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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.

14th Annual Orthodox Camp and Youth Workers' Conference Meets in Dallas

Over 80 clergy and lay youth and camp workers gathered in Dallas, TX for this year's Orthodox Camp and Youth Workers' Conference. This annual conference is sponsored by the Orthodox Christian Camp Association and the leaders of all the different jurisdiction's youth departments. The Orthodox Church in America hosted at their Saint Seraphim's Cathedral here in Dallas. There was a large delegation representing camping and youth ministry from the Antiochian Archdiocese led by His Grace Bishop Thomas.

2016 Special Olympics Volunteer and Coaching Applications Available

Special Olympics campers and staff at the VillageSpecial Olympics campers and staff at the VillageThe 2016 Special Olympics Sports Camp is scheduled to be held at the Antiochian Village August 12-21, 2016. This ministry is sponsored by the North American Council of Teen SOYO, and is the second longest running program of Special Olympics Pennsylvania, serving approximately 175 campers each season. It is the premier SOYO outreach program, now in its 35th year of service. Each year SOYO teens raise the funds on Special Olympics Awareness Day.

In addition to the funds raised, SOYO teens provide at least half the coaching staff, and many adult volunteers participate as well. The Very Rev. Dr. Joseph Purpura, chair of the Department of Youth Ministry, has announced that the 2016 Special Olympic Coaches Application is now available for those youth who are interested in working at the Sports Camp. Additionally, for adults over twenty years of age, the Special Olympics Volunteer application is posted as well.

Youth Update: CrossRoad 2016 Applications Available Now

The Very Rev. Dr. Joseph F. Purpura, chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministry for the Archdiocese, alerts all high school juniors & seniors who may be interested in applying to a 10-day summer program at Hellenic College Holy Cross, that CrossRoad 2016 Applications are available now! CrossRoad is a ten-day academic summer institute that prepares high school juniors and seniors to make big life decisions and connect with the Orthodox Christian theological and spiritual tradition. Hosted on the scenic Hellenic College Holy Cross campus, overlooking the beautiful Boston skyline, participants experience daily worship, visit local parishes, tour Boston, and spend a day at the beach.

Priority application deadline is February 1, 2016. Visit the website to learn more: http://www.crossroadinstitute.org/.

SOYO Metropolitan Philip Youth Worker Scholarships Awarded to Six People

Our youth are our future: the Metropolitan Philip Youth Worker ScholarshipsOur youth are our future: the Metropolitan Philip Youth Worker ScholarshipsWith the blessing of Metropolitan Joseph, the first six SOYO Metropolitan Philip Youth Worker Scholarships have been awarded to the following six people, each in the amount of $800, for the 2015-2016 Academic year. Five of the six recipients are studying in the St. Stephens Youth Ministry Concentration working towards a Master Degree in Applied Orthodox Theology with a concentration in Youth Ministry (more information available here) and oneGregory Abdalahis working on his Doctor of Ministry Degree at St. Vladimir’s Seminary.

All six of these recipients are members of a parish in the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America and all of them are currently doing youth ministry work on the parish and or diocesan level.

Special Olympics Awareness Day 2015

The third Sunday of October, October 18, 2015 is Special Olympics Awareness Day (SOAD) across our Archdiocese. On Sunday, October 18th, your teen group, or if you have none, your designated representatives, are asked to seek the financial help of your parishioners in funding the Special Olympics Sports Camp to be held at the Antiochian Village in the summer of 2015. This ministry is run by and sponsored by the North American Council of Teen SOYO. Our teens work very hard for this ministry and rely on the generosity and support of the faithful of our Archdiocese and the Order of St. Ignatius.

This past August our Special Olympics ministry was our largest program ever, with 327 Special Olympic athletes and coaches participating. Our teen SOYO coaches and volunteers ministered exceptionally well this summer. We thank you for the extraordinary young women and men you sent to serve at our Special Olympics sports camp. You are welcome to view the hundreds of photos from this year's Special Olympics camp to get a glimpse into this beautiful Christ-centered ministry performed by our young people.

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Department of Youth News Archive

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