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First-Time Leader (A & X)

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First-Time Leader (A & X)

Grades 12 & Up
First-Time Leader A: June 16-24, 2024
First-Time Leader X: June 28 – July 6, 2024

This is a hands-on leadership training experience that takes place during our Middle School Adventure A and Crossroads programs. Participants receive instruction in practical tasks, as well as training in principles of leadership, while serving and taking on specific responsibilities as part of the leadership team.

Please note: we have limited space for FOCUS programs requiring an application, and typically receive more qualified applicants than we are able to accept. This means that some qualified applicants may be placed on a waitlist, and/or be recommended for another application program depending on space (e.g. Vineyard Service). We are so glad that you are interested in serving and leading as you continue to grow in your faith!

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First-Time Leader Details

Please note: The First-Time Leader A Program dates are different from the dates for other leaders and students attending Middle School Adventure A. Participants of the First-Time Leader A Program should plan to arrive by 4pm on June 16. The First-Time Leader X Program dates are different from the dates for other leaders and students attending Crossroads. Participants of the First-Time Leader X Program should plan to arrive by 4pm on June 28.

FOCUS seeks to give students attending independent schools the opportunity to hear and respond to the Christian message and to grow in their faith so that they might serve God wholeheartedly with their lives.

FOCUS programs are a key component to our mission. The time for students to get away from their routine and spend several days considering the Christian faith and applying it can make a lasting difference in their lives. Therefore we strive for excellent and effective planning, administration, and leadership of our programs. Every student should not only have fun, experience well-run activities, and build peer relationships, but also be taught effectively from the Bible and be cared for and served by members of the leadership team.

In order to run great programs, we rely on volunteer leaders to work alongside our staff. We cannot function without committed and capable volunteers!

The purpose of the First-Time Leader Program is to train and encourage capable and committed college students who are first or second-time leaders so that they can become leaders who will be committed to the Lord, eager to serve, capable in completing tasks and responsibilities, and equipped and excited to volunteer with FOCUS for many years to come. First-Time Leaders will be trained in servant-leadership, gain a deeper understanding and application of Scripture, have the space to develop fellowship as a group, have some opportunities as older friends and role models to students, and take on the responsibilities for some of the practical aspects of the Middle School Adventure A and Crossroads programs.

What is a First-Time Leader?

A First-Time Leader is a leader in training. There will be unique opportunities for you to make the transition from student to leader, continue to grow in your faith, learn more about service, and experience fellowship as a team of First-Time Leaders. You are a “leader” in the usual meaning of that term at FOCUS. You are expected to be older friends and role models for students and encourage them to explore the Christian faith. First-Time Leaders will receive the leader packet; participate in morning and evening meetings with students; attend leaders’ meetings and prayer meetings; play games; and take part in afternoon activities. Like all other leaders, you will have certain practical responsibilities assigned to you individually (e.g. music team, hospitality, etc.)

What makes the First-Time Leader Program unique?

You will have several older leaders who will be responsible for encouraging and overseeing you as a First-Time Leader team. These leaders will participate with you in tasks assigned to the team, lead you in Bible study, and take time to check in with you individually and as a group. There will be Bible studies and/or check-in times geared specifically for the First-Time Leader team each day. You may or may not be in cabins with students depending on the size of the program. You will learn and practice the skills necessary to prepare and lead small group Bible studies.

As a First-Time Leader team, one particular responsibility will be the set up, running, and cleaning up of large group activities such as the Relays, swim test, Capture the Flag or other games. If there is set up needed for the beach day (such as getting the lunches into cars, bringing equipment to the beach, setting it up, and cleaning coolers after we get back), that will be the First-Time Leader team’s responsibility. Some activities will require the whole group to help; the others will be led on a rotating basis. Other responsibilities for the team may include Coffeehouse set-up and clean-up, specific clean-up tasks as needed, and evening games.

Leading at a FOCUS program is about selfless service, but that does not mean that we view our volunteers simply as a resource to be exploited. We hope that your participation with us will be an encouragement to your faith and spur you on towards “love and good deeds” at the program and beyond. And we hope that you will have a blast as you serve, building lasting friendships with fellow leaders and with students.

We encourage you to apply if you:

• Understand and believe the Christian message and want others to hear, understand, and believe it.
• Are seeking to know God in your personal life and participate in church/fellowship.
• You are pursuing a lifestyle that is in line with scriptural guidelines for someone serving in ministry (see Ephesians 5:1-4; Titus 1:7-9)
• Enjoy spending time with middle and high school students.
• Like to be active/sporty, can have wholesome fun, and/or have other gifts to offer.
• Are willing to sacrifice sleep and comfort to serve students.

Our commitment to our leaders

Volunteer leaders are crucial to our ministry, and we hope to equip you to lead in a healthy way. We hope that if you make a commitment to serve with FOCUS, you will experience a deepening of your own faith, encouraging relationships, and a supportive community. In light of that, if you are invited to join the leadership team, FOCUS commits to:

1. Encourage you to love and trust God more as you serve him not only at FOCUS, but also in your school and church.
2. Pray with and for you.
3. Provide community and fellowship for you among the leadership team, including supportive relationships with FOCUS staff.
4. Teach you faithfully from the Bible.
5. Equip you to explain the Gospel clearly.
6. Equip you to lead Bible Studies and/or other teaching responsibilities you may be given.
7. Train and support you to effectively serve in practical ways.
8. Challenge you to grow in godliness and personal maturity.
9. Encourage you to give your future to whole-hearted service for God’s Kingdom whether in or around FOCUS’ mission to independent schools or elsewhere.

As a volunteer leader, we ask you to commit to:

• Pursuing an active personal faith in Christ both individually and in fellowship with others, including participation in a local church.
• Displaying attitudes and developing habits in keeping with someone serving in ministry (see Ephesians 5:1-4, Titus 1:7-9).
• Knowing that you serve as a role-model for students, seeking to make choices and pursue an ongoing lifestyle that is godly and “above reproach.” This includes your online persona and social media profiles.
• Fostering unity by enthusiastically participating in all aspects of the meeting or program, displaying a humble, teachable, and supportive attitude, and encouraging others as we serve together.
• Affirming the FOCUS Statement of Faith, Leader Expectations, and Modesty Statement.If you become a FOCUS volunteer leader, you will represent FOCUS to students and their parents through your ongoing relationships with students.

Application Process

First-Time Leader (A & X) have an application process that includes submitting an online application and a phone interview with the Program Director. He or she may check your references as needed.

Please note that submission of an application does not automatically mean that you will be accepted as a First-Time Leader. Admission to the First-Time Leader program will be at the discretion of the Program Director and the Director of National Programs, based on your application and references and whether space is available in the program.

Application Deadlines: The deadlines for receiving applications are November 1, December 4, January 15, and February 15. Once your application has been received, we will set up a time for a phone interview. Acceptance emails will be sent November 15, December 20, January 31, and February 29 respectively. After four application rounds, applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis as space is available.

Cancellation Policy
Our cancellation and refund policy is as follows: full refund with more than 15 days notice; no refund within a 15-day period of the start of the program, except in the case of an emergency. If for any reason you are not accepted into a specialty program to which you applied, we will refund the full program fee. Group travel is refundable at the discretion of the Area Director or the Director of National Programs.

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