Facing Your Fears as a Youth Leader

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 17.34.22Guest Post By Chloe Perrin. Volunteer Youth Worker, Musical Theatre Tutor and Youth Charity Trustee.

 

About three years ago, I was sat in an office telling my Supervisor that I’d love to do a gap year with the local Youth For Christ centre, provided that I only had to do background stuff like admin. Not, under any circumstance, did I want to come into contact with any actual front of house youth work or young person of any sort.

One year later I was wearing a sumo suit while flinging myself at one of said young people in an attempt to knock them out of the circle in a sumo fight to end all sumo fights.

Granted, I’m a young youth worker (only been in the business three years) but I feel I have a bit of authority on the subject of conquering fears, considering that my fear was one of the biggest and most ridiculous fear that can hinder any other youth worker of any age: I was terrified of teenagers.

Now, before you laugh, I think we can all agree that teenagers can be flipping scary. They decide what (and who) is cool this year, half of them think they’re smarter than they are and the other half are smarter than you so don’t even try. They can be scathing and have the ability to make you question every life choice you have ever made with one sarcastic comment.

All that said, those are also the reasons why we love them so much.

Whatever it is, be it young people themselves or something entirely different, every single youth worker in the world has fears, and those fears, no matter how big or small, have the capacity to block us from doing truly amazing work with young people. Here are some of the simple ways I managed to face my fears as a youth worker:

 1. Don’t pretend you’re not scared.

Look at that massive pile of admin you need to do, all those emails you need to send, all those kids waiting to hear the Bible study masterpiece that you’re presenting. How easy would it be if we could just close our eyes and those things would vanish in a puff of smoke?

You can stare at those emails while your heart plummets and mutter “I love emails so much” over and over all you want, but it’s not true. Acting like you love giving bible studies while you’re shaking with fear won’t work either – young people can smell a rat from a mile away.

Just remember when you’re facing these situations that no one important is expecting you to love every aspect of your job. And if your job is upfront youth ministry, no teenager will ever think less of you for being nervous – quite the opposite! If anything, it makes you human, and they’ll appreciate that more than anything.

Be upfront with your colleagues. Be honest about what scares you. Hidden situations only get worse.

2. Do what you need to do (within reason).

Step back. Take a breath. Ask yourself, what will make this situation less terrifying? For me, it was knowing that I had other more experienced youth workers with me, and I could take a few minutes in the back room if it got too much.

This is easier with some things than others. For example, if you need to take breaks between each email to stuff your face with chocolate then do it! Think you might need to call someone up you trust to help you through some admin? Do it!

If you need to ask for help, do it. Needing help doesn’t make you weak. There’s a reason God created more than one human. We’re not meant to go it alone.

3. JUST DO IT (Shia La Beouf voice)

My last piece of advice would be, NEVER let the fear stop you. There’s a part of me that still fills with fear when a new young person enters the room and I have to go and welcome them, but I never regret it when I do.

Who wants to look back on their time as a youth worker and see a list of things they never tried, or gave up on too early? The Bible isn’t made up of stories of people who would have but didn’t. It is, however, made up of stories of people who were scared but did it anyway, because God was with them.

And that’s the most important part (surprise). God’s with you. Anything good you do hasn’t actually been done by you anyway. God did it through you. It works the other way too; if you have Jesus at the centre of everything you do as a youth worker, then it won’t matter if you mess up; God meant for that, too. God doesn’t just use our triumphs, he does wonders with our failures too.

 

Of course, there is so much more to learn about conquering fears, but hopefully you’ll appreciate these little drops of advice.

Now I’m off to go swing a pair of orange-filled tights around my head around for the entertainment of my truly brilliant young people.

 

About Chloe

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 17.34.22Chloe Perrin is a twenty two year old Christian who’s been doing youth work with Youth For Christ since her Gap Year, which has been going on about three years now!

When not doing youth work, she is a musical theatre tutor for children aged five to eighteen (keeps her fit!), and has lived in North Wales since she was born, and will continue to live here until they kick her out.

She also plays the saxophone but saves that for parties.

You can find her at any Comic-Con in the country, and her life ambition is to dress in cosplay more than in her regular clothes.

PA Hacks For The Mobile Youth Worker

We already know that Youth Workers are often expected to be all things to all people – and one of those things is ‘expert PA engineer.’

Making sound work for a variety of events and projects in an increasingly multi-media-driven generation is important. Making it work simply is the nightmare! Add to this that the Youth Worker on the go needs to be mobile, needs to get things setup quickly and really needs sound to just work first time, every time.

Rapid, mobile, versatile with plug-and-play usability is the mantra for the Youth Worker PA tool kit! This isn’t a post to compare the very best in large rigs for events and bands (borrow one from your local school!). This is a post of recommendations for small, simple and mobile solutions for the Youth Worker that needs to travel, setup and use multi-media regularly.

There are loads of mobile options for PA Hacks out there – I’m going to give you three.

The Bluetooth Speaker

I travel with a Bluetooth Speaker that is powerful enough to fill a room with about 50 people absorbing the sound. I’ve used it outdoors for a festival seminar with my mobile phone, and for projected cinema nights from my laptop. Every week this travels with me in my laptop bag alongside a travel projector for youth clubs and school assemblies.

Which one?

You need to find the right balance between small and quality. The smaller you go the worse the sound will be, and the larger you go the less battery features and portability it will have. A basic rule of thumb is you need just two internal drivers (speakers) with at least 3 inch diameters. Don’t believe the hype of smaller units boasting big sounds (and charging big bucks for them!). Physics is physics – go and listen to them yourself.

I spent a month researching and testing many speakers including LG, Bose, Philips, Samsung and JVC.

5052449745948_280_IDShot_3I settled on a low budget 10w version made by Polaroid which is far louder and clearer than the many high end versions, including the high branded sound bars. It’s at ASDA for £40.00 – follow the link, but there’s a new version in store!

It’s well made, has good connectivity and a quality, loud sound for it’s size. It doesn’t overdo the bass (like its many other modern counterparts), and it doesn’t sound thin or tinny at high volumes. It will distort/peak in certain frequencies when turned right up, but for that you need a mobile PA/Combo Amp which we’ll look at next.

The Compact Acoustic Combo Amp

These little amps are portable amp+speaker units that you can carry with one hand and usually give you a couple of high quality channels. I think they are the frequently overlooked but absoltuely ideal option for most venues and uses. I use mine for live sound and music, plugging in a guitar and microphone, or two microphones simultaneously. It easily fills medium to large venues and can be plugged into a bigger PA if needed.

You’re better with an acoustic amp rather than an electric guitar or keyboard amp as they will alter the frequencies and ‘colour’ the sound. An acoustic amp gives you hi fi – or full spectrum – transparent sound, so things will sound the way they’re supposed to!

Which one?

It’s worth saying up front that they are a bit pricey, but – in my opinion – worth every penny!

Review-AER-Compact-60-3-Acoustic-AmpI use the AER Compact 60 III. Largely considered one of the best acoustic amps in the world. It is easily better sounding and louder than most PA systems that I run across in churches and schools. The AER gives you 2 XLR channels (so 2 microphones), one of which doubles us as a jack (guitar/keys/laptop etc.). I use this every week for leading worship, talks and quizzes. It easily fills large venues and is clear enough to cut through a full band.

The AER also has line outs for extra speakers, DI out for the PA and a basic – but very usable – reverb and EQ feature. Although down in price, now at £749 it will cost you. They also make a battery powered version at £1175. Both of these come with padded cases. I spent an extra £30 on mine to get a fold away stand to lift it off the floor and angle it upwards.

previewFor a slightly cheaper option to the AER with many of the same features, but a bit of compromise in sound quality, consider the Tanglewood T6. This comes in at £395 with 2 very usable channels, a reasonable reverb, DI out and padded bag.

It also has a couple of features the AER doesn’t: An AUX in and a top hat socket underneath so it can be mounted on a speaker stand. Great for a budget!

one8wwodhr-875x875If you need high sound quality, but more channels then consider writing to the Italian company ACUS for a ACUS ONE 5, 6, 8 or 10. These are small units with amazing build quality and a sound to (almost) rival the German AER. However, they come with more channels, outputs and better reverb.

Ranging from £300 – £1000 they give you far more options too. You can effectively run a full band from it and have it still remain mobile. The ACUS ONE 8 would be my pick for the best balance of features and affordability at £595.

Mobile PA System

The final step up is the mobile PA system. This again needs to fit in your car boot, be easy to transport on foot and quick to set up – however, with the extra versatility of separate speakers and more channels. It’s worth saying up front though that none of these options will give you the clarity of mobile sound that the AER or the ACUS amps will provide.

We have a seldom used mobile PA that comes out if we need a few more channels. It tends to compliment the acoustic amp rather than replace it though. If we need a big sound – we go straight for a big PA… but that’s not what this post is about!

Which one?

J06817000000000-00-500x500One of the best for mobility and sound quality is the Fender Passport. There are a few different options, but the Event model gives you 4 XLR channels and a few other ins & outs. They are built with high quality clip on speakers to make it easy to carry. This is a great model to throw in the car and will happy hosting most medium sized events. The Fender Passport ranges from £265 – £604 – with the Event model coming in at £468.

Other than this you can check out simple and affordable models from JBL, Yamaha or Kam – but honestly I think it’s a better investment to get a decent combo amp and beg/steal/borrow/hire bigger PAs when you need them.

What do you use?

We’d love to hear about your PA solutions for and effective sound! Comment or get involved with the facebook page and let us know! www.facebook.com/youthworkhacks

How God Could Have Sent The Message

We’re kicking off our advent season tonight looking at Mary – The message comes.

The main thing we want to get across is the shock and the familiarity of God using a teenage girl.

The shock – because it’s weird and surprising! God could have chosen a billion different more secure ways than this adolescent girl!

The familiarity – because it’s what God does! He uses the surprising, the small seeming and the ordinary to do extraordinary things!

We wondered what would happen if God didn’t send a teenage virgin – and explored other options to fix the nonsense in the world.

So we threw this ‘high budget,’ three minute, total cheese intro video together to kick things off – How God Could Have Done It!

Which ‘The Simpsons’ Youth Worker Are You?

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How To Help Your Young People Eat The Bible!

Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 22.35.39
“Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts.” [Jeremiah 15:16]

We gotta get our young people eating the Word – lapping it up like a McD Big Tasty with extra special sauce!

Here are six important posts that tackle this head on:

  1. www.youthworkhacks.com/opening-up-the-bible/ – Video cast on an easy interpretation & exegesis tool
  2. www.youthworkhacks.com/first-question-youth-bible-studies/ – Nailing the first question every time
  3. www.youthworkhacks.com/6-ways-train-teenagers-read-bibles/ – 6 killer ways to help them read it themselves
  4. www.youthworkhacks.com/youth-bible-study-techniques/ – Easy study techniques that make awesome studies that are out of the box
  5. www.youthworkhacks.com/youthworker-bible-walk-bar/ – Getting their hearts to burn for The Word
  6. www.youthworkhacks.com/bible-young-people-stephen-hale/ – Great quote to end!

 

So … You want to set up a youth cafe?

Great to have another post on Premier Youth Work blog this week. This time I was talking about the immensely popular ‘Youth Cafe’ project, how to make it work, and why you might not want one.

Check it out here: http://www.premieryouthwork.com/Read/Youthwork-Blog/So-you-want-to-set-up-a-youth-cafe