After many years of delays and distractions, I finally got the chance to meet the legendary St Bernadette’s Lifeteen Junior youth group at St Bernadette’s Parish in Castle Hill.
As I started making my way from the car I am greeted by coloured lights decorated outside. At the entrance of the hall there is a sign in desk where the youth leaders have a sign in app to keep track of the young people who are in attendance, the leadership group are sitting down in a circle analysing the schedule for the night.
I took the opportunity to have a chat with the youth leaders while we were waiting for the night to begin. Keegan O’Callaghan, a youth leader of St Bernadette’s youth group, stated that he is grateful for the past experiences that he received as a young person which motivated him to return to the youth group to assist the new generation of young people to receive similar youth ministry experiences.
The night starts off with James Hay, Youth Minister of St Bernadette’s youth group in the DJ seat playing some fast-paced music while the young people are involved in a high impact game of soccer. After 30 minutes of running around the hall we are welcomed by youth leader Natalie Jones who invites us to get into a circle to play our first icebreaker.
The first icebreaker we played is called down, down, down which is like the rugby clap and pass game. A bouncy ball is thrown from one person to another. If a person receiving the ball drops the ball they must get down on one knee, if the same person drops the ball again they are on two knees. Once a person is lying down flat on the floor they are eliminated. The winners of the game are the people who are standing once time is up.
The next game we played is reminiscent of the card game mafia. However, the cards are replaced by two plastic cups taped together where one of the combined cups has a bell placed inside of it. During each round while the music is playing, the group is interacting with each other to listen out to see if they can hear the bell. The winners of the game are the people who correctly accuse the person who has the bell inside of the cup.
The final game we played is called contagious, we wore highlighted fluoro vests and were split into four groups where we had to place pegs on our fluoro vests which defined the group we were in. The objective of the game is to get rid of all the pegs on your fluoro vest as the group with less pegs at the end of each round wins.
At the conclusion of the final game, we sat on stage and listened to Joshua Formosa, one of the youth leaders at St Bernadette’s youth group shares about the importance of love and as Christians we are called to love everybody that we encounter in our lives. Little did we know that the previous game we played linked to the talk as the game symbolises that we give and receive love at the same time.
After receiving some announcements and final prayer. The group return to playing soccer while they are waiting for their parents to pick them up.
A special thank you to the team at St Bernadette’s youth group in Castle Hill for a grateful experience that will stay in my mind for some time.
Below the details for St Bernadette’s parish youth group are as follows:
Youth name: St Bernadette’s parish Junior youth group (Years 6-8)
Address: 367 Old Northern Road
Weekly on Friday nights nights (St Bernadette’s youth group operates during the school term and takes a break during school holidays)
Written by Richie Leilua
Richie Leilua is the Youth Ministry Co Coordinator for the Youth Ministry Game Changers Program, He is a Lasallian Youth Minister at Oakhill College in Castle Hill and assists with the youth group in Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in Fairfield, NSW.