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We have produced six youth group sessions that give the latest insight on some of the most challenging issues that face young people today. Our expert knowledge has been boiled down, crafted and refined into ‘six youth group sessions you simply HAVE to run’.
Each session is designed to make a tangible difference to the lives of the young people you work with and to encourage them to do the same for the most vulnerable young people across the country.
From the Childen’s Society website you get free access to this resource, once you register (also free).
You get access to the leader’s booklet pdf (a 32-page guide to running the six sessions), downloadable content to help run the sessions including ‘ways to well-being’ postcards, session handouts and PowerPoints for some of the sessions.
The six sessions cover: identity, mind matters (exploring mental health), healthy relationships, life online, seriously awkward (why 16- and 17-year-olds are particularly vulnerable) and make a difference (empowers young people to creatively express themselves).
They recommend it for young people aged 11-16, although I would say it is best for the older end of this spectrum, and would work well with 16-18s too. The material is designed to be used in a church context, but does not assume that all the young people present will be Christian. It is designed to take around an hour and a half to run, although it could easily be condensed into a shorter time period.
The material is well researched, benefiting from the Children's Society's wealth of research and experience. The material is clearly laid out, and is graphically very appealing and easy to work from.
Each session has a clearly defined aim and several learning outcomes. It also lists any materials you will need and a ‘reality today' statistic, from which the session is based.
They are clearly laid out, with suggested timings as well. Each session has an icebreaker game, some kind of starter activity to introduce the session's theme, a faith in focus section, as well as a ‘going deeper' section for those who want to explore some more. Each session ends with a Takeaway activity to encourage participants to reflect on the session over the following days.
The resource is so well written that anyone who is used to working with teenagers could lead this session. The Children's Society recommends that there should be at least two Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certified adults present.
There is a downloadable pdf for the handout for the six sessions. Again, these are professionally prepared and are appropriate for the age group. They may use up your colour ink on your printer however!
The PowerPoints for sessions five and six are well presented and easy to use. There are also a couple of video link suggestions, which are clearly explained and easy to connect to.
You will need to take the time to read through each session, print off any handouts you wish to use and gather any suggested resources. Other than that, it's ready to go!
Yes. You are given this link when you register for free. The web page fives recommended resources and background to some of the statistics used in the course.
The course is based on discussions, and there is a helpful setting out of Ground Rules for these in the first session.
The sessions are well-paced, with a variety of methods to connect with the subject matter.
This is down to the experience of the leader.
There is an expectation of discussion throughout the sessions.
Each session includes a reference to a Bible passage, but this is only a small part of each session. The material focuses on the social issues and then uses the Bible passage to help speak into the issue. In some sessions, it feels like you could remove the Biblical input and still have a session, which could be used in a non-Christian environment well without any significant loss to the content.
The material is used in an accessible manner, but may be a bit too simple for committed Christian young people with a good understanding of their faith.
It doesn't seem to connect deep enough with the biblical material, rather using rational thought and understanding to relate to everyday life.
It comes across as a more open theology, particularly expressed in the session on healthy relationships, where there is no mention of sex being safest when kept within a marriage (it does suggest simply within a committed relationship).
The course helps young people understand who they are and how they can live life well and safely. It does not specifically focus on growing more in relationship with God.
The focus is more on healthy lifestyle and living safely rather than growing in faith.
It helps to show young people how faith can affect their decisions and lifestyle.
The issues are big issues for young people and need to be discussed in every youth group setting.
This is not part of the course.
The final session is all about empowering young people to creatively express themselves and what they have learnt, whether through lobbying their local MP or other forms of campaigning.
This is not particularly focused on other than if a young person wants to campaign on a global issue.
This is not part of the course.