Hello! My name is Ryan. Along with producing the marketing for NCYC, I am helping to bring for the first time a delegation from the Diocese of San Jose to NCYC in Long Beach, CA. I am excited to introduce this amazing experience to my local community, but I know that this journey will be equally full of challenges and joys. For my fellow new leaders who may be uncertain about bringing young people to NCYC, here are 5 things I have learned that are essential in making NCYC happen in your neck of the woods.
#1 Know Your Purpose
Why am I bringing young people to NCYC? Our larger purpose is always to bring young people to an encounter with Christ. Without this purpose in mind, planning becomes mundane. A lot of times it is better to think about how young people will journey toward an encounter with Christ instead of what bus company you will choose. Your purpose will help you find meaning in the smaller tasks.
Your purpose will also help you identify what is realistic for your delegation. For first timers, it may be best to focus on introducing your local community to NCYC which means you probably should not be as concerned with numbers. Instead, you would want to focus on personally inviting young people and adults who will be invigorated to bring others to NCYC in the coming years.
#2 Know Your Needs and Wants
Trying to do too much will be the death of you. Always start with the basics and then, if you have room, think about the extras. We know you might want to have the cool branded merchandise or multiple follow up sessions before and after NCYC, but sometimes it is okay to keep it simple. Focus on the NCYC experience first and let the extras come naturally. We hope that this year will not be the only year that you come to NCYC. Use what you learn to build on the basics for the future!
A basic NCYC delegation will need travel to and from the conference, hotel accommodations, registrations, chaperones, and food. All of these will be covered in our future blogs.
#3 What is My Budget?
When a minister first thinks about taking young people to NCYC, their first thought is how am I going to afford this? On top of that, how are young people going to pay for it? There are a ton of expenses that come into factor and even some that you may have never anticipated.
Try your best to budget wisely. It takes about $400-$600 to bring one young person to go to NCYC, and this includes only the basics. Although some families can afford this, try to have your community help each other out. Although trying to break even is the goal, you may thank yourself later when you ask young people to help other young people by adding a $5-$10 charge to the fee. For ideas on how to raise money, check out our blog on fundraising here.
We’re not all accountants here, so remember to focus on the ministry and know that God will be there with you. Remember to get help from parents who may have this as their charism.
#4 Get Help
Just like anything else in ministry, you cannot do it alone! Enable ministers, parents, and young people in your community to take on some of the work like fundraising and marketing. This will not only help your efforts but will also create a culture of peer ministry and NCYC in your community. Also, try to collaborate with other ministers who are also bringing a delegation. They might have great resources or infrastructure that you can use, especially if they have a similar community to yours.
In my experience, people are always willing to help. Sometimes, all you have to do is ask. Are there adults in your community who would be willing to chaperone? Or other adults who might be willing to oversee registrations?
The NFCYM Staff and our members are here to help! Many of us have been to multiple NCYCs and would be happy to pass on some of our experiences. Get in contact with us by emailing [email protected].
#5 The Lord is with You!
Let’s face it, NCYC is a daunting task to take on. As many logistics there are, there is a whole lot more of God in it all. Yes, there will be ups and downs, but know that the Spirit is working. The mission of NCYC is to invite participants to encounter Christ, experience church, and be empowered for discipleship, so remember that and keep to it.
What inspires me is how NCYC is put together every single year. From tiny meetings and small tasks behind the scenes, a giant conference of thousands of young people somehow is produced successfully with thousands of young people encountering Christ again or even for the first time.
Words of wisdom: Do your best and let God do the rest!