‘Interactive’ junior high rally planned

By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger

Organizers of the Junior High Youth Rally are planning a more interactive experience for this year’s event which will take place March 22 at Regina Education Center in Iowa City.

Celine Klosterman
Anna Hemann of Holy Family Parish in Fort Madison, Wendolyn Hannum and Emily Box of St. Mary Parish in West Point, and Charlie Schlicting of St. Ann Parish in Long Grove sing worship music at the 2014 Junior High Youth Rally. The 2015 rally will take place March 22 in Iowa City.

Breaking from the “old mold” of speech-based rallies, the 2015 Junior High Youth Rally will utilize team-building activities, games with a message, interactive groups and breakout sessions, said Don Boucher, diocesan coordinator of youth and young adult ministry. “There will be less sitting and more engagement.”

The event theme is “LLJD — Live Like Jesus Did.” Each segment of the rally will focus on praying, worshiping, serving or talking in a Christ-like way. Texas-based Project YM is facilitating the event with the help of diocesan youth ministers and the Diocesan Youth Ministry Committee (DYMC).

Tony Vasinda of Project YM will be a key presenter. He said the team does rallies a little differently by being so interactive, but the philosophy fits in perfectly with the vision that Boucher and diocesan youth leadership had in mind. Vasinda said, “Rather than just talking to the youth about prayer and service, these workshops will be focused on letting them spend time in prayer and service right in the middle of the rally.”

The service work will be done at the rally; youths will be able to pick which service experience they would like to perform. For the prayer segment, students will choose two of 10 prayer styles to try.

Vasinda said, “These hands-on sessions are perfect for middle school youth who crave hands-on experiences, but who also need help to unpack and integrate these experiences into daily life.”
Boucher said, “(Project YM) utilizes a fresh approach … they really ‘get’ junior high kids and their need for physical activity. They know how to tap into that while connecting it with a really good message about our faith.”

The event will start at 9:30 a.m. and conclude around 5 p.m. after a closing Mass with Bishop Martin Amos.

Youths may contact their parish’s director of religious education or youth ministry coordinator to register for the event. Cost is $28 per person by Feb. 25; $33 for late registration until March 12.

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