Curriculum Competition: Joy and Adolescent Faith and Flourishing

Download flyer here.

Download curriculum submission guidelines and template here.

Competition Overview

Submission deadline:  January 31, 2018

Winners announced:  April 15, 2018

Awards:  1 First Prize: $2,000; 3 runners up: $500 each

The Yale Center for Faith & Culture is hosting a curriculum competition on the topic of Joy and Adolescent Faith and Flourishing. This competition seeks submissions that address questions concerning joy and flourishing for adolescents.

We know that adolescents face many obstacles to joy and counterfeits of joy—“joy inhibitors”—which, if left unaddressed, will have a material detrimental effect on their capacity to experience joy as adults. These obstacles have a variety of sources: class, education, economic status, biology, behavior, racism, and more. On the other hand, we hypothesize that there are practices, attitudes, habits, and virtues that, individually and communally, inspire and sustain joyful, flourishing lives, and these are most beneficial if developed in adolescence. Some enhancers of joy might include: hope, resilience, worship, beauty, friendship, testimony, devotion, narrative, Sabbath, and more. Our hypothesis is that there are spiritual resources found in the theology of joy and the good life that can, when combined with insights drawn from the social sciences and other fields, ameliorate if not eliminate these joy inhibitors.

Topic: Big Questions on Joy and Adolescent Flourishing

For the purpose of this curriculum competition, we ask that participants submit curricular resources that address one or more of the following questions:

  1. What is joy? What are enhancers of joy? What are inhibitors of joy?
  2. What is the relationship between joy and the flourishing life? How does attention to joy shape one’s vision of the flourishing life?
  3. How can recovery of joy as a central theological category and human experience help lay the foundations for flourishing in adolescence?
  4. What practices, attitudes, habits, and virtues help to inspire and sustain joy and flourishing for adolescents?
  5. What are the biggest obstacles to and counterfeits of joy that adolescents face? How can we offer adolescents the spiritual communities, experiences, and resources that sustain resilience in confronting these obstacles or enable them to live with a measure of joy despite them?


The competition is open to all current (master’s and doctoral) degree-seeking students at accredited institutions, including seminarians. The competition is also open to youth ministry leaders and volunteers. Winning authors must consent to allow their names and curriculum to be featured on the project website and to be published within the Joy and Adolescent Faith and Flourishing Curriculum Project.

Prizes and Benefits

First Prize: $2,000

Runners Up (3): $500

In addition to the monetary prize, awardees will be invited to a project conference in the summer of 2018 and recognized there.

Curriculum Guidelines

In order to provide consistency across the curriculum, we have very specific formatting guidelines. We encourage creativity and originality while at the same time adhering to the outline we have provided. Consistency will ease the review process. Each session has four basic components—prepare, engage, reflect, and send forth. While the activities within the sessions may change according to the topic, it is essential that each session contain these four elements. These sections ensure that students have an opportunity to engage in prayer, dialogue, interactive activities, and reflection within each session. The curriculum guidelines are outlined in detail here. Please be careful to follow the formatting and content guidelines closely. Curriculum that does not follow these guidelines will be disqualified from the competition.

Review Process

Submissions will be (blind) reviewed by YCFC scholars and a curriculum advisory committee.

Curriculum will be evaluated based on the following guidelines:

  1. General quality of curriculum.
  2. Originality.
  3. Relevance to the topic—particularly the curriculum’s ability to engage the questions listed above.
  4. Ability of curriculum to provide concrete theological and practical resources that youth ministry leaders can employ within their settings.
  5. Ability of curriculum to contribute substantially to reviving the discussion of joy and flourishing in youth ministry.

All curricular resources must be submitted in English and all payments will be made in US dollars.

Application Instructions

Applicants should submit the following by January 31, 2018:

  1. A curriculum that contains between three to five sessions on either an enhancer of joy or inhibitor of joy.  (Please do not include any identifying information on the pages that contain your curriculum content.)
  2. A separate cover sheet of no more than one page that includes the following:
  • your name
  • email address
  • institution or church
  • degree program and current year or current position within youth ministry
  • an abstract of no more than 150 words

Submission Instructions

Curriculum and accompanying cover sheet should be submitted by email attachment as a single PDF (in the order listed above) to:  

The following words should appear in the subject line: “Joy and Adolescent Faith and Flourishing Curriculum Competition”

The only acceptable file format is PDF. An acknowledgment email will be sent within seven days of receiving your full proposal. All questions about the application process should be sent to Sarah Farmer at