The Contact Stage

In this stage we aim at contacting, making friends, and arousing the interest of the young people that we hope might join the new group. We want to discover young people who will be the leaders of the future. We want to invite them to a introductory meeting where they can learn more about YPD and decide if they would like to become active members of the movement.

As we prepare we remember Cardijn’s challenging words

“We must have faith in the value of the poor, in the capacity of every young worker to accept responsibility and take effective action. I dare to demand from you this unconditional faith.”

Method for the contact stage

1. Finalising a list of names

Probably (after all the work done in the Study Stage’) you now have quite a list of young people or groupings of young people. For example you may have found out that many young workers are working in the rubber plantations, that many migrant workers are living in one particular area of the town and that there are many children working at the local fire cracker factory You will have to decide on your priorities. Which of these groupings will you begin with?

It is no easy task to make these decisions. Some teams will opt to work with the group they know best or the group that will be easiest to organise. Some teams will try to mix too many groups of young people in one group. While there is no right answer to such problems, it is important that the team face them and make a clear decision.

2. Preparing for contact work

The only successful method of contacting young people is by visiting them and talking to them. Posters in the neighbourhood centre, or notices in churches or community centres will inform people that a group is about to start. However if we want members, we must go out and knock on doors If we prepare well we will probably find that it is a very fulfilling work.

How do you prepare? Here are three pointers:

  • Firstly it is good if you can warn people that they might be visited. This can by placing a notice in a convenient location where people are likely to see it.
  • Secondly clarify your motivation in visiting. The aims of the visitation are:

To make a friend. You have not come to sell anything but rather to ask questions and listen.

To inform them that a YPD team is going to be started.

To tell them a little about the YPD if they are interested.

To motivate them to come along to the introductory meeting.

  • Thirdly, YPD leaders preparing for contact work often do a role play. Two take the part of the visitors, and one, the part of the person being visited. They try to act out what might happen. It is fun and a good means of preparing for this work. Why not give it a try?

3. Start contacting

The contact visit should not be long and especially our explanations should not be long. We are only asking people to come and have a look. If they like what they see we hope they will return. We are not asking them to agree to join for life but just to come to the introductory meeting and see if they would be interested to come again.

The contact stage should not continue for an extended time. If the preparation is well done, the contacts will probably be able to be made in a couple of weeks at the maximum. Most young people like to see action As soon as there are enough interested to come along, organise the Introductory Meeting.

4. The introductory meeting

The aim of the introductory meeting is to give interested young people a chance to see what YPD is like before they agree to join. Young people want to find out who else is interested enough to come and what they are like. They would like to hear in a group what YPD is all about and to see what others think about this. In a word they want to evaluate whether it is a good thing to join or not.

The agenda should be friendly and informative, giving people a chance to meet and share with the others who have come along. It is not possible to present YPD very adequately at such a meeting and it is better not to try. Instead some key ideas should be presented giving emphasis to making people welcome and respected.

An example of an agenda that has been used for the introductory meeting.

1. Welcome everybody. Get them to introduce themselves one by one, saying where they live, went to school and what they are doing now.

2. Conclude this section with a comment: What we do during our ordinary day, what happens there, and the relationship we have with the people there is very important to ourselves but we often think it would not be interesting to others. In YPD we spend a lot of time discussing what we do in our ordinary life because we recognise that it is an area of great importance to us personally, as well as the place that we are called to serve our God and our community.

3. Get people to split up into pairs with someone they don’t know well and to tell one another about their families – how many in the family, how old they are, what they do etc.

4. Conclude this section with another comment. Our families are very important to us and we to them, but we often drift along without recognising our need to be actively involved there. This is also an area of importance in YPD.

5. One of the leaders gives a talk on what YPD has meant to them in their own life.

6. The other leader tells how YPD would be organised in this group – the use of the program – the need to get two of those present to prepare and lead the first meeting on the following week.

7. Find out who of those present would be prepared to come back next week and try the YPD. Organise for two of them to lead that meeting and arrange a time to prepare the meeting with them.

8. Drinks/Snack