Central cultivates Good Soil

by Captain Willie DeJesus

November 2012

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The territorial youth department has launched The Good Soil Initiative (GSI), a new program to deploy youth development coordinators in select corps throughout the Midwest. The goal is to have 60 youth development coordinators trained and placed in strategic locations in the next six years to work with youth in their development and service to their community.

Youth development coordinators will work with youth, neighborhood organizations, parents, teachers, corps leaders and other interested individuals to provide healthy and safe communities; opportunities to learn, discover and practice love for God and neighbors; and to obtain needed skills to participate in family life, corps, neighborhood, state and country.

GSI will provide for youth development coordinators to be resourced and developed through ongoing training and support at the annual Developing Youth Leaders Seminar in February which also is open to all fulltime youth workers in the territory.

The first four youth coordinators selected to participate in the Good Soil Initiative are Courtney Grau at the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Corps (Heartland Division), Ryan Read at the Racine, Wis., Corps (Wisconsin and Upper Michigan Division), Kelly Summit at the North Platte, Neb., Corps (Western Division) and Melinda Willenborg at the Mattoon, Ill., Corps (Midland Division).

The initial training includes youth development principles and practice, mentoring practices, faith development, quality youth program elements, and youth culture.

"The Good Soil Initiative appealed to me for so many reasons, but most importantly it is my heart, my passion to be an effective youth leader for Christ," said Ryan Read. "The training has given me numerous tools to obtain that goal. Jesus commanded us ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,' (Matthew 28:19, NAS). Youth are a nation, correct?"

Persons interested in becoming a youth development coordinator must have a bachelor's or associate's degree with a minimum of two years experience in progressively responsible youth development work, or an equivalent combination of education, training or experience. They may apply for the Good Soil Initiative through their corps officer.

Corps interested in having a youth development coordinator should contact their divisional youth secretary.




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