Workshop on Small RE Programs, July 11-17

As an act of shameless self-promotion, I’m posting the following announcement for a workshop I’ll be leading this sumer. Please pass this along to anyone who might be interested.

Running a small religious education (RE) program can be challenging, but it can also offer unique rewards for children, teens, and adult volunteers. This week-long workshop will help participants unlock the potential of small programs. The workshop is aimed at RE Committee members, Sunday school teachers, concerned parents, DREs, and ministers. The workshop will benefit small churches with small programs, larger churches that run small mixed-age programs (e.g., summer programs, programs during low-attendance worship services), “one-room schoolhouse” programs, and churches that don’t have an RE program right now but want to start one.

Topics to be covered include: working with small mixed-age groups of children, finding curriculum for small programs, working with tiny youth groups, motivating volunteers, finding classroom space, administering your program, marketing on a low budget, and figuring out what to do when your program grows (or shrinks). If you are trying to run a program with between 0 and 25 young people, this workshop will have something for you!

This week-long program will take place from Sat., July 11, through Fri., July 17, as part of Religious Education Week at Ferry Beach Conference Center in Saco, Maine. Visit the Ferry Beach Web site for cost; for the least inexpensive option, you can camp in Ferry Beach’s beautiful campsite and cook your own meals.

Rev. Dan Harper, the workshop leader, knows and loves small RE programs. Dan served as a Director of Religious Education in a small church Sunday school that tripled in size during his tenure. He currently serves as a parish minister in a small church with a growing Sunday school. Dan was also the interim religious educator at the Church of the Larger Fellowship, where he developed resources for tiny church schools and isolated UU families.

2 thoughts on “Workshop on Small RE Programs, July 11-17

  1. Donald

    You will be at Ferry Beach for RE week???

    Awesome — can’t wait to see you at the beach.

    I was doing a little internet research on RE programs since I was just drafted to fill a vacancy on the RE committee and the board.

    We are looking into summer programming — any advice/resources?

    Donald Whisenhunt
    First Unitarian Society Schenectady

  2. Dan

    Donald @ 1 — You write: “We are looking into summer programming — any advice/resources?”

    I’ve posted many of the summer ecoadventures that I did with kids at Ferry Beach over the past three summers, including both narrative descriptions and full lesson plans. They are tagged EcoAdventures (click that link to see ’em all).

    Also, see if you can find two books by Steve van Matre, Acclimatizing and Acclimatization — I’ve mined both books for summer RE activities.

    Finally, our church here in New Bedford is planning to do a biosphere activity in Sunday school in April and May. We are already planning to make quart-sized sealed ecosystems, based on a project in Make magazine from last year. I plan to post lesson plans from that here on this blog starting in April — if I forget, just email me and I’ll make sure to get them to you.

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