New Kids Friendly co-ordinator makes her mark

By Angela Singer

Kids Friendly has made its second national appoint-ment, with Lorraine Morgan becoming its new co-ordinator. Lorraine will be working closely with Auckland-based national Kids Friendly coach Jill Kayser, but will continue to live in the South Island town of Geraldine.

Lorraine says she is extremely happy to bring her many years of experience working with children to this “dream role”. Having long served the community of Geraldine as the children and families co-ordinator at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Lorraine will now divide her time between Kids Friendly and St Andrew’s.

“I will be working 20 hours per week for each and I am very excited because this is something that I have wanted to do for some time”.

Jill Kayser says that Kids Friendly is thrilled to welcome Lorraine, and that she will be invaluable in contributing to new developments.

Since starting her co-ordinator role in February, Lorraine has been involved in helping Jill plan the first Kids Friendly national networking and training conference in June; the second Kids Friendly coaching clinic, which was run in Taranaki in March; and the Kids Friendly pilot leadership - development camp “Transformers – Raising-up Young Leaders Camp”, which was held in April. The camp, for “tweens” (aged nine to 12 years) and their mentors, aimed to help the tweens explore how they can influence their church and communities as leaders modelled on Jesus.

“Transformers is a very exciting initiative” says Lorraine. “The camp came out of Jill being repeatedly approached with the question, ‘where are our leaders?’ Transformers is the Kids Friendly response; let’s grow our own leaders. The camps will utilise a mix of workshops, drama and puppetry for engaging and fun exploration. I say ‘camps’ because we hope that this first Transformers camp will plant a seed that becomes a second Transformers camp this time next year. If we can continue to work with the same tweens, and develop them, we could stick with them all the way to youth ministry. Eventually, we would like to increase the age of those attending the camps; perhaps each year the camp is for a different age group.”

Working in a creative and innovative way is important for engaging children and families, says Lorraine. She offers a recent example of how doing church “differently” resulted in a hugely successful event for her entire community.

“Different things work in different communities, so I don’t say that this would work everywhere, but for us it was wonderful: something that children, fathers and mothers really loved.

“We cancelled the Father’s Day church service and went to the park, and the Geraldine community came with us.”

Lorraine says that she advertised the free Father’s Day event in local newspapers, at schools, the cinema; she even stuck posters in the fish and chip shop. Wherever she could publicise the St Andrew’s-sponsored Family Fun Day, she did.

“We made it clear that the family day was for everyone, including solo mother and solo father families. We didn’t know how many would come but to our delight the park was packed at 10am. We ran out of barbequed sausages after giving out 400. We had an Argo jeep and petrol donated for the day, so we had free rides at the river that were a big hit; there were motorbike rides, trucks, a bouncy castle, the church band played.

“The feedback was wonderfully positive. The Family Fun Day was so successful the town council has asked if St Andrew’s will make it an annual event.”

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