Before You Start
As soon as your program is scheduled, prepare a calendar with the dates for each session. Look through the entire curriculum to get an idea of how it moves and which parts you wish to use. Look for activities, especially Faith in Action activities, which need assistance from other adults in your congregation, and note them on the calendar so you can schedule them well in advance. Post your calendar in your shared meeting space, and duplicate it for leaders, youth and families. If possible, make it available electronically.
Communication with parents and families enriches Riddle and Mystery and strengthens its impact. Keep everyone informed of what you are doing by postcard, email or in person. Establish a regular way to distribute Taking It Home – on paper or by email. Share your enthusiasm for Riddle and Mystery with youth as well as with their families.
Decide how you will present WCUU to the group. You want to engage youth input—especially if the group includes skilled artists, musicians, videographers or video editors—but, you will not be able to support every idea participants have for a studio broadcast. Before the first session, research your access to cameras, microphones and other equipment and the availability of adults or older youth with the skills to assist in actual videotaping editing for later viewing. Think, too, about where you can store technical equipment and reusable studio materials between sessions, and how long it will take to set up and “break down” the studio each time the group meets. Will you have a reliable group of volunteers who can do this work before and after each session? Present realistic opportunities and parameters at the first discussion.
If you plan to use the alternate activity “Song,” collect enough hymnbooks for at least every pair in the group. Keep these in your meeting space, if possible, so you do not need to gather them before every session. If the congregation is short on hymnbooks, purchasing copies of Singing the Living Tradition or Singing the Journey might be a good fundraising goal for a youth group.
Extraordinary Advance Planning and Special Materials
Though most activities call for materials that are readily available, a few require special materials or advance planning. Several suggest the use of a computer with Internet access. If this is not feasible, leave yourself enough time to access websites and print out material before the session.