Youth and young adult ministry director receives national award


By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger

What a way to celebrate a 40th anniversary! Don Boucher, coordinator of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of Davenport, will receive an award from the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM) during its Dec. 4-6 conference in San Antonio, Texas. His award, for distinguished work as a trainer, is one of eight being presented at the biennial conference that recognizes excellence in the field of Catholic youth ministry.

Lindsay Steele
Don Boucher, diocesan director of youth and young adult ministry, and Jacinta Wenke of St. Boniface Parish in Farmington participate in the Diocesan Catholic Youth Conference Nov. 23 at St. Ambrose University. Boucher recently received a national award for excellence in training youth and young adult ministry leaders.

“This is my 40th year in Catholic youth ministry,” said Boucher, who started in the field fresh out of college in September 1974. “So this is cool, in year 40 … it’s like being placed in the company of your heroes and the people who have influenced you and formed you and trained you to be the minister you are today. It’s humbling; it’s an amazing honor.”

Boucher said he’s attended all but one NFCYM conference since 1980. “It’s our only national gathering of youth ministry adult leaders and so the continuing education and formation that happen at those conferences is phenomenal … it’s a great way to continue to form ourselves and to stay current in the field.”


The award ceremony is a highlight because “it’s our chance as a field to acknowledge our heroes and our models,” Boucher said. Being selected for the Trainer award makes him think of “all of those people on whose shoulders I stand … these are people who have paid their dues.”

Boucher has also paid his dues in the field of youth ministry at the parish and diocesan level. In addition, he has worked since the mid-1980s as an adjunct for the Center for Ministry Development. As a national trainer he has equipped thousands of youths and adults with the knowledge and skills necessary for effective youth ministry and Christian leadership, according to an NFCYM news release. Since 1990, he’s also taught courses for Certificate in Youth Ministry Studies and various workshops.

Tom East, the Center for Ministry Development’s director, and Ann Marie Eckert, the center’s former coordinator for Youth Ministry Services, nominated Boucher for the Trainer award.

“I nominated Don because I have experienced him as a youth ministry trainer since 1988,” East said. “I first knew Don when he came to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to train our youth leaders. After that, he and I collaborated in providing youth leadership training. He has worked as an instructor in the Certificate in Youth Ministry Studies program for over 25 years. He has also worked on special training projects with the Center for Ministry Development. Most recently, he has been working as our lead trainer in a special project we are doing for the Diocese of Brooklyn, N.Y.

“Don has a way of challenging youth and adult leaders to envision new ways of doing ministry. At the same time, he recognizes people’s gifts and encourages, affirms and empowers leaders to use their gifts to share God’s love and build up ministries that serve the community of faith. He brings a hearty laugh, a gentle spirit, a firm resolve and the gift of music to his ministry of empowerment. Nominating Don was an easy choice. At CMD, we were ecstatic to hear that he would be receiving the award.”

Mary Wieser, the Davenport Diocese’s director of Faith Formation, said the award is a wonderful honor for Boucher and for the diocese, which is proud to have on staff a nationally recognized trainer of trainers.

(Lindsay Steele contributed to this story.)


The National Feder-ation for Catholic Youth Ministry, Inc., a nonprofit organization ( is a leadership alliance for Catholic youth ministry. Its mission is “To serve those who serve the young Catholic Church.” NFCYM’s membership is comprised of 179 Catholic dioceses in the U.S. including U.S. military bases throughout Europe, the National Catholic Committee on Girl Scouts and Camp Fire, and 64 youth-serving organizations known as Collaborating Members. NFCYM provides advocacy, research and support for the field of youth ministry and is executive producer of the National Catholic Youth Conference and the National Conference on Catholic Youth Ministry.

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