Who has invested the most in you? Can you think of someone who saw potential in you, who took time and effort to help you grow? Is there someone you can think of who was instrumental in helping you achieve?
For me, it was my church youth leaders and my Guiders. From the age of ten or eleven I was helping in the crèche at church, and I was a Pack Leader (now called Brownie Helpers) in the Brownie unit I had been attending. From that point on I was always involved in junior leadership both in church and in Guiding, and by the time I was eighteen I was qualified to run a Brownie unit. I had also gained valuable leadership skills (even if they weren’t the most exciting) like first aid, risk assessment and being able to keep the attention of a room full of children to run an activity.
In both contexts, I was trained and mentored whilst I developed the skills I needed to become a youth worker. I’m certain that I would not be in youth ministry now if not for a few key people who encouraged and inspired me, often spotting qualities in me that I could not see in myself.
Phase are blessed in that we already have motivated, passionate and gifted young people who use their time and abilities to support us and enable us to do more than the staff and volunteers have capacity to do. More than that, they see the world in a different light and often come up with ideas that we simply would not have thought of. Molly is a shining example – just take a look at her recent blog – but there are so many others who already support us in a variety of ways and we are always looking for the potential in others that we work with.
We want to recognise their commitment, develop them as individuals and leaders and give them a head start in the things they choose to do as adults - so in January we will be piloting the Phase Ambassadors programme. The programme will be open to any senior school-aged young person, with the opportunity to tailor the programme to their own gifts and passions and to increase the complexity and responsibility of the tasks they undertake as they develop as young leaders.
These young volunteers will bless Phase immensely, but there are also benefits for them. Volunteering, responsibility and acting as a role model are proven protective factors to improve wellbeing and increase resilience – and we hope that they will have a lot of fun, too. We will recognise our young leaders at our Phase celebration each autumn, and they will follow a structured and adaptable programme enabling them to demonstrate their experience to future employers and educators.
So, can you think of a potential Phase Pioneer (years 7-9), Phase Champion (year 10 and 11) or Phase Ambassador (sixth form)? Are you a young person yourself, who would like to get involved? Send us an email with name and email address to Ambassadors (firstname.lastname@example.org) to register interest – we would love to hear from you.