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Starting a Teen SOYO

Starting a Teen SOYO

By Gabriel Sarah

This article is copied from Youthworker: Resources for Orthodox Youth Work, a special DVD collection of articles and more available from the Department of Youth Ministry.


Hey there Teens, how's it going? Well, I have been approached by many people saying; "we want a SOYO, but we just do not know where to start" or "I don't think we have enough teens for a SOYO." Well, I have come up with a solution to that problem. Follow the steps in this packet, and you will have a SOYO up and running in no time at all.

Step 1: There is this magic word we have all heard of, and I am sure you know the definition. That magic word is "initiative" and someone has to posses it. If one teen or even the parish priest takes the initiative to take the first SOYO step, then a chapter is easily attainable.

Step 2: Once someone has taken the initiative, this is your first job: Create a list of the names, ages, addresses, and telephone numbers of each and every teen in your church. Whether they show up once a year, or twice a week, EVERY TEEN should be on this list.

Step 3: Plan one meeting, preferably after church. Set the meeting 3 weeks in advance. When the date of the meeting is established, mail out a letter to all of teens expressing your interest in starting a SOYO chapter, and telling them when the date is. Then, give them a call one-week later to make sure everyone got the letter. Ask them if they are coming, and if not, ask them why they are not coming, and if they could make it to something else. Then, call everyone again on the Friday before the Sunday that the meeting is scheduled. Make sure they are coming, encourage participation, and make it come across as a fun activity.

Step 4: At the meeting, the first thing you need to do is give your organization some structure. Elect some officers, even if temporarily. Set up meeting times, and locations of meetings. If only a few people show up, do not be discouraged. My SOYO in Tucson has 6 actives, and we have plenty of stuff to do. Also, think of one fundraiser to work on immediately. This can depend on the time of year it is. If it is near the Nativity, sell Christmas ornaments, or offer to wrap presents for a minimal cost. If it is near the Super Bowl, sell Super Bowl Sub Sandwiches, and if it is near Pascha, sell flowers, home-made chocolate, or anything else you can think of. This is a good way to start.

Step 5: After this first fundraiser, you should have some sense of "togetherness." Please, put all petty arguments aside, and just get along. FIND A WAY! You then need to schedule some retreat or church-related activity; i.e., lock-in or question-and-answer session with your priest. A good activity will combine both fun and "serious" activities. Do not neglect the fact that SOYO can help you grow spiritually. It is not a social group. This is SOYO, not a fraternity or sorority.

Step 6: Make your presence known; place your meeting times in the bulletin, and place flyers somewhere in your church. Ask others in the church how SOYO can help them, and offer to clean an elderly persons yard or some time of philanthropical activity like that. HELP OUT!!

Step 7: By now, you should have two feet to stand on, and have your organization in order. Now, you should just keep things going. DO NOT GET SIDE TRACKED!!!!!





From this month's edition of The Word

Healing Broken Communities

First National Conference on Orthodox Schools Confirms Yearning to Promote Christian Learning Environment

From Conciliar Press

No Life in Second Life: Orthodoxy's Problem with Virtual Reality

Stepping-Stones to Faith: Nurturing Orthodox Christian Virtues in Your Children

From the Department of Youth Ministries

A Vision on Youth Ministry

Our Youth Need You

The Youth-Friendly Parish

HELP! A Survival Guide for Orthodox Youth Advisors

SOYO In My Life: Developing Leaders for Today and Tomorrow

Starting a Teen SOYO

Starting an Orthodox Campus Fellowship