Updated: Apr 18
For the first time in three years, the annual Youth Leadership Training Convention was held in person in Southbridge, MA, January 13-15, 2023. “The goal is to provide tools to our ministry leaders so they can be better equipped to support the different ministries, whether it's Adventurers, Pathfinders, medical cadets, AYS [Adventist Youth Society], or Sabbath school,” say Glorimar Teixeira, volunteer master guide and training coordinator for Adventist Youth Ministry at the Southern New England Conference.
Youth leaders and future youth leaders may ask, “Why should I attend this event?” Teixeira answers, “Because this is where the experts are!”
Attendees learned how to manage children with mental health diagnoses, why it’s crucial to comply with the Adventist Child Protection Screening process, how to take their leadership to the next level and move beyond doing the same activities over and over, how to mentor and empower young people to take over leadership roles, and much more.
“I didn't expect it to be so wonderful,” said Karlene Toolan from the Connecticut Valley Adventist church. “It was my first time doing this training in person.” In the AYS track, she learned that Sabbath school is intended to be the core of the church. “It has a high impact. Now I know I really have to be more on time [when I teach] and take it seriously.”
Although this event is designed to train youth leaders, youth also were trained in leadership, with the Teen Leadership Training (TLT) class presented by Pathfinder area coordinator for Connecticut, Herminio Guevara. “We planted the idea that, with the leading of the Holy Spirit, they are capable of coming up with an outreach program that can reach people who don't know Jesus Christ,” says Guevara. “They came up with some great projects that they can actually start with their church.”
The highest point of the weekend was the spiritual messages from Pastor Helvis Moody, director of youth and young adult ministry at the Southwestern Union, maintains Teixeira. “If we were not a Christian organization, I could point out many workshops that have been excellent, but ultimately we are here because we want to see young people saved,” said Teixeira.
“Next year don’t let someone tell you about it,” says Teixeira. “Be a part of what is happening!”