This weeks blog is a response to an amazing weekend at the Canadian Youth Workers Community (www.CYWC.ca). Over 200 youth leaders from across Atlantic Canada, gathered for two days, to receive practical training. The Youth and Family department of the Canadian Baptist of Atlantic Canada was excited to partner with CYWC organizers and are proud of the amazing Baptist representation present at the conference. There were many amazing take aways, below are Jacqueline, Natasha, and Joel’s top take aways.
Jacqueline’s Top Take Away
My big take away from the CYWC this year was the need for more open and honest conversation about mental health, especially in and with our youth. This stood out to me because the news, social media and personal discussions confirm that this is an epidemic. It seems that many leaders don’t feel equipped to handle these heavy discussions with students and their parents. Many of our churches aren’t having these hard discussions and I think we need to keep this conversation going, provide relevant resources for leaders, provide ways to increase our knowledge, and know how to relay our information to our students. Students are often the first ones to know about friends who are struggling with mental health issues. To support them best, we need to, as leaders, also be learning about mental health.
Natasha’s Top Take Away
I love going to CYWC every year, it is such an amazing event where we are able to connect with so many other youth leaders and share in stories, learning, and worship together. My take away this year was from Brett Ullman’s second talk. As he was sharing about being healthy in your body, mind and spirit, he said that one thing that helps your mind is to have fun. As I listened, I realized that a lot of the “fun” I have is often associated with work and I don’t necessarily take time out for myself to just have fun. This is a huge wake up call to me, life can be stressful, I need to find things to do for me that are just fun. What ways are you having fun these days?
Joel’s Top Take Away
Two things stood out to me over the two days of CYWC. Firstly, I am so inspired and encouraged when I get to be with leaders who are passionate about serving and caring for young people. It is such a privilege to know individuals across Atlantic Canada who have committed their lives to loving youth! I was once again struck by the need for increased partnership and relationship between youth leaders. I am excited to continue to work to connect youth pastors both in our Baptist family but also beyond with events like ONE con. We are better when we work together than when we are working separately.
The second piece which stood out for me was a refrain that Sid Koop mentioned. It was a message of thoughtful yet fearless innovation. We often hear about the challenges faced by young people and the failure of the church to address said needs. I took away that we need to be willing to try new things and not to be afraid to fail because failure provides valuable lessons and insights that we can use to shape and inform our next innovative experiment. Change for change sake isn’t helpful, but change with intentionality and a Gospel mindset will result in ministry fruit.
Thank you for reading. We as a department will be praying for you as the Christmas season begin! We would love to hear your take aways or things that were missed at CYWC. Please feel free to send any insights to Joel at [email protected]. We are working with the amazing CYWC organization team to help give the Atlantic conference a true East Coast flair!