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CON 101

Youth conferences known as CONs are held throughout the state of Florida. CONs are organized and designed by a host church or a committee. Hosting a CON provides youth with both leadership and planning opportunities. A CON is a weekend (2 night) event hosted by Beacon Youth groups throughout the state on an approximately monthly basis between September and May. Youth stay at the hosting church for the duration of the con.

CONs and Beacon-District-wide events are open to youth from 12 to 20 years of age. This age range allows youth to model leadership skills and mentor to younger youth.

There are several types of CONs that may occur, and all of them are for their own unique purpose.

All-Age CON: A CON where youth ages 12 to 20 can attend, its workshops are generally geared to a specific theme.

Trans-In CON: A CON intended for the new members of Beacon, youth ages 12 to 14 (or those who have attended three or less conferences) may attend. This is a more structured conference, intended help involve new youth, and acclimate them to the idea and environment of Beacon.

Social Action CON: At a social-action CON, there will be a planned activity to better society. Projects ranging from cleaning rivers, to helping at homeless shelters – these are a great way to be involved and help the community.

Youth Caucus: Youth Caucus is where major decisions and elections are had. Any member of Beacon can be elected to any of the several available positions. This CON is business-related and very important for all of Beacon.
CONs include activities such as icebreakers, games, workshops, and social action. Workshops can be fun activities like craft projects, drumming, juggling, drawing, etc. Workshops sometimes involve expert speakers on a variety of topics.

“Coffee House” is a open mic event which showcases youth talent like rap or poetry performances. Skits, songs or jokes are favorite activities. It is a place for youth to express themselves in a safe and non judging environment. It also gives a safe place for youth to stand up and say if they are uncomfortable or disagree with anything that is preformed and not have to worry about judgment or harm.   

Spiritual worship services are organized, created and facilitated by Beacon youth at each CON.

Any off site activities or workshops requiring parent consideration will be explained on permission forms.

After a youth attends a CON you will notice he or she can’t wait for the next one.

It is required that all youth from our group that are attending a CON have been to the two meetings before the CON or are a member of the group (i.e if you have been coming for a while and are a member of the group and you get sick and can't make it the two meetings before the CON but can make it to the CON, you can still go)

Mini-CONs
A Mini-CON is like a CON but where a CON is two nights a Mini-CON is only one. Typically a Mini-CON has Coffee House, Worship, and games but not workshops. A Mini-CON follows the same structure and rules as a normal CON. Most of the time a group will hold a Mini-CON when they are first starting to host CONs or to get together with other groups or just their group for community building, planning of activities, or planning CONs. 

Youth Safety is Essential and Inherent
During CONs and other youth events, rules are in place to ensure a safe and peaceful environment conducive to community building. You will find the following rules on the notarized permission forms needed for CON attendance:

CON Rules: 
• Community breaking behaviors, such as sexual activity, destructive actions or attitudes are prohibited. 

• No tobacco products, alcohol, illegal drugs, weapons or fireworks are allowed. 

• If a youth is taking prescription drugs or has a medical condition, he or she must inform his or her advisor. 

• Quiet same gender and coed sleeping must be made available at all conferences, and an advisor must stay in any sleeping area where there are two or more people.

• One blanket=one person, no sharing of blankets. 

• All advisors attending the CON must have completed Advisor Training. In special cases, the youth council co-chairs may waive this requirement. 

• All attending the CON must remain onsite. In order to leave the premises, one must receive permission from his or her advisor and inform a designated advisor from the hosting church. 

• All attending the Youth CON, regardless of age, must abide by these rules, understanding that they may have to forego some of their usual privileges. 

• Additional rules may be set by the hosting group. The purpose of these rules is to ensure a safe and peaceful environment, which is conducive to community building.

The above rules are restated at the opening circle of every CON. A Trespass Committee is established for each CON, consisting of two youth and two advisers. The role of the Trespass Committee is to meet and determine appropriate sanctions if any rules are violated. It is rare for the Trespass Committee to convene as the youth encourage each other to behave in ways that are community building.

Advisors
There are guidelines to ensure the safety and supervision of the youth. Advisors must ensure that one youth and one advisor are never in a room alone and out of sight. No two youth, regardless of gender, are to be out of sight alone together. There must be an advisor for every 8 youth attending at the CON site. All advisors attending CONS must have completed Advisor Training, or made arrangements with the Adult co-chair to receive training at the CON.  

Advisor training covers issues including
Maintaining appropriate boundaries.
Keeping the youth group safe physically, emotionally, sexually, and spiritually.
Building community within the group
Advisors are mandated to report issues of health and safety risks to parents or other required authorities.
Advisors are members of the group, they are not above or below the youth.

Find out where and when the next CON is at the CON Center.