Every two months the whole Youth Development Community (YDC) meets. Typically the Community Gatherings replace a Weekly Meeting. When that happens, instead of a Weekly Meeting, the sub-communities of Abide and Lions of Judah meet together along with their families. Extended family, and any key people like a teacher, are invited to attend too.
We like to replace a Weekly Meeting, instead of adding another day of activity, because family life is busy and we want to avoid over loading families. Occasionally, however, holding a Community Gathering is better on a different day other than having it on the day of the weekly meeting. An individual YDC can determine why they might need to choose a different day. One reason could be that the activity a YDC wants to do requires more time than a weekly meeting offers. For example, if the weekly meeting is on Thursday evenings, but the YDC wants to have a picnic, they might cancel the meeting that week and move it to Saturday and extend the gathering time from two hours to four or five hours.
The following describes the purpose and goals of having Community Gatherings:
- Building Community Connections: In order to be a community we have to know each other. Community Gatherings provides opportunities for the people to know each other. However, these connection opportunities go beyond just knowing the names of the other people. (If you remember way back in the beginning of this booklet to the concepts around the Philosophy of Community, we learned about the value an engaged population of people have on the vitality of a community). In addition to knowing each other we also have an opportunity to be tuned-in to what Abide and Lions of Judah have been learning, important discussions on upcoming events, activities, and the direction the YDC is moving in.
- Social Recreation: We want Community Gatherings to be more than a meeting! We want these opportunities to be a way to have fun together and live life with each other. Talent shows, game nights, hikes, picnics, movie nights, art projects, music recitals, sports, and many other activities should be the way we view the space we are creating through Community Gatherings.
- Outreach Introductions: As people enjoy and experience the benefits of being involved in a YDC, the Community Gathering serves as a great way to invite others to get a sample of what this community is about. Out there in the world there are potential families, youth, and people who have the heart to be mentors, who don’t know what we are building through the YDC. An invitation to a Community Gathering is a more personable way to introduce FamilyWorks and the YDC than handing them a brochure.