Youth leaders: My year with CAFOD and Youth Ministry Team

Charlie, CAFOD youth work ambassador.
Charlie, CAFOD youth leader ambassador.

Charlie is a youth worker at the Youth Ministry Trust (YMT) in the diocese of Hexham and Newcastle. He works with young people to inspire and encourage them in their faith. This year he has volunteered as the ‘CAFOD ambassador’ at YMT, championing global justice work on the team.

My year as a volunteer

My year at YMT has been absolutely incredible, heightened by joining forces with CAFOD to promote social justice and CAFOD’s key projects and campaigns.

My year here at YMT as CAFOD ambassador has been one of great growth and progress, having the opportunity to grow in my skills, confidence, and joy for the Gospel! My work with CAFOD has also very much challenged me, in researching and learning about major social and political issues that impact the world around us, and us personally.

The general election 2017 comes at a crucial time. Choose from seven ways to build a better world.   Continue reading “Youth leaders: My year with CAFOD and Youth Ministry Team”

Great Generation: Carrying the flame of hope with refugees

Eleanor Margetts was part of the CAFOD team of young volunteers at Flame. Here she describes how young people learnt about the plight of refugees and were inspired to take action. 

Eleanor volunteering at Flame
Eleanor volunteering at Flame.

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of being a part of CAFOD’s volunteer team at Flame, the Catholic youth gathering by CYMFed at Wembley Arena. I had never been to Flame before, so it was very exciting to attend such an inspiring event. I was amazed, not only at the enthusiasm of all the young people in attendance, but at the wonderful messages of hope and solidarity shared by all of the speakers. The striking presence of the boat, a small vessel used to transport refugees from Turkey to the Italian island of Lampedusa in 2013, on the stage of Wembley Arena set the tone for the event as one both of a celebration of Christian faith and one that really aimed to challenge people to put that faith into action by striving for justice.

Take the Flame challenge today – write a message of hope to refugees

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Youth leaders: Georgia’s year ahead

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CAFOD Youth leader ambassadors 2016-7 (Georgia centre, seated.)

Georgia is a youth leader at The Briars Catholic youth retreat centre. This year she will work with hundreds of young people, enabling them to explore their faith. She has just started a year volunteering with CAFOD as a youth ambassador, championing global justice work in her centre. Here she reflects on her year ahead.

Last week I was fortunate enough to be a part of CAFOD’s ambassador first training programme, in which myself and eight other youth ministers joined forces to work together on how we could further raise awareness on the current refugee crisis.

Write a message of hope to refugees in your parish or your youth group or class. Continue reading “Youth leaders: Georgia’s year ahead”

Youth leaders: Get your group ready for the Rio Olympics!

Ahead of Rio 2016, Julia from CAFOD’s Youth Team muses on sport, silly and serious, and suggests easy ways to get your group of friends, youth group and secondary students Rio ready with CAFOD!

Julia from CAFOD's Youth Team finishing the Great South Run.
Julia from CAFOD’s Youth Team finishing the Great South Run.

As a youth leader and teacher I’ve run (and played!) my fair share of silly games. From parachute games with HCPT on the meadow in Lourdes, to 500 rounds of North, South, East, West with Guides. From ten pin bowling with plastic bottles in a Loreto school in India to mini-Olympics with tutor groups. I had to get serious when supporting students with physical disabilities to play Paralympic sport boccia at a regional competition,  as moving the ramp accurately according to the player’s precise instructions meant the difference between victory and defeat.

Download CAFOD Olympic resources for young people

Although not an absolute natural, I love taking part in sport too. Aside from a few (very unexpected) shot-put wins at school sports day (my training one year was to throw bean cans as far as I could in the garden), coastal rowing is the sport I’ve been most involved in. The feeling of a win after a two kilometre sprint was elation, but it was the week in, week out training with friends and sunny days on the South coast at regattas that made it fun.

Continue reading “Youth leaders: Get your group ready for the Rio Olympics!”

Youth leaders: messages of hope for refugees

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CAFOD ambassadors at Romero House

Sarah Burrows from CAFOD’s Youth team describes how young people have been writing messages of love and hope for refugees .

CAFOD ambassadors from retreat and outreach teams have spent the past few months reflecting on the refugee crisis, responding by raising awareness and gathering messages of hope and love for refugees from the young people they work with. At the beginning of March the group came down to London to bring their messages to Parliament, and speak to their MPs about the refugee crisis. The day before, we had the chance to gather together, halfway through Lent, to reflect on the fact that refugees are such a huge part of the Year of Mercy, they are “brothers and sisters to be welcomed, respected and loved.” (Pope Francis, 2014)

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Youth leaders: Hannah reflects on the European refugee crisis

Hannah Remm is a youth worker at The Briars, the residential youth centre for the Diocese of Nottingham. Over the past year Hannah has been involved with CAFOD’s ambassador scheme, and recently she gathered with other youth leaders to spend time reflecting on the current refugee crisis and CAFOD’s response in Syria and Europe.

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Hannah is a member of the Briars youth team in Nottingham diocese

As a part of our CAFOD Ambassadors scheme, we a day at the CAFOD office at Romero House discussing the topic of refugees. We looked at the language we associate with refugees, the stories that we had heard in the news and on social media along with other information about the European refugee crisis. Some of the things discussed did shock me a little, especially when we looked at how often the media portrays refugees in in a dehumanising way, such as the refugees in Calais living in ‘The Jungle’ camp, or politicians referring to them arriving in ‘swarms’. As a group we realised that the language we use is so important. Refugees are still people – people with families, emotions, hope and dreams just like us. Continue reading “Youth leaders: Hannah reflects on the European refugee crisis”

CYMfed Youth Leaders’ Congress 2016

On 6 February, the CAFOD youth team will be attending the CYMfed Youth Leaders’ Congress in London. This is a day of nourishment, networking and renewal for those who are involved in working with young people in the Church. Julia Corcoran, a former CAFOD gap year volunteer and currently an intern with Columbans’ Justice and Peace team, reflects on the value of the congress. Julia SitG

My name is Julia Corcoran and two years ago I took part in the CAFOD Step into the Gap programme. I loved my time on the programme and was fortunate to see the work of CAFOD in Sierra Leone. After the programme I went on to complete my masters in ‘Rights, Gender and International Law.’ I am now doing a 12 month internship with the Columbans’ Justice and Peace team and CYMFed’s Administration. My time on Step into the Gap definitely prepared me for what I am doing now. I often go into schools and talk to young people about a variety of Justice and Peace issues.

Looking to do a gap year? Why not step into the gap

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World Gifts: why I’m asking for alternative presents this Christmas

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Bernadette in Nicaragua with CAFOD

Bernadette Goddard took part in the Step into the Gap programme last year. In this blog she describes why the work of partners in Nicaragua inspired her to ask for World Gifts as Christmas presents this year.

As Christmas approaches every year I am asked the question what would I like. It’s a double question for me as my birthday is just five days before Christmas, on 20 December. Each year I receive many gifts, often ones which, if I’m honest, I don’t need or use. In previous years I’ve asked for things which would be useful. Last year I was about to embark on a life changing trip with CAFOD to Nicaragua and people helped with my kit list, buying me useful items to take with me such as torches and plug adapters! This Christmas I have decided to appeal to family and friends on social media to buy World Gifts.

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Step into the Gap: a gap year with a difference

Applications for the CAFOD Gap Year, Step into the Gap, are now open. Julia Corcoran took part in the programme in 2013 /14, and in this blog describes her experience.

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Julia (second row, second from right) with fellow Step into the Gap volunteers in 2013

Two years ago I wrote a reflection on why I was really excited to be travelling to Sierra Leone. In those two years my life has taken a completely different turn and that’s mainly down to my experiences on Step into the Gap.Find out more about Step into the Gap

During my time on the programme my placement was at YMT, (the Youth service for Hexham and Newcastle) running retreats in the Emmaus Youth Village where groups of young people come to take time out, reflect on their lives, realise the impact they have on the world and hopefully the impact God has in their lives. During my time there I had a variety of opportunities to work with young people from leading Morning Prayer, helping to run youth festivals and running workshops, as well as going into schools for assemblies and speaking during Mass in the local parishes and at the Cathedral.

Continue reading “Step into the Gap: a gap year with a difference”