We begin every Confirmation Boot Camp by laying out our expectations. We spend time discussing respect and what that means, though, without fail, we end up having to remind at least one person (sometimes not so gently).
KJ, my colleague in these adventure, divides the students up into color-coded groups. We draw from a few different school systems, and she spends time making sure they’re mixed up a bit. Day 1 is their chance to settle in a bit, so we do a few teambuilders (which I find far more fun as a leader than as a participant).
We also talked about the Bible today and why it’s important. Giving a group of Catholic kids a Bible quiz to test their knowledge is always simultaneously amusing and embarrassing. This group was no different, even though a handful had had me in 5th grade, the year we worked on books of the Bible all. year. long.
But part of what this is about is meeting kids where they are. I can’t overhaul the entire Catholic religious educational system in my own parish, much less in the world. What I can do is plant the seeds God puts in my hands and try to be the instrument (however imperfect) that the Holy Spirit uses.
One of the notable things we did was give each group a pile of dry spaghetti noodles and a bunch of marshmallows. KJ built a contraption out of noodles and marshmallows prior to the session. Each group chose a person to go into the other room to look at it.
The group had to build a copy of the contraption KJ had built, but there was a catch: the person who had seen it couldn’t use their hands; they could only communicate with their voices. After about seven minutes, we let a second person go over and take a ten second look (and then that person couldn’t use their hands either).
In the end, two of the four groups came pretty close. The conversation afterward was about how you know who to trust and how different people have different ways of describing and hearing. There are a lot of people who try to tell us how to build our lives: careers, school, beliefs, everything. What’s your foundation? How do you know who and what to believe?
Tomorrow’s “Jesus Day.”
Note: I’m not promoting anything in these posts. I’m telling you what we use because it’s what works for us.