Maintaining youth and children’s work online
In these unprecedented times it is maybe the young who are most able to adapt to the forced use of technology to stay connected.
The challenge comes when we think how we as adults can connect and support young people in their faith at this time. We have spent so long avoiding connecting online through social media because of all its safeguarding pitfalls that we might now be in a position where we have no way of connecting. For many of the groups I have spoken with the main challenge has been finding ways to contact young people to let them know what resources and activities are available to them – for many it has involved sending handwritten cards, dropping activities through the door or trying to connect through parents – but they have been bombarded with emails from schools and organisations trying to get their attention so we often get lost in the long list of unread emails.
It is encouraging to see how many churches have been able to adapt and adopt online tools for streaming services via YouTube and Facebook or doing church via Zoom, Teams or Google Hangouts– all of these methods are familiar to young people and many will find it easier to engage online than maybe they did physically in your buildings. As we come out of the lockdown we need to make sure we hold on to some of these new ways of working. One of the great things about streaming is that other people can catch up later – and that includes seeing what others are doing to borrow ideas. Here are a few you might want to check out.
Kidz Klub at home Mid Norfolk Kidz Klub have gone online with regular live streams and recorded sessions with activities, challenges, Bible stories and reflections for young people on their YouTube channel. www.youtube.com/channel/UCcxdQiPDuETrF6wDdqviKrw
Sports Factory The Diocese of Norwich’s Sport Ministry team have been busy putting together all sorts or prayer, reflection, Bible study and fitness activities that can be used with all ages www.sportsfactory.org.uk
Here are just a few the other resources we think have been most helpful:
Church of England: guidance for the safe use of video-calling with young people www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/202003/Video%20Calling.pdf
Messy Church at home www.DofN.org/messy-church
Prayer Spaces at home www.DofN.org/prayer-spaces
Youth for Christ Youth Work Online A collection of resources covering safeguarding, best practice and resources, including video discussions, downloadable resources and ideas. www.yfc.co.uk/youthworkonline
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