Our youth work volunteers are called 'animators', which we hope gives you a picture of the Salesian youth ministry approach: bringing life and spirit to our interactions with the young. We offer programmes of training and formation for young people who want to become animators, and opportunities for trained animators to volunteer in the UK and other countries. Find out how to get involved.
How do I become an animator?
Pathways to Youth Ministry
Your first encounter with us
If you're at a Salesian school, or a school within our network, you'll hear about Salesian events locally, and about national events like our annual Make Some Noise youth gathering. You'll meet some of us there, and we can tell you about other events you can get involved in. If you'd like to train to work with young people in youth ministry, read on!
Take the first steps to leadership
If you're aged 16-18, find out more about our leadership programmes, RISE and YAP on our Activities page, and book you place on the next event for yourself, or through your school. These programmes give you training and experience in many aspects of our youthwork.
If you're 18 or over, you may want to immerse yourself in Salesian youth ministry for a longer period by joining our Savio House retreat team for a gap year, or spending time with an overseas Salesian project as a BOVA volunteer (see more below)
Being an Animator
Once you've got some training and experience under your belt, we'd love you to be part of our growing group of Animators. As an Animator, you will be invited to join the teams delivering our projects and supporting events for young people during the year, when you are available, but even if you aren't on a particular team, you are still a Salesian Animator!
Animators are commissioned or recommissioned each year. We offer training and support throughout each year to help you develop valuable skills and knowledge for working with young people, and to continue your formation in Salesian spirituality and Don Bosco's approach to working with the young.
We offer opportunities to meet other Animators, and to be involved in our planning and contribute your ideas. You can also take part in projects and events for Salesian Animators in other countries.
Invitation to leadership
As you gain experience, you may be invited to lead a summer project or a Province event. This involves further training and support, covering areas such as management skills, more detailed safeguarding training, risk assessment and a deeper understanding of Salesian spirituality. Becoming a leader for a project or event is not a permanent commitment, and we all go back to being Animators until we are next invited to lead.
Our Animators make life-long friends, increase their confidence, develop skills that often help in their career or studies, and gain insights into their faith and their relationship with God, but s everyone's professional and family life takes off, there isn't as much time available to continue as an Animator, though most remain part of our Salesian Family. As Companions, they can still be involved in our work with the young, by giving occasional workshops, helping accompany young people on other ways, or taking a turn in the 'Mamma Margaret' role at some of our projects, helping look after and cook for young people during an event.
Are you looking for an opportunity to work with young people in a Salesian project in a developing country?
We can offer placements from 3 months to 2 years long, in a range of countries, matching your skills and interests with the needs of our Salesian partner projects.
To find out more, see our Bosco Volunteer Action (BOVA) pages.
Savio House Gap Year
Savio House is our Youth Retreat Centre at Bollington, Cheshire. Each year, hundreds of children from schools across the country visit for retreats with school staff.
Salesian retreats are active and lively, and the team planning and leading activities for each group, and hosting the guests, is made up of Salesians and young adults, who spend a year living and working as part of the Salesian community here.
To find out more about volunteering at Savio House, or taking your own group of young people, visit the website.