At the launch were SDBs, Salesian Cooperators, leaders of Salesian projects and young animators. The overall aims of the new formation programme are:
• to train all our new animators in Salesian spirituality with ongoing sessions at all stages;
• to offer opportunities for personal growth at each stage;
• to create pathways that each have different focus and time commitment respecting the stage that individuals are at in their own professional field;
• to provide several First Encounter opportunities for young people aged 12-17;
• to create a smoother transition from youth to animator;
The programme was warmly welcomed by those who attended. As animators will now be making an annual commitment to the mission, we were able to hold our first commissioning service during Mass on the Saturday evening. The companions of youth ministry will be mentoring and training our younger animators and we hope that the first encounter experiences bring many young people through the formation. I look forward to seeing young people more easily accessing the path into becoming a Salesian animator and part of our Salesian Family here in the GBR province.
The five stages defined:
First Encounter is a way into meeting the Salesians through and national events or projects like local a youth group or national youth gather. The age group we are targeting would be 14+. There is no commitment from the young people at this stage.
Moving On is a path that leads into curiosity and desire to engage with us; opportunities open at this stage include RISE, Young Animator Programme, Youth Easter or leadership roles at the local level.
Animator is the beginning of more formal formation for those 18+ who feel called to serve the young in the Salesian Family. Here our young adults will learn more about the ethos and spirituality under which our mission lies. Those on this path will receive formation on topics such as safeguarding, Don Bosco’s preventive system, and youth work skills. There will be opportunities and commitments with a commissioning to mission annually.
Invitation to Leadership rises out of the Animators but is not a static role: when not called to leadership all our animators will be active in the Animator stage. We are all Animators wherever we are called to serve. While on this path, the leaders will have formation on subjects such as conflict management, finances, and spirituality.
The final path leads the experienced animators back into service of the young adults.
Companions are so called after the relationship between Don Cafasso and Don Bosco. These adults will be called upon to lead workshops or sessions and perhaps take on the Mamma Margaret role in our projects. They will mentor new leaders, reflect upon the Salesian charism and be invited to reflect on their own further involvement with the wider Salesian Family.
Salesian Youth Ministry GBR Animator