, Everyone: A Community-Building Activity and Service Event.
- Holiday Wheel of Fortune: An Icebreaker for Any Holiday.
Appendix 1: Connections to the Discovering Program by HELP Strategy.
Appendix 2: Connections to the Discovering Program by Discovering Course.
|Dimensions:||8.25" x 10½"|
Saint Mary's Press
|1-2 copies||$19.80 each|
|3-5 copies||$18.70 each|
|6+ copies||$17.60 each|
I am not easily swayed. It takes a lot for a book or series to make me say the following: If you want to make the most of your resource budget this year, be sure that you add the HELP Series from Saint Mary's Press to your library. Most of you know me from my work with the Center, but I am also involved in a full-time ministry to seventh- to twelfth-grade teens. I am always looking for materials that motivate my volunteer teachers to design their own programs and processes. The HELP (Heads up, Easy, Low cost, Purposeful) series does just that. Many volunteers are hesitant to design events because they believe that they don't have enough ideas. Well, with this new collection they have a brand-new pool from which to draw. For our most recent day-long junior high retreat, I loosed on the teachers the books from the series that were available: "Family," "Community Building," "Holiday and Seasonal," "Justice and Service" and "Prayer" ideas. I requested that they design a retreat using these resources and any of the other books in our youth ministry library. An hour later, they had the basic layout of the retreat, solely using ideas from the HELP series. Volunteers loved digging through the well-documented, easy-reading ideas that gave them the freedom to understand, choose and adapt the activities that would best fit our group and enhance the theme of the retreat. The HELP book series contains a broad range of activities. They are great filler material for a current curriculum or, better yet, use them as my teachers did to create your own meetings, classes and retreats. There is plenty of commentary and advice on creating prayer and community in each book.For those of you who are veterans of youth ministry, you may find that some of the materials, especially in the "Community Building" book, are standard types of activities reset especially for young teens. However, I think most volunteers will find fresh projects in this book. Even the most experienced among us will probably find some surprises as they dive into these books. In the "Prayer" book our teachers found the creative and inexpensive "God Can" prayer, which was a fine closing service. What a great use for all those empty aluminum cans we had collected after lunch at the retreat. And for my older teens I will be using the "Post Card Journals" found in the same book. The series is a fine investment.
The HELP series is an asset to any parish or school developing young adolescent ministry. The series provides a variety of activities that can be used to supplement current programs, or as building blocks for creating new ministry opportunities. Whether a parish is seeking interactive ideas for religious education, expanding youth ministry to include middle school, or ministering with families, the HELP series is a valuable collection of recipes for success with young teens!
Saint Mary's Press has just published four books for ministry with young teens. They are part of the HELP series. When the series is complete, there will be seven volumes available. . . .
"Never judge a book by its cover!" There seems to be just one overall complaint for the series—the dull colors of the cover and layout are not eye-catching. But according to the four youth ministers who carefully looked them over, we shouldn't let that stop us from discovering the value in these wonderful books!
The books are laid out with 20 or more strategies. Each strategy gives you: (1) a suggested time it takes; (2) group size; (3) special considerations—if there are any; (4) materials needed; (5) procedure; (6) alternative approaches; (7) scriptural connections; (8) notes—a place where you can jot your own notes. And naturally, "Ownership of the book includes permission to duplicate any part of it for use with program participants."
Here are the main comments of our reviewers on the four volumes now available:
Reviewed by Bob Nolan of St. Joe's in Grafton.
Variety: Long and short prayers, active and reflective prayers, usable in various ministries. Strategies aimed at youth; helps them communicate with God; hits them at the stage of affiliated faith and helps them transition to the questioning level of faith. Ecclesial dimension: The strategies help bring young teens into community and even into the larger community of church and world. I liked it so much, I went out and ordered Justice and Service Ideas.
Justice and Service Ideas
Reviewed by Bob Steckbauer of St. John's in South Milwaukee.
Each and every idea was practical and very doable with young people. Variety: Everything from five- to ten-minute icebreakers to activities that could consume a 90-minute session (and longer)! Hands on: There is something for the youth to physically do, with little time for boredom. Catholic: Tied back to traditions, teachings, and worship of the Catholic Church. Time-resistant: These activities will not go out of style; they will become old standbys you will use for years to come.
Reviewed by Shelly Schwingle of St. Matthew's in Oak Creek.
Good activities that are low-priced and doable. Can generate good conversation between parents and teens. Easy to fit these activities into programming.
Holiday and Seasonal Ideas
Reviewed by Carol Fischer of St. Alphonsus in Greendale.
Super ideas that are short and crafty. Year-long ideas for all holiday celebrations. Scripture connections are given for all the ideas, with options and alternatives.