Who, What, Why and How… The scheme in more detail.
Who is this for?
The scheme is, primarily, for ages Y6 –Y11.
It is envisaged that schools and parishes will use the material incrementally with groups based on local demographics. That is to say, even though a participant may wish to aim for the gold award, the local school or parish may encourage them to aim for the silver in a given year so that they may then have something to work towards in the years ahead.
Baptism is not necessary but some expression of faith and interest in being involved in a faith community is desirable.
The award should link together home, parish and school. At its best the award will link parish and school as both institutions need to be involved for the young person to achieve the higher awards.
Why should we run the award? What are the benefits of this award?
At this point you might be thinking this all sounds good but we have a lot of other things going on in our school and parish. Why add more to the mix? The answer, of course, is that the scheme serves as a tool to evangelise.
To evangelise is the mission statement of the Diocese: ‘to take the good news to all creation’. By participating in the award we are simply following the last command of the Lord.
But just imagine how fantastic it would be to have hundreds of young people around the Diocese all doing acts of service in the community? And more than that, they are doing these acts of service as a visible expression of their faith.
Furthermore, as this is a National Award that will be offered in other Dioceses across the country we may very well be doing our young people a disservice if we do not offer them the opportunity to be involved.
From a school’s point of view the award has the potential to make a significant, positive and valuable contribution to ‘The Catholic Life of the School’ by:
Demonstrating the value of, and respect for, the Catholic tradition
Communicating a clear understanding of the mission of the Church
Highlighting the vibrancy of the ‘Catholic Life of the School’
What do we do?
As group leader in a parish or school you would need to identify young people to be involved in the scheme.
Those young people would then engage in acts of service in their community and reflect on those acts of service in the light of the teaching of the Church.
The award level is based on the type and amount of service performed.
The type of service performed can be as varied as the community in which the young person lives.
Examples could include:
Involvement in school Mass/Collective Worship
Fundraising – Cafod, Nugent care
Engagement with school chaplaincy
Reading, Serving, Ministering at Mass
Assisting at a coffee morning
Visiting a care home
At the moment, then, it might seem like the award is another version of the Duke of Edinburgh. But what separates this from the DofE is as the year goes on we would ask the young people involved in their acts of service to reflect on why they are acting in this way and what the results of their actions might be through four 90 minute reflection points based on the Pastoral Cycle of see-judge-act.
These reflection points are vital as they allow the young person to act and then reflect on that action. Our actions will then in turn change through this reflection.
At the end of the year the young people will be asked to show how their thoughts might have changed by completing a final piece of work that shows how they have engaged with their work and service and how the reflection points have allowed them to grow in their relationship with God and neighbour.
Who is the award run by?
The award is run by the Diocese but is moderated nationally to allow all participating Dioceses to have a fair system of assessment.
This means any group (school or parish) that wants to be involved must be registered with the Diocese before starting the award.
How long does it take to complete the award?
It is recommended that the programme should commence around September and final pieces and hours completed by the following May/June.
The awards ceremony will then be after the summer break.