The YCS Movement
YCS is a Movement of and for young secondary and tertiary students, accompanied by adult animators and chaplains, and believes in the ability of young students to make a valuable contribution to their society through taking actions on issues of importance to them and in so doing, change the world in which they live. YCS uses a process of reflection and action to create awareness in young students of their surroundings and their place in the world. The YCS method of See, Judge, Act is vital to this awareness building and an important tool to help them develop their skills of analysis and plan appropriate actions in response their reality. YCS enables its members to challenge social exclusion and take action to bring about change in their home, school and social life.
As a movement of young people, the YCS recognizes that young people are the experts of their own reality and are often the best placed people to be the means of transformation in their own lives and their lives of their peers. The YCS offers young people a unique opportunity to link life and faith through a methodology that allows them to link the real experiences of their lives with their faith, enabling them to not only change the world around them but also to develop as Christian leaders in their own realities. Young Catholic Students is an ecumenical Movement welcoming all young students regardless of their faith, economic or social background.
What does YCS Do?
YCS brings young students together in local groups and helps them answer their own needs and the needs of those around them through taking action. This action is decided in the group through discussions called enquiries. Using the YCS method of analysis See, Judge, Act, Review the group reflects on issues of concern and takes appropriate action in response, either individually or as a group.
Actions are often taken in the local community, organizing events or activities at local level.
In this way YCS can help to develop the individual and the local community.
How do we do it
The basis of YCS is the local group. It is here that young leaders are trained to become aware of their surroundings, to reflect on their reality and to plan actions for change. Groups are normally established on a parish, school, university, college basis. They meet regularly in a group of 20 or more young people of similar age and an interested adult companion, Chaplain/Animator
YCS is concerned with training young leaders for life. The YCS is first and foremost a movement of and for young people. It is they therefore, who are the leaders of their group or section. They elect their own leaders and form the groups committee. All YCS programmes and services are based on the format of experiential learning. As young people they are encouraged to enquire into the situations that affect them on a daily basis and to plan and organise specific actions to bring about a positive change. This method of analysis begins with their everyday lived experience, the issues, problems and challenges that face them every day of the week. The YCS method of See, Judge, Act challenges them to become aware of the reality of their particular situation and that of those around them in their place of learning, community, home and society and to create an organised planned response.
“Each young person…, has a divine mission, beginning not after death, but from today, in the conditions of their everyday life, where they are the first and immediate apostles of God in their environment and among their comrades.” Joseph Cardijn,( the founder of YCS)
THE YCS METHOD
The main characteristic of the YCS is the method of See, Judge, Act. It is this method that helps the students to See the reality of their own lives and the lives of those around them, to Judge that reality in the light of Gospel values and what we believe should be happening and to Act to create a change between what is happening and what should be happening. This method forms the very basis of the YCS and is a means to bridge the gap between their faith (what should be happening / the ideal) and their everyday lives (the Reality).
Observe – Seeing, hearing, and experiencing the lived reality of individuals and communities.
Carefully and intentionally examining the primary data of the situation. What are the people in this situation doing, feeling, and saying? What is happening to them and how do they respond?
This is the heart of the process and it involves two key parts:
a. Social Analysis — Obtaining a more complete picture of the social situation by exploring its historical and structural relationships. In this step, the students attempt to make sense of the reality that was observed. Why are things this way? What are the causes and consequences?
b. Theological Reflection – Analyzing the experience in the light of Gospel values and social tradition? How do Gospel values and principles help to see this reality in a different way? How do they serve as a measuring stick for this experience? What should be happening here?