By Josh Low
Equipping those involved in youth ministry with the necessary knowledge and skills to take into their ministry was the focus of the ‘Masterclass’ retreat run by Catholic Youth Ministry Perth last weekend.
Some 50 youth leaders from across the Archdiocese of Perth came together for the weekend event held at Bickley Outdoor Recreation Camp from 19 to 21 January.
A wide range of talks by presenters with years of experience in youth ministry over the weekend held practical advice which participants could take away and apply in their roles in the Church.
Topics addressed included public speaking, child safeguarding and protective behaviours with young people, creating sustainable youth programs and building relationships with parishioners young and old.
Participants were also able to collaborate with each other over the weekend, through sharing experiences and workshopping ideas.
Tiffany Mitchell, who assists as a youth leader at both Gosnells and Bateman Parish, said what she gained revolved around the aspects of relationships, both with the young people and the wider parish community.
“What I learnt from the retreat was how the youth group and youth ministry as a whole is more than just telling the young people about God, but to help them experience Him through the friendship and fellowship, as well as through a better relationship with the parish and its people,” she said.
“Among the practical things I gained included understanding if the young people at a youth event are not feeling safe or very welcome, and the steps you could put in place to address these issues.”
Youth leader at Bentley Parish, Christopher Ngu, said the retreat was well structured, with the sessions on strategic planning and sustainable youth ministry standing out for him.
“I feel that this aspect, and the effort it requires, is often underestimated, with those specific talks helping to highlight how important these key areas are in the longevity of the ministry.
“It has given me a much deeper understanding and appreciation for how much thought is required in running a youth group and helped to shed light on areas that are often overlooked or confusing,” he said.
“Attending Masterclass has really reassured me in my worries along this journey of youth ministry.”