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Program Design

CYTI is a 14-day residential experience on the campus of Campbell University that began in the summer of 2017. In its first iteration, the institute enrolled 17 high school students. In 2018, enrollment expanded to 26 students, of which seven returned from the previous year and experienced an expanded curriculum and internship program. The curriculum included core elements focused on theological reflection and experiential practice in the areas of faith formation, personal vocation, and spiritual discernment. The core curriculum consisted of daily time spent in (a) personal worship, (b) corporate worship, (c) small group seminars that engaged Scripture and selected theological writings on faith and vocation, and (d) formal and informal group recreational activities. The personal and corporate worship times and small group seminars emphasized core elements of spiritual formation with a focus on spiritual discernment. Portions of the curriculum for these activities were developed through collaboration with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, utilizing a spiritual formation process designed for congregational and individual spiritual discernment. By using a curriculum designed for both congregational and individual discernment, the institute aimed to prepare youth for roles of spiritual leadership in their own congregations. The small group seminars also focused on selected scriptures and readings on the topic of vocation and spiritual discernment taken from both the broad Christian tradition and the Baptist tradition of Campbell University. Institute leadership selected these readings in consultation with the faculty of the University’s Department of Christian Studies, the Divinity School, and the Office of Spiritual Life.

In addition to the theological curriculum, youth participants explored the moral and ethical dimensions of their faith through service-learning in four areas developed in collaboration with distinctive resources and partners of Campbell University. These areas are: (a) public health, developed in partnership with the Department of Public Health of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences; (b) social entrepreneurship, developed in partnership with the Lundy Fetterman School of Business and the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation; (c) restorative justice, developed in partnership with the Juvenile Justice Project of the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law; and (d) religious leadership, developed in partnership with the Department of Christian Studies and the Divinity School.

During week one of the institute, participants engaged in case studies of various disciplines across the academy to explore a variety of settings in which theological convictions can inform moral and ethical situations in contemporary life. The case studies introduce moral and ethical issues at work in each area of study and provide concrete examples of theological reflection and religious leadership in public life. During week two of the institute, participants engaged in service-learning experiences in several of these areas. These experiential education opportunities were developed in close collaboration with the faculty leaders and highlighted ongoing collaborative community engagement projects.

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