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A Look Into Summer

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“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

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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

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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

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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…

Victories & Struggles

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Hey everyone!

We are in the full-swing of summer with 30+ degree weather out here! With the sun comes the opportunity to slow down and reflect on the past school year. May and June are some of the toughest months working with teenagers. With the end of the school year, students’ lives are filled with exam stress, fear and anxiety heading into a summer at home, uncertainty about the next school year or unclear future plans, and a whole lot of exhaustion after giving life everything they’ve got for months on end. However, the end of the school year is also a time for goals being completed, graduation ceremonies and sighs of relief as they switch school supplies for bathing suits for a couple months! I wanted to share some of these awesome end of the year victories with you.

This time last year, I was working with a grade 11 student who was struggling to keep himself alive due to mental illness and tough circumstances. After months of just keeping his head above water, he was ready to g…

The 11's

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The Magic of Numbers

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Hello! I hope this letter finds you well.

We are at the end of another school year so I wanted to give you a quick recap on a few highlights and some numbers from the last year.

Highlights:

We had the privilege of attending a few different trauma workshops throughout the year. We had one on ACE’s (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and also a trauma skills workshop. Both of these training sessions were very helpful and left me feeling informed and better equipped to work with people that have experienced trauma in their lives. I learned that one of the most important things is providing a safe space for people, which is one of the things we aim to provide for our youth. Thank you for this opportunity.

This past month has also been exciting for me, as some youth I have been walking alongside with for 8 years are graduating! I had first met them when they were in the fifth grad  and have been with them through many of their life struggles. Some of these struggles being mental health proble…