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The Department of Youth and Parish Ministries supports and integrates the whole spectrum of archdiocesan programs for youth, including the Camping Program, Teen SOYO, and Campus Ministry. This department also works closely with the Fellowship of St. John the Divine, whose mission-while not directed solely at youth-resonates closely with the objectives of this department. Although all of these programs together encompass a broad range of activity and age groups, all share the same goal: to encourage full participation in the life of the Church through worship, witness, service, and fellowship. This department trains youth leaders, organizes events, provides consultation for youth leaders and pastors across the archdiocese, maintains youth-related data and a cache of ministry resources, and oversees programs such as the Bible Bowl and the Oratorical Festival.

The Department of Youth and Parish Ministries webpage has information and links that are intended to be broadly informative for young people, youth leaders, pastors, and parents. Visitors looking for more specific information on the Camping Program, Teen SOYO, Campus Ministry, or the Fellowship of St. John the Divine are encouraged to visit their respective web pages for a complete picture of what each has to offer. Go HERE to sign up for the Department's email list server.

Summer Memories, Spiritual Growth: Sign Up Your Child for Camp!

Even while winter is still bringing snow and rain, summer camp registration for Antiochian Village is open, and spots are filling up quickly, with 925 campers already registered. Notes the Village Facebook page, "...keep in mind that last year, most sessions were full by the end of February, so make sure you register right away!" After a session is full, parents can phone the Village's office at 724-238-9565, to be added to the Wait List. Those new to Antiochian Village must set up a family account online before calling the office to be added to the List. 

In addition to the camping experience provided by Antiochian Village, there are seven regional camps all over the United States and Canada, serving hundreds of children throughout the summer. The Department of Camping explains that each program is overseen, "to insure that the highest safety guidelines are followed, a consistent program is presented at all of our camps, accreditation is maintained, and oversees the distribution of the Order of St. Ignatius Scholarships to each camp." (Find the list and more information here.)

Contact the The Order of Ignatius to learn about schoalrships for camp.

Youth Workers Meet at Antiochian Village, Announce New Events

Youth workers representing Orthodox jurisdictions from across the country met at Antiochian Village on January 22, 2015, and are excited to announce a new series of unprecedented, inter-jurisdictional "Be the Bee" themed events. "Be the Bee" is a popular weekly video podcast hosted by Steven Christoforou, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese's Youth Protection/Parish Ministries Coordinator.

Orthodox youth and young adults are invited to a series of monthly, day-long retreats. Each month, from August 2015 to May 2016, "Be the Bee" will be visiting a different city across the United States, offering Orthodox youth an opportunity to worship, learn, and have fun together. Retreats will also offer programs for young adults, parents, and youth workers. For more information, please contact the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese at y2am@goarch.org.

Additionally, Orthodox teens and parents are also invited to a "Be the Bee" retreat Veteran's Day weekend next year, November 11-13, 2016. It will be held at Camp Nazareth, in the Pittsburgh area, and will offer a unique, multi-day "Be the Bee" experience. For more information, please contact campnazareth@acrod.org.

Youth workers are also invited to next year's Orthodox Youth Workers and Camp Conference, to be held January 28-30, 2016. For more information, please contact the Orthodox Church in America's Chair for the Department of Youth, Youth Adult, and Campus Ministry, Andrew Boyd, at aboyd@oca.org.

February 8 is National Scout Sunday

The Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting, an endorsed agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, released the following letter announcing this year's annual recognition of Scouting programs.

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

On Sunday, February 8, 2015, Scouts all over the United States will celebrate National Scout Sunday. Scout Sunday is an annual event among all faiths which recognize the good work that is done by Scouts in our religious communities. The observance of Scout Sunday tradition was started years ago to make people in the church aware of Scouting, and to allow Scouts to live out of what is pledged each week, The Scout Law says that a "Scout is Reverent" and the Scouts of all ages promise to do their "Duty to God". These values strengthen youth character in their family, community and faith. That is why this Sunday is set aside to honor God and to remind us that we are all His Creatures and made in His Image or more precisely - to image (reflect) Him to the world.

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishop of the Americas has designated this also as Orthodox Scout Sunday. Through the Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting [EOCS], the Assembly and its predecessor, SCOBA, have been actively supporting both the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of the USA since the 1960's.

OCCHY Offers Videos on Substance Abuse Prevention

The Antiochian Archdiocese's Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth (OCCHY) is a unique national alliance founded and supported by the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries of the Archdiocese. The ministry focuses on establishing, training and leading substance abuse prevention and intervention coalitions across America.

On May 22, 2014,  OCCHY's active Cicero, Illinois Coalition hosted a Town Hall Meeting for parents and teens, titled "Underage Alcohol & Substance Prevention." Sponsored by the federal government's Substance Abuse & Mental Health Service Administration, the meeting featured law enforcement and mental health professionals, who presented talks about how to ensure safety and sobriety for teens. The presentations are available on YouTube and may be viewed on OCCHY's website.

Bishop Thomas Lists Youth and Education Resources

His Grace Bishop Thomas has reminded the faithful of several important resources for youth.

1. 2015 Orthodox Christian Camp and Youth Worker Conference 
The theme is "Walking Alongside Our Youth" and the keynote addresses will be delivered by Fr. Bogdan Bucur and Dr. Stefanie Yazge. More details will follow. We will also be posting this information to the Orthodox Christian Camping Association.

2. In addition, there will be a College Retreat the weekend of Orthodoxy Sunday, February 27—March 1, 2015. The topic is "Standing at the Foot of the Cross and the speakers are Fr. Anthony Yazge, Marek Simon, & Chris Shadid. Please register online at www.avcamp.org.

Department of Youth News Archive

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