Wanderer Wednesday: Girl Power

First off, if you have not seen it yet, last weekend we launched our newest Year of Faith film. Reviews so far have been extremely positive for this film, and we really think it has wide appeal — with practicing Catholics, those who are not as close to the Church, young adults, teens and adults! There are great cameos by familiar faces, like Blaine Hechimovich and Gina Pignotti, who have inspired the teens of our Diocese for the better part of the last decade through various apostolates.

Second, it’s Friday. As a youth minister in our Diocese put it, it’s okay if Wanderer Wednesday wanders throughout the week. Inspiration can hit at any time — and sometimes things come up, like the incredible MDREO day yesterday on adult formation and the new evangelization.

Without further ado, this week’s Wanderer Wednesday is inspired by last weekend’s rEVOLution of Love event, where Vicki Thorn delivered the truth about the biology of the Theology of the Body. During her presentation, she delivered some lines and inspiration directed just at the high school ladies. She was encouraging them to be strong, bold and faithful women. On that note, the following are two resources to help you provide encouragement to the young women in your life.

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How to Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul by Jason and Chrystilina Evert
This book, written by a duo of rockstars on the topic of TOB for teens, is a powerful resource to have on hand for our young women. It puts relationships of young women in perspective, both to the plans the Lord has for their lives and to marriage. It encourages them to do things like find their bridesmaids before their grooms, quit rationalizing, grow a backbone and date with purpose. All messages young women need to hear.

Dove Real Beauty Sketches
Dove did it again. A few years back they demystified the evolution of a real woman in a photo shoot to the pages of a magazine. This time, they have broke open how differently women perceive themselves and how others do. It’s powerful. Please watch and share with the women — young and old — in your life. And, make sure to tell them the truth about how beautiful and valuable they are.

Wanderer Wednesday: Leadership Edition

Well. Today’s Friday. Our apologies for being another couple days late in giving you this week’s Wanderer Wednesday post. Again, it’s been worth the wait, mostly because the editor of this post was on a road trip to Berlin Wednesday night, where there were almost 50 folks at All Saint’s first youth group meeting! We all had a great time learning learning about hope and the virtues. As a bonus, feel free to download the handout we used, and share it along with the stories about the lives of the following saints. While you’re at it, highlight some of the following virtues they exemplify.

Saint Maria Goretti | purity, faith and forgiveness

Bl. Miguel Pro | passion, perserverance and standing up for the faith

Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati | detachment, service and commitment

Feel free to use the inspiration as you wish.

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Now onto the subject at hand. We’re bringing you some books this week that may help to build up you up as a professional and cultivate your leadership skills. (Sidebar | I’ve heard of a co-worker in a Parish in our Diocese who spends one hour, every day reading for professional development purposes. Any topic, any genre, but always something that will help her become better at what she does and more informed about the faith. What a great example?! It certainly takes discipline in the work day to set aside that time and make it happen, but what great benefits it would reap.)

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Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek ($12)
This book is a bit different from the three books that will follow, in that it does not focus specifically on the area of leadership. However, before we find ourselves in a place where we are leading others, we have to recruit folks to work with us. Here’s a taste of what the book offers —

By WHY I mean what is your purpose, cause or belief? WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care?

Think of it this way, you could invite people to be a catechist by telling them WHAT you do — try to control a rowdy group of 20 8th graders, work through lesson plans, administer assessments and teach the faith. Or, you could start inviting people to be a catechist by leading with the WHY — we inspire and engage the youth of the Church, so they can lead happier, holier lives and seek to change the world in the future; we form future saints; we engage in one of the most inspiring apostolates happening in this Parish. Obviously the details of WHAT the catechist does follows, but we surely do not have to lead with it. This book inspires the reader to think about how they share their message and mission — and encourages you to start with WHY. (As a bonus, they hold up Apple as an example of how a company implements this theory well. All Mac lovers — or those who know one — will appreciate it.)

Super Staff Supervision by Michael Brandwein ($25)
This book was created for leaders in the camp world to get the best out of their staff, but the principles can carry over well into working with volunteers or a staff in the Church setting. Michael Brandwein has been an inspiration for the Camp Gray staff for years, and his influence has helped so many young counselors develop into great staff members at Camp and beyond, as many of them have landed jobs coordinating apostolates in our Parishes. Highlights of this book include 6 Paths that every person you’re supervising should be following, including adding creative twists to programs and caring for kids’ safety, and very specific examples of what those good leaders say and do when they are leading activities and teaching. Michael is a master at behavior management and staff development. His books typically leave the reader bursting at the seams with good ideas and being ready to implement them!

First Break All the Rules by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman ($17 + Many used and in great condition for less on Amazon!)
My dad is a very talented, well respected business man who I really enjoy learning from on the topic of leadership development. He is GOOD at it, and while a lot of that skill has been developed naturally, he also has done his fair share of reading and studying on the topic. The number one book on the list he made for me this past year to read on the subject was this one. And, I have loved it. Again and again, it repeats the following mantra —

People don’t change that much.

Don’t waste time trying to put in what was left out.

Try to draw out what was left in.

That is hard enough.

A couple things that follow from that mantra are that you have to put significant time and effort in to find the right people for the job. And, once you have committed volunteers or staff, you have to use the strengths, passions and talents God has given them to help them do their job well. Easier said than done. Read the book. Enjoy the learning.

Strengths Finder 2.0 ($14) or Strengths Based Leadership ($16) by Tom Rath
One of these two books are used each summer in the formation of the Love Begins Here Core Team. Both of the books include a code to take the Strengths Finder Test (so make sure to not buy the books used). Upon taking the test and reading over your results, you will learn to see your top 5 strengths in the working world and learn how to develop them. Typically, the Core Team will use Strengths Finder 2.0, and the directors use Strengths Based Leadership. The first is an introduction to the individual strengths and the second deals with how to manage them. These books would be a very worthy investment for any catechist or member of your leadership team, or among co-workers — as long as you take the time to have conversations where you learn about the strengths and how to implement them.

The basic idea of these books, which follows from the wonderful First Break All the Rules, is that you have to let people be who they are. Everyone has strengths. You need to learn what they are and give them opportunities to use them. Only then will teams and leaders find success, especially in the area of helping their people develop and grow.

Wanderer Wednesday: Frugal for the win!

Wouldn’t it be nice to bring in the latest and greatest speakers on the circuit for the Catholic teens in each and every parish in the eleven counties of the Diocese? Yes.

Does any youth formation program in the Diocese have a budget with about $4,000 to drop on one of said speakers in a given year? Probably not.

In light of this predicament, today’s Wanderer Wednesday is going to feature how you can access content and inspiration from the best at your very own computer. (And, in light of this Wanderer Wednesday appearing on Thursday, there’s a BONUS resource included at the end of this post!)

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Jackie and Bobby’s Wedding Prep Blog
Jackie Francios (a talented, faithful speaker and musician will be a keynote at this fall’s NCYC [information about attending can be accessed right here on the blog]) is engaged. She and her fiance, Bobby, are documenting the journey to their wedding day on their blog. It includes a real testimony to the power and grace available to those who are willing to explore and live out the truth behind the teaching of the Theology of the Body. The only downfall is that the posts are sporadic, and it may not be worth your time to be constantly checking for new updates. On that note, please consult the resource below.

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Bloglovin’

If you are a regular blog reader or just getting into them, you realize how it can take up a lot of time checking the various blogs you like to read — and if you like to read many blogs, you could forget about some of them time to time and go weeks or months without checking them. To help, the website Bloglovin’ (with simple, compatible apps to use on the go!) is available! You simply create an account, search for the bogs you want to follow (if you can’t find it, manually add it!) and read away. Every time you go to your bloglovin’ homepage at your computer or by using an app on a mobile device, you can see the list of posts that are new since you last visited and mark when you have read them. (Sidebar: There is only one follower for Madison Catholic Youth, two for jackieandbobby.com and 34 for Whispers in the Loggia. Obviously, the Catholic crowd has been slow to reap the benefits of bloglovin’!)

Chris Stefanick’s YouTube
This faithful, dynamic and energizing speaker really knows how to break down what the Church teaches for his online audiences (and in person, if you ever get the chance to see him). Similar to Jackie and Bobby’s engagement blog, the only downfall is how randomly and rarely Chris posts, but knowing about this resource is a must. For a taste, watch the video posted yesterday on the topic of the difference between disagreeing and discriminating. Also similar to J+B, Chris is a master on sharing the truth about Theology of the Body with the masses.

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Read the Cat
Popular, humor rock Catholic musicians Dan Harms and Kyle Heimann of the group Popple have been reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church, along with their friend (and Kyle’s brother) Cory. While reading the Catechism at a rate of about 40 paragraphs at a time, they prepared weekly podcasts, about 10 minutes in length, to discuss and process what they had read. (Disclaimer: They made it through about 75% of the Catechism, and I’m not sure they are going to finish the series. What’s there would take a while to get through, so maybe they will start up again by the time you finish. Or, you may be so jazzed about it that you’ll finish the reading on your own.) This is a great resource to make use of during this Year of Faith!

Bonus: Just for the Youth Coordinators!
re:Build My Church
This is an archived, online set of talks given to Youth Ministers to help them grow in their work and seek out advice from some big names out there. After an initial preview of about a dozen of these videos, I would personally recommend about half of them. The video quality is not very great, some of the speakers’ dynamism doesn’t come across over the computer and I wish they would use a word other than ministry most of the time. On the list of whom to watch first, I would suggest Mark Hart, Bob Rice and Fr. Leo. Though, feel free to search around to see what topics stick out most to you and would be helpful to your work!