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PART 4. Small Group Meetings

AYC is not a program/activity-driven camp but it is a small group-driven camp. Small group is an important tool in AYC camp because one of the goals is having a strong relationship with Indigenous youth. Once we break the wall between us and Indigenous youth, they will start sharing their life and opening their heart to listen the story that we want to share – the Gospel.


Small group activity is also important because it is a great opportunity that we can find some talents that Indigenous youths have. We can encourage them to grow their talents and build a vision in their life.


Small group is not an activity that is done at the designated time but it is an event-long program that we will be doing throughout the 4 days during camp. All volunteers will be a small group leader, and small groups will be assigned based on dormitory room. Support team will let your room in the first day. Once youths arrive in the camp, small group leaders will start the registration for your small group members. Details about registration will be explained prior to the camp.


All volunteers will be asked to stay with small group members in entire camp including meal time, afternoon activity, and of course, during worship service. We highly recommend all volunteers to sleep in the same room with small group members if space is available, or at least stay in most of the time with them.


Small Group meetings will take place right after the worship service in the morning and in the evening. Small Groups are operated upon discretion of Small Group Leaders. This section offers a general guideline to running Small Group meetings however, it is not mandatory to follow all that is mentioned below, so long as the direction and the intention for your Small Group meetings align with AYC’s vision for the Small Group.


At the initial stage of your Small Group, using the Icebreaker Questions to get to know each other is recommended. Over the course of 5 Small Group meetings, spend time to get to know each other and find out about your Indigenous youths’ talents, and encourage them to use and grow their talents. After the Icebreaker time is over, there will be a sharing time. Sharing time topics must be prepared by the Small Group Leader based on the sermon from the worship service.


As mentioned in part 2, please do not force, or pressure the youths to share or answer questions, and do not force them to participate in the Small Group meeting. If they have poor and inactive participation, we recommend having conversations with them personally to inform them of the importance of sharing and participating as a part of the group instead of telling them in front of other members.


 

Here are some tips to lead the small groups


1. Set up your own goal and plan to lead the small group

Setting up your core goal and action plan in each day will help you to decide what to do with small group members. Action plan can be your own action or group activities. For example,


Day 1

  • Goal: Get to know each other

  • Small Group activity: ice breaker game to know each other

  • Leader’s action: On the first night, we usually focus on spending time to get to know each other. The Small Group Leader can decide on the introduction questions but be mindful of asking anything personal. Feel free to choose nicknames for the youths. If you do decide to give the youths nicknames, be wise about the nickname choice; avoid nicknames related to their physical appearance that may be mocking to them. Creating a team name exclusive to your Small Group is recommended. Use it to bond with your youths and make more personal connections with them. Taking a photo of each youth in the group with you will be asked from support team in the first day as well.

Day 2

  • Goal: Finding Indigenous youths’ interests (Observation)

  • Small group activity: During the Small Group meeting discussions and activities, find out what your Small Group members are interested in and what talents they have.


Day 3

  • Goal: Recognizing the talents the Indigenous youth have (Development)

  • Leader’s action: Take time to discover your small group member's skills and talents. Encourage them and support them to develop those talents further and use them to set goals in life. If you find that they have unique talents that they would like to share with others, challenge them to perform and show off their talent in front of others before the night worship. If you see any spiritual gifts in the youth, encourage them to use those gifts for the Kingdom of God and His great works. God made everyone unique and gifted them with different spiritual talents so that they could use those talents and gifts to glorify God.


2. Use Ice breaker

An ice breaker is an activity, question, or conversation starter used to initiate and facilitate interaction between people who may not know each other well or are meeting for the first time. The purpose of an ice breaker is to break down social barriers, encourage engagement, and create a more relaxed and comfortable atmosphere.


Ice breakers are commonly used in various settings, such as team-building exercises, workshops, conferences, training sessions, and social gatherings. They aim to foster a positive and inclusive environment, allowing participants to get to know each other, build rapport, and establish connections.


Ice breakers can take many forms, depending on the context and the goals of the activity. Some common types of ice breakers include:


  • Introduction activities: Participants introduce themselves by sharing their names, backgrounds, hobbies, or fun facts about themselves.

  • Group games or activities: These can involve team-based challenges, problem-solving tasks, or physical exercises designed to encourage collaboration and interaction.

  • Question-based ice breakers: Participants are asked thought-provoking or lighthearted questions that prompt discussion and allow individuals to share their opinions, experiences, or personal stories.

  • Ice breaker games: These may include word games, trivia quizzes, or guessing games that encourage friendly competition and engagement among participants.

The main objective of an ice breaker is to create a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, encourage conversation, and help people feel more comfortable and connected in social or professional settings.

We recommend each small group leaders to bring some ice breaker questions and activities for your small group meeting or afternoon activity time. But please make sure

  • Do not to bring any complicated games or questions requires long period of time. Small group discussion time is after worship and we will have about an hour. Please do not spend most of the time with ice breaker questions. Keep it simple

  • You can use your ice breaker questions or activities during the free time with your small groups

  • Do not bring questions that ask to share personal information especially family related questions (i.e., what is your good memory with your parents). This type of questions can be sensitive to some youth.


Please prepare your own ice breaker questions and activities. AYC also will bring many board games and other activity materials, we will set them up at dining hall during activity time. Here are some examples for ice breaker questions

  • What is your favorite outdoor activity or sport, and why?

  • If you could have any superpower, what would it be and how would you use it?

  • Share a fun fact about yourself that most people don't know.

  • If you could invite any three people (alive or historical) to a dinner party, who would they be and why?

  • What is your favorite song or artist and why do you love them?

  • If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want to have with you?

  • What is your dream job or career, and why are you interested in it?

  • Share one thing you're excited about or looking forward to in the upcoming camp.

  • If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and what would you do there?

Please do not push them to answer the question and allow them to pass if they hesitate to answer. Lastly, recommend you to answer first to start


3. Find out the main topic and share during the small group meeting

We will have small group meeting after the prayer time to share more and deeper. Small group leaders will decide the topic to share in the meeting and this topic should be based on the sermon from guest speakers in the worship service before the meeting.

Ministry team leader (Pastor John) will post the keyword on the board in the office right after the worship service as well, but small group leaders can also decide the topics if it is related.

Here are some popular keywords that we shared in small group meetings. Please prepare your testimony and bible verses related in their topics so you can use them during the small group meeting. You can also use Appendix 5 page for your information


Forgiveness, Grace, Love, Hope,

Encouragement, Healing, Identity, Vision, Jesus, Fear, Prayer


Please make sure

  • Do not teach or preach about this topic.

  • Share your testimony but do not spend most of the time for your testimony. Keep it short and simple but deep

  • Listen their sharing, do not push them to share.


4. Get supports from Indigenous youth / empowerment

Find out your small group members and gathering together is always challenging. Sometimes, you will spend most of your given time to find your youth. Although, they are in the small group meeting, they may not stay focus on the meeting and be very distracted.

We will have leaders from Indigenous group as well and you can always ask them to help you to lead the small group.


Youths listen and follow their own leaders because they already have better relationship with each other. Also, the testimony from indigenous youth is very powerful.


Some of the leaders are not Christian or still on training, however, please respect and encourage the Indigenous leaders.


One of the goals in AYC mission is to have Christian Indigenous leaders in their own nations and they lead their people to Jesus Christ.



 

As a small group leader, we also want to make sure all of the youths are stay safe and well while having fun during the camp. Here are some checklists that we want to ensure during the camp with small groups


1. First day at registration

  • Fill out the online registration form with each small group members. Make sure small group leaders are entering the information for them.

  • Take a selfie with each small group members with their name tag on it. Send the photos to aboriginalyouthcommunity@gmail.com

  • Check if all your Small Group members have received their nametags. If any of your small group members have not received a name tag, please notify the Support team

  • Check to see if all your Small Group members have brought a sleeping bag or a blanket.

  • Check to see if any Small Group members feel sick or are injured.


2. During the camp

  • During the camp, check to see if any of the small group members are feeling unwell or sick.

  • During the activity time in the afternoon, take the time to observe and ensure that there are no marginalized youths amongst the others.

  • If you find or hear any physical, verbal, or sextual violation, please report to Abuse Prevention Committee (leader: Pastor John Kim)


 

As mentioned earlier, AYC camp is small group-driven camp and this is the most important activity in 4 days. Here are the outcomes that we expect through small groups


1. Strong relationship with youth

Building a relationship with youth will help youth to open their mind to you and start sharing their life. This will allow us to get closer to them and start sharing about Jesus Christ.

There are some other tips to help building relationship

  • Call their name instead of “hey”, “yo”, “bro(ski)”.

  • Staying with them all the time. Do not mingle and having fun with other volunteers in your language

  • Do not share your age unless they ask you if you are over 30s. Many of their parents are in early-mid 30s. We often see them hesitating to share once they realize their leaders are their parents’ age.

  • Listen more than talk

  • Don’t judge

We do not want to push them but lead them to Jesus Christ. We want to encourage all volunteers to become a good Christian role model so you can lead by example.


2. Discover talent and vision

Some of the youth may not be in the environment where there are not many good adults who can help them to find the talent and encourage them to build a vision in their life. Some many have not had a good mentor in their life yet.


AYC camp and small group activity is a good opportunity to help to find their talent and vision together. Small group leaders can become a good mentor in their life.


3. Share Gospel

We do not want to push them to “know” the gospel, but, ultimately, we want them to “accept” Jesus Christ is a savior in their life.


By having good relationship with youth will let them to open to share their life and also will open their ear to listen. You will find the moment that you can introduce Jesus Christ and how he loves them so much. Tools we provided in appendix 3 could help you to share the gospel if you are unsure how to do it.


Once they are ready to accept Jesus Christ, bring them to the Altar Call time and pray for them. Also, we can always do the baptism if they are willing to do it. Please contact Ministry leader (Pastor John) if any of the youth wants to be baptized.


The moment to share the Gospel may not happen during the camp. Don’t be discouraged or being rushed to do during the camp. This could happen in their first camp but also happens over the camps. We do not ask that you must share the Gospel to every individual before camp ends, but we ask you to start the first step by being a good friend with them.


 

Lastly, here are two other important things that we want to be cautious as a small group leader


1. Do not teach or preach them. Do not force them to pray.

We have repeated asking this, do not push them. We do not want this AYC become another “residential school” type program. We must respect their culture and environment as we already know the tragic history of their ancestors


2. Be responsible if you are sharing your personal contact and SNS information with youth

After the camp, many of you will share your contact, especially the social media contact, such as Instagram or Facebook. We want to ask volunteers to consider the context when you are posting about your life on social media once you are connected with them. Having another account just for contact purpose can avoid any potential issues.

Since youths have your contact, they might reach out to you and might share prayer requests. Please share the requests to AYC leadership so we can also pass it to their own church leaders. You can pray for them but make sure your prayer is not the solution and ask them to reach out to their local pastors.

Sometimes, we see some youths are not going to their church anymore but connect with our volunteers and having prayer meeting or worship time together online. AYC respects all local pastors and ministries and strictly prohibits to have own church service with youth.

We also have seen some volunteers get messages or calls day and night from the youth, and sometimes volunteers being overwhelmed with it. Please do not make an effort to solve any issues by yourself but let the AYC leadership know.



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