The Art of Hosting

again from the AoH emaillist:

You may have seen my question below with the questions our team is planning to ask in a church session.  While we are offering child care for the
very young, we'd love to include teens or tweens.

Here's my question for those of you who know what it's like to do these sorts of activities with kids.
Looking at the questions below, how young do you think we could go?
 We are planning rounds of 20-25 minutes each in the World Cafe.

-Amy Watson


On Mon, Apr 23, 2012 at 12:05 PM, Amy Watson
a href="" target="_blank">> wrote:
Many thanks to all who contributed to this discussion!  I took your suggestions to our host team for discussion, and we settled on these:

Check-in:  What hunger brought you here tonight?

World-cafe Q1: How does being in our church community nourish you?

World-cafe Q2: What else could our church become if we all shared our best selves?

World-cafe Q3: What would help you share your best self (who you are when you are at your best) with the church?

Check-out: What seems possible now?
I've used world cafe a lot intergenerarionally.  Some of my deepest learnings have come from listening to a 13 year old talking about her life.  You can probably trust that someone who wants to be there is old enough.  It's more about appetite than about age.  As I write, I also recall images of babies and toddlers or young children on their mom or dad's lap -- another kind of participation.
The core work of building healthy and resilient communities is intergenerarional work.  We are all needed.  Including all of community to create community is essenti!
Can you tell?  I'm a bit of an advocate here!  <grin>


I work with teens full-time here in Ontario, Canada. We have created an Art of Youth Engagement  course for teens and social workers that has embedded World Café as a core process. In these courses, I work with teens as young as 13. Having materials like clay/play doh, pipe cleaners, markers and paper always makes a big difference. I also host the cafés in partnership with youth so they can help ensure the questions are framed in an accessible way. It has worked marvellously. The social workers listen more to the youth than to me. Youth have an ability to speak to the heart of the matter uncomplicated by bureaucratic constraints and academic knowledge. They are insightful and real.  In these sessions, my café rounds last 20 minutes.

Working with teens is fun and rewarding. More recently, I did several arts-based discussion groups with latency-age kids 7 to 11 that worked brilliantly. The had much to talk about. The topics of our conversation was around client satisfaction measures for kids who are seeking counselling and skills to manage their anxiety and anger. The kids, mainly boys, were full of energy but also very thoughtful. In these groups I didn’t stay in a topic for longer than 10 minutes and I didn’t have adults and youth collaborating. I have to say that the 10 and 11 year olds participated more than the 7 year olds but with few words, the 7 year olds got their points across.

I hope that helps.

Best of luck,

Cathy Dyer

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