There's No Place Like Home

Perhaps Dorothy said it best when she clicked her ruby red heels together and said, “There is no place like home.”  In the real world though, there are no magic shoes that can whisk someone back to a place of comfort and safety. For many of the youth I meet, their house is not a home.  Not really.  As I’m writing this I am thinking about some of the situations I’ve been in the front row for. 

•   The girl who was sexually assaulted by her adoptive father
•   The young man who frequently called the ambulance for his
mother after her overdoses
•   The youth whose first memories were a parent screaming hateful word at them.

Because of you, we are able to be present in these messy situations and be the family these youth have never experienced.  A young person I worked with years ago recently sent me a message for my birthday:

“[What you did as a youth worker] meant the world to lonely 16-year old me.  It always reminded me that no matter how alone I felt, I always had people who loved m…

Happy New Year!

September is a Youth Worker’s new year. With schools starting back up, programs to plan and launch, and relationships to rekindle after the summer months- it has been a busy time. Let me share with you a little of what my new year in Langley looks like!

The new year has brought lots of change to our team structure and programs. To ensure that I am experiencing and learning all that I can in my apprenticeship year, I am going to be working for the rest of the year at R.E Mountain Secondary School and will be supervised by Derian, who has been doing youth work for almost 20 years and also played a huge role in my Lifeteams year. I can’t wait to get connected at Mountain and to watch and learn from Derian!

To ensure that relationships are stewarded well with students and that I have adequate time to complete the credentialing process, my apprenticeship has been extended to the end of this school year (June 2019). At this time I am still discerning where I am to be next, but am excited t…

With All My Heart...

As many of you know, Youth Unlimited partners with local schools in the area they are working in order to provide extra support for students. One of the benefits of being partnered with schools is that we get to be there during school hours and sometimes have the opportunity to do presentations in classes.

One of the presentations that we have the opportunity to do, that we are often asked to come back and present year after year, is a presentation about choices we make in our everyday lives. We give students the opportunity to answer questions anonymously by writing their answer on a sheet of paper. We show a few different video clips throughout the presentation while they write down their answers, then collect all of their answers into a container and share them with the class.

What is your biggest problem you are facing today?

Every youth answers this question in a different way.

“I don’t know what to do about my faith. One of my parents is Christian and the other is Catholic. I a…

A Look Into Summer

“Wait you still work in the summer?” That is a question I get a lot. At times, I wish we did have summer vacation like those that work in the schools. However, I get the opportunity to meet kids whenever and wherever because of their freedom from school! To name a few things from this summer, I’ve had the opportunity to ride the rides at playland till I felt sick, thrift and find a cool dinosaur ladle for an excited youth and visit the local pool with some girls trying to escape the heat! The thing I love about summer, although it can be difficult at times, is the change in scenery and pace we get to do things. The end of the school year brings excitement and a need for change. Summer so often comes at just the right time.

One of my favourite things we get to participate in is Gatorshades. You might have heard about it before as this is my 4th summer being a part of it. To give a brief summary, Gatorshades is a program held at Walnut Grove Secondary School (WGSS) during the summer fo…

Moments of Summer

Summer has come to an end and we are back in September. You may wonder, do I still work in summer? I assure you that I very much do!

This summer started off with a work conference that a large portion of our organization from across Canada attended. It was a time to meet together and hear the stories of youth workers across our nation. It was also a refreshing time of learning in classes and connecting with God. During this time, there was a graduation ceremony for all who finished their credentialing process to become clergy. As my name was called to walk across the stage, I heard screaming. It became increasingly louder and suddenly, there on stage in front of me was my boss Danny and my co-worker Philippa, holding signs and yelling and cheering as loud as they could with the rest of my team celebrating from the back. All I could do was stand there and laugh; it was quite the show!

When we arrived back from our conference, fall planning started. We decided it was time to change thi…

A Powerful Presence

Being called into youth ministry at a young age, I never really knew what I was going to be getting myself into. The only model I had for youth ministry was all-nighters at a church, being really loud and excited at speaking conferences, or going all out at a camp for 10 weeks. All of that I knew I could do if I stretched myself, but it wasn’t in my strengths or gifting. Henri Nouwen talks about the ministry of ‘presence’ and how:

“it is a privilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence. Still, it is not as simple as it seems. My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or to be part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets. It is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around an urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social progress. But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn’t …

Welcome Home

Our Wednesday programs had become so popular this spring that we reached a crisis of capacity. We found that in the midst our “success”, the culture and vision of our ministry had begun to slip into crowd control. As our team gathered to pray and discern how Jesus wanted us to shape the coming school year we asked… Do we cancel it? Do we tweak it? Jesus’ answer to us was “crucify it.” As you might imagine, these were terrifying words to hear. As we prayed through those words, we began to see that Jesus was asking us to let our programs die so that he could resurrect them.

So what’s going to change? Well everything and nothing. We’re starting programs later this year (mid- October) because we’re rearranging our space to allow more conversations to happen. We’re adjusting our bus rides to make it less complicated, and scaling down some activities to make more time and space for relationships with students. However, the biggest changes found their inspiration in a place you wouldn’t nec…