Conceived originally when he was serving as Bishop of Harrisburg, PA, the idea of carrying a cross through the streets of town on the Saturday before Palm Sunday was the brainchild of William Cardinal Keeler, retired Archbishop of Baltimore. Bishop W. Francis Malooly, the Bishop of Wilmington, served as Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore under Cardinal Keeler and participated for years in the diocesan pilgrimage in Baltimore. When he arrived in Wilmington, Bishop Malooly “carried” the idea up the road and invited the young people of the Diocese of Wilmington to consider beginning their own tradition of pilgrimage.
The pilgrimage is a chance for youth and young adults, specifically those in grades 6 through age 35, their families, and young adults in the diocese to commemorate Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and his own pilgrimage to Calvary on Good Friday. During the pilgrimage, young people from parishes and schools take turns carrying the cross alongside Bishop Malooly.
The Pilgrimage Cross is a replica of the World Youth Day Cross, which was given to the young people of the world by Pope John Paul II in 1984. This replica was constructed by members of the Youth Leadership Team and carried by the team at the opening liturgy of the One Spirit, One Church conference on March 1, 2009, where Bishop Malooly blessed the cross for its use in our communities.
On March 27, 2010, more than 400 youth and adult leaders carried the cross through the city streets of Wilmington in our diocese’s first Youth Pilgrimage. In 2011, more than 700 youth and young adults attended and in 2013, our numbers jumped to more than 1,200. May God bless us as we continue to grow and delight in the Lord.
At its basic level, youth ministry is the response of a parish community to the needs of its young people.
To help you understand what comprehensive youth ministry is, consider this:
The Comprehensive Model serves to link all the ingredients that encompass a holistic youth ministry with youth. This model broadens the scope of ministry beyond the traditional approach which often focuses only on youth group programming, by utilising the framework of eight components and by organising programming around five programme settings.
The Comprehensive approach emphasises multiple program formats with a variety of content offered in a variety of time formats and settings, with multiple forms of participation based on interests and freedom of choice.
This explanation barely scratches the surface for explaining, understanding and implementing a comprehensive youth ministry model. To gain a better understanding of Comprehensive Youth Ministry please read the article found here.
Right here. Click any of the links below for specific help.
It usually takes roughly two to three weeks from the time you submit your application to your parish for your background check to be completed. However, this time frame can vary depending on information submitted by you on the application. Failure to sign a background check request form can significantly delay processing. See the related page below to download the forms you need.
First, you must register for CYM Sports in general, which you can do by clicking “Register here” in the blue box at the top of the page. (For more detailed instructions, see below.) Then, to register for a specific sport, you must contact your child’s parish or school. CYM cannot register your child for any specific sport, give information regarding practice times or locations, or accept funds for registration.
If you are assigned to a parish or school you do not want your child to play for, please email email@example.com for an Affiliation Change Request Form. This will be sent to you via email. Please return the completed form by fax (302.658.7617) or by email. It will be forwarded to our Director of Athletics, Joe McNesby, and the Athletic Association, who will meet on a set date to discuss affiliation changes. You will be notified of the Athletic Association’s decision via email. Please note that the Athletic Association grants affiliation changes only in special circumstances.
At this time (through July 2015), you cannot add a child to your account. You must create a new account for your child. You may use the same email you used for your other account, but not the same password.
We expect to have the ability to add children to your primary account in mid-2015. Thank you for your patience at this time.
For help requesting a new account, see below.
You cannot register your child for a specific sport through CYM. There is only one registration, a general Online Sports Registration, that, when completed, permits your child to play for CYM teams. To register for a specific sport, you will need to contact the school or parish assigned as your child’s primary affiliation.
See the below document for an overview of CYM Registration.
The rental and use of 15 passenger vans is prohibited.
The vehicle checklists should be used when transporting young people. Please see various FSGC checklists at the bottom of this page, especially those regarding transportation - here.
CYM will provide, upon request, a certificate of liability insurance that names your parish and the rental agency as being covered. This coverage is only for liability, not collision, and is not applicable in cases of gross negligence (i.e., a driver who talks on the phone or texts while driving is illegal in some states but negligent everywhere; driving while tired or driving at excessive speeds would also qualify as gross negligence).
While it will cost more, you should strongly consider purchases the supplemental collision insurance offered by the rental company. If you do not, your personal insurance will always be on the hook, no matter whose is at fault for damages. (For example, even if someone collides with your rental car while you are driving, your insurance will have to pay up front and you will have to pay your deductible out of pocket. Your insurance may then try to recover costs, but you will still be out the initial expense.)
To ensure that all drivers’ coverage is in order, please make two photocopies of all your drivers’ insurance cards, driver’s licenses, and (if you are using personal vehicles), individual vehicle registration cards. Inspect each document to make sure they are not expired or do not expire during the trip. Leave one set of copies with your emergency contact at the parish.
Young people are going to want to listen to music while they travel. Please make sure any music playing is not so loud as to impede the driver’s ability to hear another car honking or the sirens of emergency vehicles.
If you rent vehicles, take a camera with you. Photograph any damage, no matter how insignificant to avoid getting charged upon your return.
Make sure that if you use personal vehicles to transport young people, the owners of those vehicles have had them inspected recently and that the vehicles are in good working order. If you borrow the vehicle, the insurance coverage lies with the driver, not the owner of the car.
- Safety is paramount: plan to stop every two hours.
- Avoid caravanning, which is illegal in some states.
- Empower someone else to be in charge of communicating with passengers in other cars so drivers are not distracted.
- Avoid towing anything, putting roof racks on rental cars, or in any way inhibiting the structural integrity or safety of a vehicle that is carrying young people. If towing is necessary, use a separate vehicle that does not carry young people and is driven by someone with experience towing a trailer, etc.
In 2014, CYM created signs for every parish and school, which will be provided to registered parties free of charge.
Parents are encouraged to participate with their young person. When your child was baptized, you accepted responsibility for "training him (her) in the practice of the faith." You were told by the priest or deacon, "It will be your duty to bring him (her) up to keep God's commandments as Christ taught us, by loving God and our neighbor." This is what the Pilgrimage is all about.
If there are younger children in the family, they are welcome to attend with the parents but, just like anywhere in public, they are the parent’s responsibility and are not part of a parish group.
All young people in grades 6-12 must be part of a group or be accompanied by their parents. All young people below grade 6 may only attend if one or both parents attend. Anyone who attends must be able to complete the 3+ mile walk.
Parents of participants who are attending as part of a parish or school group should know that CYM will do everything in its power to keep young people safe. There is police presence at the event directing traffic and all adults serving as chaperones should have been cleared by the parish youth minister, director of religious education, or school principal for service with young people. This clearance involves the successful completion of a criminal background check, the review and signing of an adult volunteer covenant, and safe environment training by parish personnel. If you have any questions about the event or the adult leaders from your parish or school, please contact either CYM (302-658-3800) or your local parish/school contact.
Even if you attend with your own child, you may not deviate from the route, leave early, or arrive late without first clearing these arrangements with CYM.
Every person participating in the Pilgrimage should wear comfortable walking shoes (the entire route is about 3 miles long), as well as layered clothing. Pilgrims should bring a rosary, a good, positive attitude and, of course, a lunch. Check the weather and dress appropriately because we walk rain or shine. Think about bringing (if appropriate) sunscreen, a rain poncho, gloves, hat, sunglasses.
Do not bring an iPod or MP3 players, headphones or any device that prevents you from interacting with others along the route. You will completely miss the point (and perhaps some important instructions) if you bring such items.
Cell phones are acceptable for use in cases of emergencies. Please refrain from texting while walking. Remember, please, CYM is not responsible for lost or stolen items.
The cost of the Pilgrimage is $15 per person, including all adults. The maximum cost for a family is $45 for immediate related family members. Monies collected helps CYM defray costs for permits, sound equipment, police, security, professional musicians, and any items each participant will receive. One dollar of every pilgrim’s $15 payment is set aside for use as scholarships for those in our diocese who are in need but would like to participate. Scholarship forms can be found on the event page. Thanks to the generosity of St. Francis Hospital, CYM will not incur costs for having medical personnel present for the day (a requirement of such an event).
Participants will gather at the St. E’s Center of St. Elizabeth parish for registration and opening prayer and a concert. The pilgrimage will begin with a procession out of the church and down the block. From St. Elizabeth the cross will be carried to St. Francis Hospital where a Litany will be recited for the patients in the hospital and the Bishop will offer a blessing for the sick and our staff. We will then travel to St. Anthony of Padua where participants will enjoy lunch (that they will pack and bring with them the day of the event) and will be offered a chance to participate in the sacrament of Reconciliation. Our pilgrimage continues to a location to be determined where we will experience the Stations of the Cross. The cross will then be carried to St. Paul Church downtown where the pilgrimage participants will experience Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction. From St. Paul parish, we will turn the corner to St. Hedwig parish. Here we will begin the Palm Sunday liturgy with the Commemoration of the Lord’s Entrance into Jerusalem. Finally, the pilgrimage proceeds back to St. Elizabeth parish for Mass with Bishop Malooly. The day ends after Mass (around 6:15 pm).
There are no evening activities. These plans are subject to change.
Bishop Malooly and the staff of CYM invite all young people in grades sixth through twelfth to attend as well as young adults (age 18-35). As you put the details of your delegation together, please consider inviting the following: high school confirmation candidates, campus ministry teams, religion classes, scouts, youth group members, youth involved in justice and service, Hispanic youth and young adults, young adult faith sharing groups, college students.
All registration should happen ahead of time. The deadline is March 15, 2013. So that participants can get to know their diocesan neighbors - and so we know who is registered - all participants (adults and young people) will wear a name tag during the entire pilgrimage. Therefore, when you register a group, please be prepared to submit a list of names.
If you plan to attend as a family or individual (i.e., young adults), the same process is followed.
All those under 18 (or still in high school) registering as part of a parish group or attending as a family, must have a completed Form B (Parental Permission and General Liability Waiver). Group leaders will be responsible for collecting and keeping these documents. They will not be turned in to CYM. Please make sure you duplicate these documents and have each young person carry a copy of their own Form B with them during the Pilgrimage.
All adults serving as chaperones must be cleared for service according to the FSGC policies. Adults are also encouraged to fill out Form B and carry it with them in case of an emergency. Parents who are not "cleared adults" may attend but may at no time take charge of any young people other than their own.
The Pastoral Cross is a great youth ministry resource and sacramental that, God willing, you may never need. For complete details and resources, click "Resources" in the menu bar at the top of this page and then visit "Pastoral Cross."
Or click here to be redirected.
There are eight components to youth ministry. When implemented effectively, your parish ministry to young people is both effective and comprehensive. These components describe specific areas of the mission of the Church that work together to provide ministry with adolescents. The components support and enhance each other. Our ministry becomes more effective when we work to balance our ministry response across the eight ministry areas. This balance is not necessarily achieved by developing separate ministry programs in each component; sometimes a single program, such as a retreat, incorporates several ministry components. We look for balance over a season or year of ministry to determine our ministry response in these components.
These descriptions of the eight components are excerpted from pages 26-47 of Renewing the Vision.
It's all about vision. The comprehensive mindset is about seeing the different systems, resources, alternative and opportunities within our parish communities. Adapting this mindset to your parish can be better explained and understood by reading the following article by the staff at the Center for Ministry Development.
Twenty recommendations from CYM are listed in the document below.
According to Renewing the Vision there are three goals for ministry with adolescents, which are as follows:
- Goal 1: To empower young people to live as disciples of Jesus Christ in our world today.
- Goal 2: To draw young people to responsible participation in the life, mission, and work of the Catholic faith community.
- Goal 3: To foster the total personal and spiritual growth of each young person.
To read more, visit the USCCB site and read the rest of Renewing the Vision.
To chose how to shape your ministry to young people, take time to listen to parish leaders, parents of youth and youth themselves. Think about your community. What model fits with the ways your parish gathers and your style of being community? What are the issues and concerns? A variety of factors about your community could impact and shape your model. Factors can include, but are not limited to the distance families and youth have to gather at the parish. The demographics of your parish, are you urban, suburban or a rural community. Another factor can be the ethnic and racial diversity that comprise the parish community. Different ethnic communities have different styles of ministry with youth. Vibrancy of your parishes life can be another factor to consider. Studies have shown that parishes with a vibrant community reflected a collaborative environement between the parish staff, leadership, and various ministries of the parish. Effective youth ministry helps youth to move seamlessly between their peer community, parish community, wider community life and ministry within their families.
To help you, CYM has two processes to consider. The first is "Leading Change" for parishes who just want to adjust their ministry efforts. The second, "Starting from Scratch" helps parishes build from the ground up.
Youth Ministry is more than just the gatherings, activities, and events that we provide for young people in our parish. Effective youth ministry is a relationship and it has many dimensions. At the heart of all relationship there is a pattern of listening, caring, responding and sharing. When choosing a model for your parish youth ministry program, you are choosing a way to put all of your resources together to build a relationship between the entire parish and the young people that encompass the community. Parishes with effective youth ministry typically have the following characteristics:
- Youth Ministry is supported and understood by the parish community,
- Ministry responds to the real lives, needs and interests of the youth,
- Gatherings are marked by generous hospitality and intentional relationship building,
- There are a variety of ways for youth and their families to be involved,
- Youth are active in making youth ministry happen.
You can read more about effective youth ministry by reading this article by Tom East, Effective Youth MInistry Practices and Models.
The Pastoral Cross can be requested by filling out CYM's Form J, which can be found online. If you need immediate assistance, please call CYM at 302-658-3800. Form J will still be required but the staff may be able to assist you more quickly.
Every team needs a captain. Even though a chair is selected by its members, the parish needs one person – or a few if the parish is very large – to animate the response to young people that is articulated by the YMLC. The coordinator of youth ministry empowers and coordinates ministries to happen. The team is the “keeper of the vision” while the coordinator works with other volunteers who also work directly with the young people.
Catholic Youth Ministry offers the following guidelines for establishing a Youth Ministry Leadership Committee. Please note that the specific make up of the team may vary from one parish to another, but all parishes are required to have a team in place to ensure effective comprehensive youth ministry.
Short answer: it' s everyone's job. The Church is not a place where, it's a people who.
Youth ministry, at its core, is about a parish community being in relationship with young people. Words like “youth group” and “CYO” have given way to new words like “youth ministry team” and “a comprehensive mindset.” Ministry with young people requires the involvement of the entire parish community. We can no longer depend on a youth minister as a “do-er” of the ministry, where the challenge of working with young people rests solely on his or her shoulders. Today it’s everyone’s job. The comprehensive approach puts the emphasis on the parish process. Youth ministry happens most effectively when a team of adults and youth are supported by the parish in taking responsibility for developing ministry to, with, by and for young people. This is where a Youth Ministry Leadership Committee comes into the picture.
Suppose one Sunday at Mass the pastor wanted to give a special blessing for the Coordinator of Youth Ministry. For the sake of our story, we’ll call him Tom. The pastor invites Tom up to the front of the church and asks him to say a few words about himself and the work he’ll be doing. Tom introduces himself to the parish. Then he asks all those who have children to stand. The parents and grandparents, young and old, stand in their places. Then he repeats the invitation, this time asking all those who coach to stand. A third time Tom addresses the parishioners and asks all those who encounter young people in their jobs to stand. Finally, Tom asks all those who encounter young people at Mass or at parish functions to stand. Tom has everyone in the assembly, standing, so he turns to the pastor and says, “Father, the youth ministers are ready for their blessing.”
In a parish where ministry to young people is effective, everyone in the parish shares responsibility for ministry to, with, and for young people. It’s everyone’s job to include young people in the life and mission and ministry of the parish. It’s the Coordinator’s job to make sure it happens. The Coordinator of Youth Ministry literally coordinates the parish’s response to the needs of the young people.
To obtain a CYM ID, an adult must first have a cleared backgound that is approved by the Diocese of Wilmington Human Resources office (302-573-3126). Once cleared by the Human Resource office, a request for an ID must be submitted through your parish/school AA President.
All CYM coaches are required to wear the ID badge during all practices and games. A replacement badge is $5 and can be ordered directly by calling CYM.
Those Coordinators of Youth Ministry and Religious Education who wish, may request and ID badge from CYM for their volunteers by sending a list of names, clearance dates (obtained by calling the Human Resource office) directly to CYM. Please allow two to three weeks for processing.
To find a sports schedule, click the "Athletics" link on the menu bar at the top of any page on this site. On the "Athletics" home page, there will be links for the various CYM sports. Once you click the sport, you will find schedules for the various divisions and links showing which teams are in which division. Please keep in mind that schedules that are posted are subject to change. Changes to schedules are communicated through head coaches of teams.
For a quick link, click here.
All monetary transactions between a participant or family and a parish or school program are handled on the local level. Since CYM does not collect money from individuals, we can not offer refunds to participants or families. If you have any questions, please see your child's coach or the parish/school Athletic Association President.
The CYM office does not collect money from individuals for any sports program. Instead, individual families pay a fee through the parish or school on whose team a young person will participate. That parish or school is then billed by CYM based on the number of teams in a particular season. All transactions, including refunds, are handled on the parish level. If you have a question, please contact your child's coach or the parish/school Athletic Association President.
The answer is yes, and no. The user name can be the same for all members of a family (coach and participants). Every person in the online registration system, however, requires a separate password since the information contained in each record is unique to that coach or participant.
The user name is generally the email addressed identified as the primary family email address in Step One. An automated email is sent to this address once a month reminding users of their user name and password in an attempt to keep down the number of phone calls to the CYM office requesting this information. If you do not receive a reminder each month, please add cyminfo - at - cymsignup - dot - org.
If you live outside of the boundaries of the Diocese, but are registered and participate in a Catholic parish that is inside the boundaries of the Diocese than your child would be eligible to participate in CYM sports.
No, but please keep in mind that at times your child will be encourage to participate in activities, such as prayers or Mass that are specifically Catholic.
Parish and school leaders who have been trained to use the Pastoral Cross may make a request in the event of a young person person's death. The cross may also be used in the event that an adult who is influential in the lives of young people (teacher, youth ministry volunteer, or coach) passes away. The person who has died should be from the parish or school community to which the person belonged.
The Pastoral Cross is a physical resource that was developed to help a parish community cope with the death of a young person or an adult who was influential in the lives of young people (teacher, youth ministry volunteer, etc) within a parish. It is beautiful hollow cross constructed of wood and glass sitting about 4 feet tall. Trained parish leaders can lead young people in the community through a prayer service in which prayers can be placed in the cross creating a symbol of the Resurrection in which young people are humbly reminded that Jesus is our source for all our healing and hope. The Pilgrimage Cross is a ten foot solid wood cross that has been traveling to the parishes of the diocese since 2009. Each year on Palm Saturday the Pilgrimage Cross returns to the city of Wilmington where it is carried through the streets by the young people of the diocese in a day-long Pilgrimage. Parishes and schools are encouraged to request and use the cross throughout the year.
In order to obtain the correct ratio of young people to cleared adults you should follow the following guidelines:
- Two cleared adutls per the initial seven youth for 8th grade and below
- Two cleared adults per the initial 10 high school youth
- One cleared adult per additional 10 youth in all age groups
- Events like school or parish dances, however, have separate guidelines and regulations, which can be in the related document below.
During the fall, CYM offers cheerleading, cross country, football, soccer and volleyball. During the winter, CYM offers boys basketball, girls basketball and wrestling During the spring, CYM offers baseball, softball and track & field. There are many general and sport specific rules that govern the CYM athletic program and they can be found at http://www.cdowcym.org/WIP/SectionNine/SectionNineUpdated.pdf.
The Diocese of Wilmington takes the safety of young people very seriously.
In response to the Charter for the Protection of Children, published in 2002 by the United States Bishops, diocesan officials created "For the Sake of God’s Children." This documents is the Diocese of Wilmington policy concerning adults that work with children such as volunteers in youth ministry, volunteers in Catholic schools and adults that volunteer to coach in the CYM athletic program. This document outline in detail expectations and requirements that include background checks, signing volunteer covenants and minimum number of cleared adults needed when children are present.
Complaints about coach should be first filed with the Athletic Association leadership of the parish/school. If not resolved at the Athletic Association, the complaint should be directed to the pastor of the parish. In the case of private Catholic schools (ie Mt. Aviat Academy, Nativity Prep, Serviam Academy, St. Edmond Academy, Ursuline Academy), the complaint should be directed to the principal of school. Complaints can also be filed with the Office for Catholic Youth Ministry at firstname.lastname@example.org however CYM staff reserves the right to return the issue back to the parish/school first.
No – assignment to a parish are made by the CYM office through the online registration. After completing the online registration, the CYM office will assign a parish school know as a “Primary Affiliation” based on CYM rules. Primary factors include where is the family registered as parish members, where does the child attend religious education classes or where does the child attend Catholic school. If the child is not Catholic and does not attend a Catholic school.
There are two ways to evaluate your ministry for effectiveness.
One of the easiest ways to get a snapshot of your current ministry and identify areas for growth is to complete the Youth Ministry Grid. Use the following process to identify your current programs and potential resources.
The other way, required by all parishes once every four years, is the Youth Ministry Effectiveness Tool. This resource asks 100 questions of a youth ministry leadership team to help gauge the effectiveness of a parish's relationship with young people.
Clear expectations and consistent communication are important. In addition, consider the following opportunities for your volunteers:
- A Youth Ministry Access subscription for your parish or school, giving adults access to journal articles, training tools, and more
- National Certificate in Youth Ministry Studies, hosted by CYM to give professional training to youth ministry personnel
- The document below gives 100 ideas of how to support and encourage your volunteers in their ministry efforts
Renewing the Vision is the Framework for Comprehensive Youth Ministry, as presented and published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 1997. It is the guiding force for youth ministry in the United States today and serves as the framework for this document. According to Renewing the Vision youth ministry is: Drawing youth into the adventure of discipleship. Helping youth to make the right connections. Growing young disciples. Responding to the needs and including the gifts of youth. Seeing youth as gifted and growing. Seeing parents as partners. Seeing our parish as ready and able to respond to youth. Seeing the wider community as collaborators and resources. Seeing youth ministry as a relationship, not just a program. Investing in youth with our time, attention and resources. To read the document, click here.
In the old model (i.e., “youth group model”), youth ministry was often an oasis from parents. Today youth ministry is a support, partner and resource for families. A Coordinator of Youth Ministry is just that, a coordinator of ministries to, with, by and for young people. He or she facilitates the gifts of the entire parish in organizing and empowering the community to minister to and with young people with the advice, input, and assistance of the YMLC. The youth group model was consistent with the needs of the young people—in the past or today. Programs were established first and then people in the parish were invited to participate. But programs are made for people; people are not made for the programs. Therefore, comprehensive youth ministry recognizes the changing needs and life situations of young people and their families. If your parish were to chose to use a "cookie cutter" model of ministry, you could still be doing good ministry with young people, but you would have several populations of young people in your parish who needs were not being met.
Once upon a time the youth minister relied on a few steady volunteers who were constantly present. With the advent of the Youth Ministry Leadership Committee (YMLC), many adults representing the multiple facets of parish gather at the same table to discuss ideas, plan for responding to the needs of young people, and strategize ways to best engage young people in the life of the parish. Each member of the team brings a unique perspective and a special giftedness to the table, and is an essential part of a parish’s relationship with the young people within its ranks. This model of youth ministry help to prevent burnout of your coordinator and also ensures you are meeting a greater variety of the needs of the young people in your parish.
Effective communication can be a valuable tool for adult leaders in ministry. Young people communicate constantly with one another; they are more tied to technology than any generation in history. If adult leaders are to adequately engage young people in the life, mission, and ministry of the Church, we must also communicate with them and with each other, consistently and appropriately.
For complete details of CYM's current Technology policies and guidelines, see the related document below.
Finding and selecting appropriate adult drivers is essential to youth ministries "on the go" scheduling. Competent, responsible, mature adults are in great demand. Drivers for youth ministry activities, events, programs, retreats, etc. must be responsible adults at least 25 years of age. For complete details of the FSGC rules and regulations, see the related documents below.
And, please, remember to give an orientation to all your volunteers so expectations are clear.
If you have a situation when two cleared adults are not in the same vicinity for a fixed period of time (i.e., young people assisting in the youth ministry/parish office when other parish staff are not present) you should keep doors to office/meeting rooms/storage rooms open. You should make sure that someone knows when the people arrive and leave the building and this arrangement should always be cleared with the young person's parents.
The best policy, however, is to always have two cleared adults for ministry settings.
If a young person is attending an off site event (away from the parish grounds) an event specific Form B consent and release form is required for every young person. If you are holding an on-site event you which lasts less than 6 hours you can use the Annual Consent and Release form. A young person may attend one on site event without having submitted this form.
See Commonly Used Forms for a complete listing of forms.
Good communication can solve most issues in ministry.
Establish a policy with young people and parents that early drop off put you and your volunteers in a difficult situation and that all parents should stay long enough to make sure two cleared adults are present. If a parent drops off a child and you are the only adult, request that they stay until one of your chaperones arrives. If you are unable to arrange for another adult to join you, you could have the child stand at the door and act as a greeter, waiting for other adults and young people to arrive.
Plan ahead and communicate your expectations often.
No, you would not need to be concerned about meeting FSGC guidelines in this instance because each child would have their sponsor as their own personal chaperone. A consent form would still need to be signed, with the understanding that the sponsor is responsible for chaperoning their Confirmation candidate on the retreat.
Ask yourself this question: am I acting as a neighbor or as a youth minister? Be reasonable. Driving a neighbor's child to and from an event is a reasonable act, unless en route you plan to stop to shop or run other errands in your capacity as a youth minister. Communicate with your neighbor. Be clear in your expectations and in what you agree to do.
Above all, drive as you would want your own children to drive. Young people learn from watching adults.
It is in the best interest of both you as an adult and the young person to have another adult stay with you while you wait for the to parent to arrive. When a tardy parent does arrive, explain the need to arrive on time for pick up.
It is important to have both male and female chaperones if you have a mixed group of young people to best meet FSGC guidelines. Your male and female mix of chaperones will come in handy when its time to check the bathrooms or minister to a girl or boy with specific needs. More importantly, adults serve as a model of appropriate faith formation and behavior for young people so be sure to provide men and women as examples to your youth.
For more details on chaperones, see the related document below.
The Volunteer Covenant should be signed annually by all adults in ministry.
The Volunteer Covenant presents adult leaders in ministry with general guidelines of acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. It is not exhaustive in nature. To be cleared for service, every adult leader must have completed a Volunteer Covenant each year. These signed documents must be kept on file with the FSGC compliance officer for your parish or school and must be available upon request to the diocesan auditor. After a new covenant is signed, the previous year’s covenants should be shredded.
Parish leadership is encouraged to share the responsibility for oversight of covenants, though it is not inappropriate for one parent to sign one covenant in several areas of ministry. In fact, this allows all those leaders to be clear in their expectations of adult volunteers.
Youth Ministry leaders often become trusted individuals in the lives of young people, but it is important to remember that as a leader you must always maintain appropriate boundaries. When a young person approaches you to talk privately, you should always remember to do so in a manner that respects FSGC, which means in open view of another adult or in a room that has window or open door. If they should say that they can only talk to you "if your promise not to tell anyone" your response should be that you care for them, are concerned for them, and would like to hear what they have to say, but that if you feel their safety or well being is in jeopardy that it is your responsibly to help them.
Youth Ministers, Religious Educators, teachers, catechists, and other volunteers can offer no guarantee of confidentiality. In the eyes of the law, such a guarantee does not exist.
Communication and training among your adult volunteers is crucial. So is communication to and with your teens. Young people expect clear guidelines and expectations from adults. As agents of the Church, you must provide it.
Form A and Form B both expressly forbid the use or presence of alcohol - by young people or adults - at youth ministry events. If alcohol or drug use is discovered or suspected, please follow the guidelines for sending a young person home, found below.
Adult leaders in ministry must communicate the moral and legal ramifications of “sexting” to the young people they serve as well as their parents. Sexting (a combination of the words sex and texting) is the act of sending sexually explicit messages or photos electronically, primarily between cell phones. Because this is a relatively new activity, there are not many laws pertaining directly to sexting. But the laws on child pornography in our nation are clear, and when nude photos of minors are electronically distributed, whether over the Internet or via cell phone transmission, senders and recipients are potentially looking at serious penalties, including jail time and felony charges. Parents who provide cell phones to their young people are potentially liable in such cases, depending on state laws, evidence and other factors.
For complete details on CYM's policies regarding technology, see the related document below.
First, plan ahead to avoid this nightmare!
If you have a significant amount of young people who are ready to participate in the event than you should recruit non-cleared adults (parents) to stay with you and help you facilitate the event, however you should ensure that at no time these young people are left unsupervised with uncleared adults. If you only have a small number of young people who have come to participate in the event than you should consider calling the parents, explaining the situation and having the young people be picked up.
The best practice is to always clear adults who will spend significant amounts of time with young people.
That being said, it is not always necessary for a speaker or presenter to have a background check or complete the FSGC clearance process, as long as that person will always be in the presence of the required number of volunteers and will be involved with your program for a limited amount of time. However, it is always advisable to use a speaker/presenter who has gotten a background check.
Any adult wishing to volunteer for any Youth Ministry or serve as a chaperone for an event must first complete the FSGC clearance process, which includes a background check and a Volunteer Covenant. We would also suggest you train all of your volunteers on the parish level before you use them as volunteer with your programs.