The Landing is a program that meets every Friday night to help students who are dealing with hurts, hangups and destructive habits. I asked Dennis Beckner, the director of The Landing here at Saddleback (and youth ministry blogger), to talk through some of the frequently asked questions about the program to help hurting students in case it would be helpful to you if you use the resource kit/program or not.
Is there a parental release form for The Landing?
There is a parental release form in the curriculum kit. We, however, do not use it at Saddleback Church. The biggest reason is some students would actually get in trouble or have to reveal information to their parents if their parents knew they attended.
How much counseling training do your volunteer leaders have?
Our volunteers are not professional counselors. They are only operating in a layman capacity. We do not pretend to offer professional counseling through this program. Students also voluntarily participate at no cost.
Have you had any troublemakers or issues where you needed security at The Landing?
Another layer of security we have is our security team. Security team sounds like a big church thing. Of course a big church like Saddleback would have that. While our security team is great, they are mostly volunteer police veterans who act as consultants when we need a little guidance or help. They’ve helped us report some problems to the authorities when mandated reporting issues come up. They’re a great safety net.
How do you train your youth leaders to help care for hurting students? You can download a free 74-page document that outlines our training, application, and several resources we’ve created since before we got started until last August when we had our Celebrate Recovery Summit. You’ll find that and a wealth of other resources by going to my blog where I’m giving away a ton of free stuff. You’ll see several freebies, nuggets of wisdom and guest posts on the topic.
What was your main focus during your early trainings?
1. Here’s what Celebrate Recovery is. Here’s our vision for students in recovery. Here’s what volunteering will look like.
2. Mandated reporting. We had a police officer come in and explain California’s laws on who is a mandated reporter, what must be reported and how to report it. The police officer happened to be one of our High School ministry volunteers. He shared not only the law, but the heart behind why a youth worker would want to report for ethical reasons as well as legal reasons.
3. Relational ministry. We discussed the youth ministry angle, what to expect when working with students and how to be a relational leader. We also walked through the first night which happend 3 days after this meeting and gave out leader T-shirts.
For more information on The Landing and see if it might be a good fit for your ministry context, hit up the link right here.