We are here to serve. Below are a few questions that have been coming up often. Please always feel free to contact us to discuss specific situations!
What’s the plan going forward after these first few weeks of ministry?
- Life Teen is tentatively going to take a “3 week on, 2 week off” structure. Having 3 consecutive weeks of Hub Homes or a Life Night series gives us enough time to unpack a specific topic and develop quality conversation as teens get to know each other and feel more comfortable. Taking 2 weeks off between each series will give our Core Team a chance to plan and prepare (this approach to ministry requires MUCH more effort to prepare), while giving teens a 2 week gap from interaction to limit any potential spread of Covid as well as a fresh opportunity to jump into a new Hub Home.
- Edge is planning on an “every other week” approach. This offers 14 days between each in-person meeting as well as extended time for our Core Team to prepare. On the “off” weeks when there won’t be an Edge Night at the church, our Core Team will do Driveway Drop Offs where they bring a small snack to the home of each registered youth in the program. They’ll ring the doorbell sometime between 6:30-7:30pm so they have a chance to say ‘hello’ for a few moments to those who answer as a way to stay connected and receive a quick in-person visit.
How will Covid impact Fall retreat/event opportunities?
We’re continuing to explore creative options on how to offer these important experiences to teens in a safe environment. Because the circumstances are adjusting frequently, we want to remain flexible and monitor multiple factors before moving forward in these larger scale plans. At current, there are no large events on our calendars.
- For Life Teen, we are looking towards an in-town retreat option to decrease cost as well as offer a “sleep at home” option for families who prefer that. We’re looking at other parishes with flexible space as well as even large AirBnB rentals. At current, the Diocese of Phoenix is operating from Phase 1 which limits group sizes to 10. Phase II will tentatively increase those group sizes to 50. At current, there is no indication of when that move might happen. We will not move forward with scheduling a retreat until that move happens, and retreat won’t take place less than 1 month after that move. (eg. If the move to Phase 2 were announced on Sept. 1, retreat will occur no sooner than Oct. 1).
- For Edge, like Life Teen, no plans will be made while the Diocese remains in Phase 1. We are in communication with Jake’s Unlimited about what adaptations they may be able to make in terms of scheduling another XLT Lock-In. Jake’s Unlimited is temporarily closed for operation at this time. Additional options may include an on-property Lock-In or day retreat.
Registering for Life Teen/Edge includes financial incentives like retreat/event discounts, how will Covid impact those?
Our desire in ministry is always to be financially accountable to the well-being of families as well as the parish at large. We never have a plan to make a profit from registrations, only to account for the actual costs of what it takes to make quality ministry happen. We are continually discussing and discerning what we can do in that department. At current, if incentives for fall retreats/events are not able to be utilized, we intend to create new opportunities for those discounts to be used (eg. Offering a new discount for the Steubenville Conference, offering a larger discount for Edge Camp, etc.) We’re also looking into options to add additional efforts to both ministries, like resources & care packages delivered to your home to help your teen continue to feel connected to the ministry. As a parish, every ministry has taken adjustments to our individual budgets and we are working hard to account for new and unforeseen costs.
If I register my son/daughter and then decide not to participate in ministry, can I receive a refund? If my son/daughter only wants to participate some of the ministry opportunities, is there a reduced cost?
We are unable to provide refunds should families decide to change their registration or ministry involvement. It is our hope that families consider registration as their buy-in of the whole ministry effort so we want to avoid an a la carte approach to our payment structure. (We never want to get to a point where we charge an individual price to attend each Life Night or Edge Night.) We are committed as a ministry to offering both an in-person and an online option for ministry. While our registration form asks for a family’s preference between in-person and online ministry, no teen is ever limited from switching between the two options. We invite families to take their decisions week by week in terms of how they participate.
Additionally, we never restrict any teen’s participate based on their registration status. A teen is welcome to try out a few ministry nights before making a decision about registering. We want to be a ministry where teens encounter something that they value and are encouraged to invite others to participate. We trust families to register and financially support the ministry their son/daughter receives on their own which is why we offer incentives to register instead of penalties for not registering.
How has Covid impacted Safe Environment aspects of ministry?
- Every small group includes 2 adults with Safe Environment Training per the Diocese of Phoenix. Whether at the parish or in homes, small groups never happen in “private” rooms and will always be held where additional adults are able to observe, overhear, or easily pop-in.
- Ministry leaders do not maintain private online communication with youth. We utilize a ministry cell phone and Instagram Social Media accounts that are shared by multiple staff members & Core members. We also group texting apps like GroupMe, & Flocknote to communicate with minors.
- All online ministry is recorded, and files retained by parish staff to ensure appropriate behavior and dialogue is being maintained.
- All teens participating in online ministry are required to use a web cam so that we can do our best to ensure participants are who they claim to be.
- Adult ministry leaders are not permitted to transport teens (including to/from Hub Homes).
We’re committed to working with you through this. You’ll always be able to find all of our most up to date info on our parish web pages, including specific Covid procedures and accommodations for each ministry event. www.sttimothymesa.org/lifeteen or www.sttimothymesa.org/edge We’re also always happy to do our best to accommodate individual meets ups with teens. Let us know if you’d like one of our Youth Ministers or Core Leaders to swing by to say hello & chat in your driveway or on your front patio with your teen!