History

How it started
1995 – The Salesian Pastoral Youth Service is founded. The first project document identified the need for the service and outlined its main aims, objectives and specific targets. The office is set up in Savio College, Dingli.

Three young people, a Salesian priest and two lay young people, wanted to broaden their experience in youth training in the Salesian youth centre in Sliema, and share it with young people from all over Malta and Gozo. A programme of holistic formation of young people is set up and offered on a national level.

National Involvement
1995 – The first residential formation weekend seminars for young people on a national basis were organised. These continue to be organised for young people from Malta and Gozo. They focus on personal development skills, social skills and spiritual growth. Some of them are offered as credits to students at the University of Malta. At least 7training weekends are organised every year.

1996 – A training programme for leaders in other youth groups was launched. This programme helps youth groups form better leaders. In collaboration with the Kummissjoni Djoċeżana Żgħażagħ, KDŻ – Diocesan Youth Commission – this idea eventually led to the creation of a national training course for Christian Youth Workers. It was eventually taken over by the University of Malta.

1996 – Quest a fortnightly full-page feature on The Times of Malta started being produced and is still written today. The popular contribution deals with issues relevant to young people’s lives and are written by young volunteers.

1997 – Seminars on formation of adults involved in youth work were first organised. Presented by speakers from other European countries they focus on themes that help adults in their own personal development and in improving their skills and attitudes for working with the young. One or two adult training weekends are organised every year.

1999 – Almost from its beginning, SPYS has offered and continues to offer spiritual formation to young people. Among other means, SPYS focuses on Lent and Easter time to offer services. These include the organisation of Liturgical services and the presentation of youthful spiritual training courses. These courses are always done in collaboration with other youth groups.

2001 – SPYS were selected as winners of the prestigious national award: Premju Żgħażagħ fis-Soċjetà. This award is given to the youth organisation which gave the most commendable contribution to the community. SPYS has also been nominated as a finalist for the award six times, being awarded 2nd place in 2004.

2006 – The first personal development programme for a group of 12 young people started. The is facilitated by SPYS leaders who are also Therapists.

2007 – In January SPYS moved to the new premisses in Balzan.

2011 – Awarded the 'Kerŷgma's Youth of the Year award'.

International involvement
August 2000 – Eurotreff 2000, Vienna, Austria. SPYS also participated in this European Salesian Youth encounter in 2001, 2002, 2003. Around 100 young people from all over Europe participated. Members of SPYS were also part of the organising team.

Easter 2002 – Dingli, Malta. Bi-lateral Action 1 Youth Exchange with a Salesian group from Austria.

October 2003 – SPYS joins as a full member of the Don Bosco Youth Net.

February 2004 – SPYS hosts first European Voluntary Service (EVS) volunteer through the Euro-Med programme.

April 2004 –SPYS takes part in an exchange on intercultural learning organized by the DBYN, for the first time, entitled ‘International Training ’, Benediktbeuern, Germany.

August 2004- SPYS takes part in an exchange on intercultural learning entitled ‘Crossing Borders’, Benediktbeuern, Germany.

July 2004 – Eurizon Belgium. The European Salesian Youth encounter changed the name from Eurotreff to Eurizon. It will now be organised by a different country each year.

September 2004 – SPYS sends its first EVS volunteer for one year through Action 2 of the YOUTH Programme of the EU.

April 2005- SPYS organises a multicultural youth exchange entitled ‘Across The Lines- Empowering Young People to Take Charge’, Savio College, Dingli, Malta.

July 2005 – First volunteer to go to India (Bangalore) to work on a child-labour rehabilitation project for the summer months.

July 2005 – Eurizon 2005, Prague, Czech Republic.

October 2005 – SPYS.int, the international office of SPYS, was set up.

March 2006 – SPYS gathers first interested young people to go on volunteering projects in India.

June 2006 – A total of five volunteers go to Bagalore, India for the summer months on child-labour rehabilitation projects.

July 2006 – Two volunteers go to Belgium to participate as animators on summer playgrounds in Kortrijk, Belgium.

July 2006 - Eurizon 2006, Bratislava, Slovakia.

August 2006- SPYS takes part in training course entitled ‘Get involved in DBYN’, Benediktbeuern, Germany.

March 2007 – After a period of preparation involving the previous year’s volunteers, a training course for prospective volunteers to India started.

August 2007- Eurizon 2007, Benediktbeuern, Germany.

August 2007- SPYS takes part in a training course entitled ‘Fairplay(ing)- Intercultural learning through the use of play’, Brussels, Belgium.

March 2008- SPYS becomes board members of the Don Bosco Youth Network.

April 2008- SPYS hosts a DBYN training course entitled ‘Empowering Young Volunteers- a training course on how to manage YiA projects from inception to post-evaluation’, Savio College, Dingli, Malta.

July 2008- SPYS takes part in a training course entitled ‘A window through Europe’, Benediktbeuern, Germany.

August 2008- Eurizon 2008, Krakow,Poland

August 2008- Two SPYS members help out in the organization of a Youth Leadership Programme for West African youths, Sunyani,Ghana .

May 2009 – SPYS takes part in a training course entitled ‘Equippping young volunteers’, Rijswijk, Netherlands.

July 2009- SPYS takes part in a training course entitled ‘Nice to meet You(th)’, Benediktbeuern, Germany.