#whatspercolating: Podcast keeps youth ‘freshly brewed’ in their faith Print
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014 -- 12:00 AM
Madison Catholic Youth Podcast
Hosts of the Madison Catholic Youth podcast, "Freshly Brewed," getting ready to record their Christmas Day edition are, from left: Lindsay Becher, Chris "Topher" Aderhold, and Sara Zeman. (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)

MADISON -- "I love 'Freshly Brewed.' Topher, Lindsay, and Sara are the perfect combination."

Like most trends and anything else that is "cool," the youth, like the one quoted above, are on top of the latest creation of awesome for teens in the Diocese of Madison.

It’s a podcast, or "pod" -- following the common pattern of young people shortening words to make them their own.

A podcast is defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as "a program (as of music or talk) made available in digital format for automatic download over the Internet."

"Freshly Brewed" is exactly that. Each weekly installment is a chance for youth leaders in the diocese to "inspire our youth and spread the good word about what's going on," said Lindsay Becher, who works in youth formation in the Diocese of Madison's Office of Evangelization and Catechesis.

Staying connected

Becher co-hosts the show with Sara Zeman -- intern for Love Begins Here (LBH) mission trips for youth in the diocese — and Chris "Topher" Aderhold -- assistant director of Camp Gray, the diocesan camp located near Baraboo.

All three have known each other for years through Camp Gray, LBH, and other youth events and activities in the diocese.

The idea to start a podcast came from a camp conference Aderhold and Becher attended last spring.

The hope was to create podcasts to stay connected to teens after they leave camp or finish LBH for the summer.

"Our podcast is a way for us to continue reaching out to them throughout the year and continue to be a source of inspiration," said Zeman.

Faith and coffee: fresh and hot

One thing Aderhold, Becher, and Zeman have in common -- other than their love of the Lord — is coffee. After a long brainstorming process, they came up with the name "Freshly Brewed" for the podcast, which debuted on October 2 of this year.

"We want our coffee hot and fresh and we want our faith hot and fresh and hopefully we can in our own humble ways try to inspire the youth, too," said Aderhold.

The trio recently finished recording its Christmas podcast, the 13th in the series, which will be available, appropriately, on Christmas Day.

A new podcast comes out every Thursday.

Some of the topics covered so far include time management for teens '' keeping God at the center of their lives, how to share one’s journey towards heaven with friends who do not share the same faith, and a special podcast that included Aderhold talking with seminarians Joe Baker and Bill Van Wagner, reflecting on a trip the three of them took to Ireland, where they met the family of Msgr. Francis Gray, who founded Camp Gray.

"That was a cool reflection on the big picture of our Church, the 2,000 year history and how we’re all related to that in some way," said Aderhold.

Looking ahead to the Christmas podcast -- the group will share some of their family Christmas traditions, a reflection on a trip Aderhold took to Israel -- including a stop in Bethlehem, and the "real" meaning behind the lyrics of "Baby, It's Cold Outside," from a "Catholic" approach.

The group likes to keep their topics flexible from week to week, but they are planning on a "live" podcast recording at the annual Frassati Fest for youth at the Kalahari Resort and Convention Center in Wisconsin Dells early next year.

"Whatever kids want, we'll talk about," said Aderhold.

Teens are listening

As of the eighth podcast, the week before Thanksgiving, listeners had downloaded the shows more than 2,000 times.

The response from the teens has been more than favorable.

"They all have created these little rituals [for listening]," said Becher. "One [teen] said 'it's my Monday morning thing' as he's getting ready for school."

For Aderhold, Becher, and Zeman, they feel their goals for the podcast are being accomplished.

"I want to do good work to inspire teens to keep the faith and take it with them beyond high school and I think this is just one of the most concrete ways that we're doing that right now in the diocese," said Becher.

"This is just such a tangible way to remain connected to each other and continually reminded that we're all journeying together, we're all in this together, we're all praying for each other," said Zeman.

"It's about trying to get that message out there and hopefully kids hear that and they’re empowered and inspired and they will go and talk about the faith to their friends," said Aderhold.

The podcast, including previous episodes, is available through the iTunes store, www.madisoncatholicyouth.com and through Madison Catholic Youth, Camp Gray, and Love Begins Here social media sites on Facebook and Twitter.


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