ministers would probably agree that while their job is rewarding,
it can also be overwhelming – a classic example of
‘underpaid and overworked,’ if it’s not in fact a volunteer
position. Every parish seems to have that generous person who
dedicates their time and talent to youth formation, but most
of them could use a helping hand.
Enter Challenge and Conquest.
national office has been working on tailoring the program for
parish youth ministry, which has been enthusiastically received by pastors,
youth ministers, and DRES around the country.
“This program is ready-made
and helps youth ministers and DREs to get teens involved
as leaders,” explains Conquest National Director Todd Brechbill. “We are
becoming a recognizable name and a viable option, especially for
those parishes that do not have a paid youth minister
or DRE and are operating with volunteers.”
80% of Challenge and Conquest
clubs are now sponsored by parishes as parish youth ministry,
and it seems that the program is finding its niche
in the new materials: the national office reports a 10%
overall growth this year – the first such growth in
Todd explains that much of the growth is due
to an effort to go beyond Legionaries and Regnum Christi
members, and offer the program as an option for parishes
to purchase and run on their own.
office just finished a 2-month ‘marketing blitz,’ during which they
ran an email campaign and made around 90 calls a
week, trying to get the word out to pastors and
youth ministers and build awareness of what Challenge and Conquest
can offer to parishes. Thanks to the blitz,
15 parishes started up this spring. Challenge and Conquest also
made a showing at the National Conference for Catholic
Youth Ministers in November, where they were presented alongside other
programs as an option for parish ministry.
The Challenge and Conquest
office is excited that the program is both growing, and
meeting a need in parishes. There are now about 6200
youth participating in 216 clubs; they are spread across 61
dioceses in the US, 9 provinces in Canada, New Zealand,
Australia, and the Philippines. There were also 51 Challenge and
Conquest summer camps in 2012, and at least as
many are expected this summer.
forward to a strong year,” says Todd Brechbill. “To making
sure that Challenge and Conquest continue to build and serve
Mother Church and reach more kids!”