Often, as leaders of youth we find ourselves in situations with retreatants who might have a painful history or might have been involved in recent unhealthy events (whether physically mentally, or emotionally). A small group leader may experience instances when retreatants may break down in small groups, which is perfectly normal. Other times, a small group leader may have to pull a certain individual to the side because information that is being shared should be kept private. Sometimes, retreatants come to us without any warning.
Do not be alarmed because there is only a small possibility that you will encounter a serious situation. But do not be surprised if someone with a serious issue approaches you. You’re job is to show them the love of Christ by listening and helping them find sources of healing from the pain they may be experiencing. Sometimes the retreatant may just need a listening ear. Other times extra action may be required.
To help guide your actions in these serious situations ask yourself this:
œ Is the person in danger of harming himself or being harmed in the near future?
œ Is the person a danger to others?
If you answered yes to either question, it is your responsibility to report the situation to the president and vice-president. Be sure to inform the retreatant that you MUST report this issue for the sake of their/anyone else’s life and be sure to promptly take what you hear to the appropriate personnel who will handle the situation. Our job as leaders is not to solve the problem, but to allow those that are skilled in such areas to resolve it.
Be sure that if it ever occurs that you are asked to talk to anyone in private, you are with another person. This is not only a diocesan policy—and something you learned in your EIM workshop—but it is also a S.t.r.o.n.g policy. Another STRONG leader assures you safety and any other member in the situation. It’s great to be STRONG, but be SMART also.
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