After running Life Teen for 8 years in a small rural parish in northern – but not too northern – Canada, I finally worked up the courage to ask a brother youth minister from Florida to help me understand American Youth Ministry terminology. If you’re from a Canadian – or perhaps any other international – parish, you can find yourself running into short forms or terms that frankly just don’t show up in our typical ministerial environments. So for all you Canadian youth ministers or Core Members surfing catholicyouthministry.com, below are some definitions I’m affectionately referring to as my Americanadapedia:
- Freshman – grade nine high school students
- Sophomore – grade ten high school students
- Juniors – grade eleven high school students (not grade 9 & 10’s as we usually refer to them as)
- Seniors – grade twelve high school students (not the 11’s and 12’s we usually lump together)
- Middle School – typically what we call upper elementary students, grades 6 – 8
- Elementary school – students under grade 6 (what we classify as kindergarten to grade 8)
- DRE (Directors of Religious Education) – pretty foreign to Canadians, but essentially people responsible for any catechetical, sometimes sacramental formation within American parishes. These rarely have any Canadian counterpart unless assumed by a Pastoral Assistant on rare occasions.
- NFCYM – The National Federation of Catholic Youth Ministry. An organization of diocesan directors and youth ministers in the United States.
- NCYC – The National Catholic Youth Conference. A gathering of teens from around the United States that happens every other year.
There are more, many more, but maybe this list will help get you started. Life Teen can and does work in countries outside the United States, it just takes a little translation work!