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Showing posts from 2015

A Day In The Life Of...

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These last two months have been a roller coaster. I launched the program I was hired to work with, have started figuring out the kinks that need to be worked on, have seen some huge successes, and have been able to bring on a number of new monthly ministry partners (shout out to those people!).

I am not one who journals, but the other day I was so filled with emotion that I needed to get it out. So let me share a little of what I wrote with you:

“Today, I felt like a youth worker... I got to spend time in a school and hear about a staff member’s life. I played tag with kids in a loud gym. I heard some of those same kids share about their parents’ recent divorce and how others split time with their parents. Today, I was able to make a difference in a youth’s life... Today, I felt successful when a kid told me he comes to Nights Alive to hang out
because people respect each other there. Today, as always, I needed Jesus.”

I have so many stories to share that I can’t pick just one. That …

Something Finally Clicked

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For those of you who might not know, I sometimes speak before carefully thinking.  In the past this has worked against me and I can be teased for some of the ridiculous things that come out of my mouth.  However, I want to tell you about a time recently when this bizarre character trait became a blessing.

I feel as though I am in a constant battle to control my thoughts. I constantly question myself and worry. This anxiety can cripple me from speaking up at all, even when I should stand up for myself, share my opinion or introduce people to Jesus.

Last week at our Art Club something finally clicked. When talking with teenagers my boss told me to get awkward. To be honest, I was pretty sure that was the last thing I wanted to do. I am constantly thinking of the best way to say things to the teenagers so that they like me and not think of me as a freak. However, my boss was trying to push me outside of my comfort zone and get to know youth in a different way. Yet, I was not sure how as…

There Is Hope

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The chatter around the room was vibrant and lively as dinner dishes were being cleaned, a board game was being set up, music blared and the TV was buzzing with distractions.  In the midst of all this noise, I was able to experience a holy moment.  A moment of peace.  I wish you could have been there.  That you could have heard the voice of the young lady as she shared the story of her life with me.  A voice that matter of factly told me of things that made my heart ache and grieve the childhood that she had missed.  I wish you could have looked into her eyes as I did when she told me about her views on life as a result of living with so much pain.  She was self admittedly confused about what she should believe about the world. I didn’t know what to say, but simply asked “How is it that you can ever smile?”

She looked at me and simply said.  “Despite it all, despite what happened.  And even though I haven’t always helped the situation with my choices, my mom has always loved me.  When…

December Prayer Requests

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pray for solidification of fundraising for the new Langley staffpray that the Langley staff would be able to experience a time of rest and rejuvenation over the Christmas breakpray for the youth who will be struggling over the Christmas holiday’s - for some, school is the only stability in their lifepray that meals, volunteers, prayer, donations, etc. would continue to pour in during 2016 as it did in 2015praise God that the conversations have been going deeper with youth

Pivotal Moments

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Around a month ago, Amy and I sat down with the group of new Momentum students and played a game together. These students have signed up to be mentored by adults as well as to mentor kids younger than themselves - they know it’s going to be a stretching year. The game we played was a get-to-know you game, but I wanted it to be a unique one and not surface level. The game was simple: take a blank piece of paper and on one side draw a fun or funny story and on the other side draw a significant moment in your life. We wanted to get to know these students and to hear some memories that were significant to them. Their answers did not disappoint.

We heard many stories - some positive, some not as positive. About halfway around the circle a student shared about his experience in Momentum last year. His drawing was simple, but the words that accompanied it made it powerful. He had drawn two arms with a razor blade beside them. Between the arms and the razor blade was a group of people. This …

Introducing: Jon

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Name: Jon Pue
Title: Youth Worker
Start Date w/ YU: Aug. 2015
Favourite Part of Working in Langley: Everything is ten minutes away
What Brought Me to the Team: Years of patience and figuring out where the Lord was leading.

Spouse: Kirstie
Date I Was Married: May 26, 2013...right, Kirstie?
Where I Grew Up: Langley
High School: D.W. Poppy Secondary School

Favourite:
Spare Time Activities: Coffee, comic books, movies, puppies
Food: Breakfast. All breakfast food.
Book of the Bible: Philippians
Movie: The Dark Knight or Star Wars. Or maybe Lord of the Rings. Or the Avengers. Or Rocky. Possibly the rest of the Marvel movies. I’ll get back to you all.
Author: Hard to say overall but right now it’s Mother Theresa.

Langley Youth Unlimited

Due to a lack of interest, Langley YU will no longer be attending the Eastside Culture Crawl on Saturday. Enjoy your weekend and the sunshine!
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Friends and Family

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I’m happy to be writing you once again!

Personally, I am still journeying but doing well. I have quickly found a home here with the Langley Youth Unlimited team. Their support of me personally has been an unexpected gift in a season of change, grief, and a new normal. I am thankful.

I truly believe in the work that we’re doing; striving to live out our faith, engaging in the lives of young people and fostering the connections that they need to thrive.

It continues to be a very rich experience. I also genuinely enjoy getting to reconnect with so many of you throughout this process - not just personally but also in partnership for the betterment of the youth of Langley. It excites me to see you supporting the team and I here at Langley Youth Unlimited. I am very grateful for the vast ways that support has been shown to me. So thank you - it goes farther than you know.

Because of this support I hit my first goal into making this dream a reality, which was to be able to engage with youth…

Expanding Team, Expanding Role

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About a year ago, my job title changed to Assistant Area Director. This was both recognition of increased leadership and preparation for the growth of our team. As of today, Langley has almost doubled in size to 9 staff, 2 interns and about 40 volunteers. (You may have noticed the extra faces appearing on the other side of this update.)

One of the impacts on my work has been a significant increase in demand for my time. I currently only take a salary for 4 days a week but it’s become more and more of a “How do I fit this much work into 4 days?” The answer is I can’t. So Allison and I have decided it’s finally time to push ahead to full-time ministry.

Imagine what the impact of an extra day could be…

On Monday, I stood outside with a group of teens during school lunch hour listening to a discussion on faith and religion in between cigarette drags…That’s another school lunch hour each week!
On Tuesday, I sat with a young lady as she fought back tears. She let me pray with her, even tho…

How to Inoculate Kids Against the Gospel

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Have you heard of the concept called ‘ethnocentrism’? It is a sociological term for how people evaluate another culture solely by the values and standards of one’s own culture. In other words looking at others through the lens of our own cultural assumptions as opposed to engaging with people from other cultures to learn about their values and understanding from themselves.

We all do this, and to a certain extent it’s impossible to avoid. We must evaluate continually. But when we evaluate others and do it casually, or when we are unaware we are doing it, it can be a huge problem. I once shared a meal with a group of teens and a handful of adults. At one point in the evening the conversation progressed from silly to more serious and a few youth started opening up about their lives and their beliefs. One teen, after sharing his thoughts and beliefs, was asked by a befuddled adult: “You don’t actually believe that, do you?” Though, I don’t believe the speaker was intending to be judgmen…

Langley Youth Unlimited

****Due to early dismissal today the bus will be picking up students at REMSS (1:50 pm) and WGSS (2:05 pm) for Art Addicts****
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Langley Youth Unlimited

There is Nights Alive tonight at Langley Meadows in the school gym! We will be playing gym games from 6 to 8pm. Anyone in grades 5 to 7 is welcome to come out and play games with us :)
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CRACKING THE CODE

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In his book “Sustainable Youth Ministry”, Mark DeVries shares his perspectives on why many youth ministries don’t last. As I was reading, I found myself comparing the ideals for his concept of sustainability with my new role at Youth Unlimited. It is so easy to get caught up in the exciting things that happen in work with youth that the questions of how it will be maintained for the future are not asked. I found myself encouraged by how well Youth Unlimited is living out the principles I’m learning about in class. As I share some of the points that really stood out to me, I hope you will see why Youth Unlimited is a ministry worth investing in.

The first point has to do with appropriate staffing. While most youth ministries revolve around one key youth leader, Youth Unlimited takes a strong team approach.  This allows the team to care for each other as they serve and care for youth together.  I experienced this first hand when I began my internship at Youth Unlimited. I felt respecte…

IDENTITY

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At a recent school presentation I talked about the concept of revealing our true identity with a group of 8th grade students.  I took a cheesy line from the latest Superman movie to illustrate the point.  When Superman is asked what the “S” stands for on his chest, he responds in saying; “It’s not an “S”, in my world it means hope.” With a simple art project I then asked the youth what their symbol of hope and identity would be.  Here were some of their thoughts:
 -      I am different minded, unique and filled with thoughts but a big portion of my mind and personality are unknown to me.
-       Peace will always be with us, even if it’s far away.
-       I think choosing the right path is the most important thing in life.  I hope to choose the right path throughout my life.
-       I am cynical.  How can drawing a picture wrap up all of who I am?
-       My symbol represents all the layers of my masks I have to peel away before I can find myself.
-       Every day, when the sun rise…

ODD BEGINNINGS

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Just over a year ago I found myself in a coffee shop across from Danny and Derian - mom of three young kids who had been at home full time for 5 years keeping the drive of my vocational calling alive through brief periods of volunteerism. I wasn’t totally sure what to expect. I have known Derian for years. My family has walked alongside his work and have heard countless stories of Jesus moving in Langley youth and the doors He is opening for the Langley Youth Unlimited team. But here we were talking about things in my wheel house. Leadership development and mentoring, how to run administration and operations effectively, and how to move well through transition and growth. I am no youth worker but I walked away invited to bring what I have to offer and be a part of the work at Langley Youth Unlimited.

As I have walked along side this team, I am continuously amazed at their loyalty, faithfulness, courage, and determination. They choose to face the realities of life with youth counting …

INTRODUCING: MEGAN

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Name: Megan Adam
Title: Administrative Assistant
Start Date w/ YU: Oct 2014
Favourite Part of Working in Langley: The team - I feel so supported in my role and in my personal life. This job has truly been an answer to prayer.
Favourite Task: Planning events! Whether it’s a staff get-together, our art show, or prepping for meetings, I love it!

Nicknames: Megs, Meg
Spouse: Matthew
Where I Grew Up: Burnaby, BC
High School: Burnaby Mountain Secondary School
Instruments I Can Play: Guitar, Piano, Vocals

Favourite:
Spare Time Activities: Hiking, walking, time with friends, baking
Food: French fries and milk chocolate
Author: Francine Rivers
Book of the Bible: James
Movie: Sound of Music
Office Supply: Post-it Notes and anything involving a whiteboard

Langley Youth Unlimited

Nights Alive is on tonight in the Langley Meadows school gym! We will be playing gym games from 6 to 8pm. Anyone in grades 5 to 7 is welcome to come out and play gym games with us :)
http://ift.tt/1xSCcvc

Langley Youth Unlimited

Just a reminder that Nights Alive is on this week in the Langley Meadows school gym! Anyone in grades 5 to 7 is welcome to come play gym games with us from 6 to 8 pm.
http://ift.tt/1xSCcvc

Langley Youth Unlimited

School has begun and shortly, so will our fall programs! We are looking for volunteers to help stock our cupboards and provide meals for our Wednesday programs. If you, your family, your small group, or your church are interested please contact Megan at langleyyu@youthunlimited.com for more information, or to sign up. We are also looking for volunteers to help with our monthly newsletter mailings. If you have a knack for labeling, sealing and stamping envelopes, Megan would love to connect with you.
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Goodbye Summer, Hello School Year

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In my last update I talked about the Gator Shades program I was volunteering at with Walnut Grove High school. After spending a week with these teens, I had started building strong relationships with them and saying goodbye was not easy. I can’t wait to see

Happy New Year!

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To me, the fall always feels like the beginning of the New Year.  Baseball season ends and football begins; vacation ends and the kids go back to the school routine.  This year Avery advances to first grade and Joe will start in third.  In fact, Joe will be in one of the split level classes that I have worked in as a volunteer youth worker for the past ten years.

Do the Little Things Make a Difference?

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This summer there were a lot of opportunities to do the little things. Perhaps it was noticing the kid who shows up 2 hours early and stays an hour late. Perhaps it was sitting with him in the hot sun, sharing a Pepsi and a Snickers bar, while waiting for his ride to show up. Perhaps it was
offering him a ride home whenever you could while making sure to stop for ice cream.

THREE REASONS I'M A FAILURE and How That's a Good Thing

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Here are my reflections on the 2014-2015 school year.

Firstly, I am a crappy evangelist. It’s not that I don’t love talking about Jesus, I’m just not into monologuing, or steering conversations. So Jesus does not come up a lot. Strike one.

This fact also makes me a terrible missionary. It wouldn’t matter if it was Laos or Langley. I’m good with the ‘go’ command, I’m just not having any luck with the ‘make disciples’ command. The teens I run into do not want to talk about Jesus all the time, and when they don’t want to, I don’t either. Strike two.

What is Gator Shades?

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GatorShades is the name of a summer program we ran in partnership with Walnut Grove Secondary School. It was aimed at new students who are likely to get lost in the shuffle of going to the high school. For us, it was a chance to pack an entire school years’ worth of relationship building into 5 weeks.

Here is some of the feedback we received…

“I thought I’d just take a moment to let you know how much my son, Steve, is enjoying the program. Thank you very much for having him, and helping him transition to high school. Everyone I’ve talked to has commented on how they wish there had been a program when they were transitioning to high school!”

 “I just wanted to let you know how much Brad is enjoying the Gator Shades program. He’s been full of energy and excitement every day this week when I’ve picked him up. As soon as he’s in the car he shares all the cool things he has seen and done throughout the day. This is VERY uncharacteristic of him so you and your team have done an amazing job…

"Holy-Days"

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Each year, our team takes a portion of the summer months to pause and reorient ourselves for the
following school year.  Some may speak about this in terms of a vacation, but we resist the idea that we “vacate” ourselves from the source of our motivations.  Instead, we like to use the term holiday from the root “Holy-Day”. Even in our time away from the day-to-day activities, we use the time we have to regain strength for the following season by investing in our faith and our families.

As our team assembled for our first meeting after the summer, we each shared about the things we learned during our holidays and how these lessons were serving to motivate us to care for the youth that we will come in contact with during the upcoming season. We realize that for many young people the summer months mean that they have likely been separated from their community that centers on the social aspect of school.  The time with their families may have drained their soul rather than restored it.  …

The Journey Begins

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Thanks for actually reading my first letter and not letting it sit in a pile of unopened mail on your
counter! This first month working at Youth Unlimited had been fun, encouraging, challenging,
and humbling. I want this newsletter to not just be a quick update on how I am doing and what you can pray for, but I want to let you in on the story of it all too.

Let's Get Akward

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Throughout history soldiers have used battle cries as a way of embracing their mission and motivating themselves into action. The ancient Greeks shouted out the name of a female deity, Alala (which meant war cry), medieval crusaders bellowed out "Dues vult" (Latin for God wills it).

Langley Youth Unlimited

More pics from Gator Shades
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A Phone Conversation

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Lots of my time is spent grieving with youth. I know the importance of being there for them in the middle of the mess, but what I really enjoy are the times I get to see laughter instead of tears. This is a phone call I had last week with one teen I’ve spent a lot of time grieving with in the past few months:

Langley Youth Unlimited

Volunteer Opportunity: if you have an hour or 2 of free time in the next few days. We have about 200 letters that need to be stuffed and sealed and put in the mail. It's small job but would be a huge help to our staff. -Derian 604-813-1117
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Langley Youth Unlimited

5 weeks later... Our last day of Gator Shades. Hiking to Gold Creek Falls and a picnic/water fight to end the day at Alouette Lake.
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Langley Youth Unlimited

Cirque de Soleil here we come!
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Langley Youth Unlimited

Last week of our Gator Shades summer program. Today we're getting our circus on at Circus Lab
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Langley Youth Unlimited

Our summer partnership with WGSS has been one adventure after the other. These soon to be grade 8's are gonna be ready to roll come September.
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Langley Youth Unlimited

Thanks to all who came out to our Art Show in June. We sold every single piece of art and raised over $2000. Proceeds of our sales will be split between the youth artist and our art program. Youth, if you submitted art for the show please contact us to arrange pick up of your commission.
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Langley Youth Unlimited

Hello everyone! Nights alive IS running tonight from 6 to 8pm in the Langley meadows school gym! Anyone in grades 5 to 7 is welcome to come play games with us. Also, Nights Alive will be running all summer in the Langley Meadows playground and field on Friday nights :)
http://ift.tt/1xSCcvc

Langley Youth Unlimited

These are some before and after shots of our interactive art piece from our 2nd Annual Art Addicts Youth Art Show last night. Thank you so much to everyone who came!
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Langley Youth Unlimited

Our Art Show is tonight! We are so pumped! Still don't have plans? Swing on by to check out some local youth art, and help support our program! Just a reminder that parking is at CLA Church on 56th Ave (beside Langley Secondary School) with shuttle service to the event. The evening runs from 6:30-8:30pm. Silent auctions, raffles, draw prizes, and snacks. Sounds like a great evening to me!

Who Lives At Your House?

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This is a question we ask youth as we’re getting to know them. It’s a question free of assumptions about their family, allowing them to answer without shame or being boxed in. This is important because most of the youth we work with do not have a traditional family. Having a "normal" family does not mean it's healthy nor are all non-traditional families broken. Many of the youth we work with have a common theme of brokenness in their homes. When you hear their stories you begin to understand the gravity of their challenges. Often one's first response is to try to fix things and sometime it can be fixed; however, the challenges are often so much bigger than human fixes. Really, at the end of the day, teens, like anyone else, want most of all to be heard and understood; to know that they are not alone. Listen to their some of their voices...

“In order to get away from a bad situation I moved across the country to live with a parent who I’d known for only one day.”
“I don…

The Power of Perseverance

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It was ten years ago when April and I moved into Langley.  We didn’t know a single young person.  We were apart from our closest friends and family.  We didn’t know the neighborhoods. We just had a dream to see youth have the means to live a healthy life: Physically, Emotionally, Intellectually, Socially and Spiritually. We wondered if there was a place for us and for Youth Unlimited in this community.
At first things looked bright, but eventually it seemed like the dream was turning into a nightmare.  Our bus broke down, our relationships at the schools changed, the youth turned back to their old ways, our funding tanked, our programs were canceled, our family struggled, and even my health deteriorated.  It was then that we realized that God had not called us to be successful, but to be faithful. I felt a bit like Noah – spending his whole life working on a lifelong project that in the end only saved eight people.  At times it would have been easy to walk away, to admit failure and mo…

Vulnerability on Vashon

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This past weekend I spent four days at a men’s retreat at the All-Merciful Savior Monastery in Washington State partly in preparation for the youth trip I have planned for June 6th. Driving down I had no idea what to expect. I had only met Abbot Tryphon twice previously, and although he was a cordial and friendly fellow, I didn’t really know him. 
As I boarded the ferry from Seattle to Vashon Island I thought about the young people who I’d be taking with me in a few short weeks. Would they find it strange? Interesting? Would they encounter God?
As I arrived and drove up the long gravel road through the woods toward the monastery grounds it was as if I had entered another world. The church with its blue onion dome, the vegetable gardens, the chicken coop, the stone fountain, the tall cedars encircling it all. It was beautiful and pristinely quiet. The kind of quiet that gets inside of you.
I was greeted warmly by Abbot Tryphon, who has the other worldliness of Gandalf and the jolliness of…

Langley Youth Unlimited

One of or youth is putting on this event on Saturday. Check it out! http://ift.tt/1QsFkxr
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Langley Youth Unlimited

Don't forget about nights alive this Friday night from 6 to 8 in the school gym. Anyone in grades 5 to 7 is welcome to come okay gym games with us :) Also, on June 19 we will be going to Coastal Climbing in Surrey. There is information/permission forms in the Langley meadows school office.
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A Day In The Life Of

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We were at Alpha. My teens who took 4 weeks to build up the courage to step through those intimidating doors were here....and bored. They liked the Youth Alpha videos we had watched before, but we were watching the adult Alpha video this week and they couldn’t get over the 80’s hair styles and the old man with a British accent preaching. One of them grabbed my bible from the table and started leafing through the worn, scribbled on pages. 
During the discussion time after he said to me “Carmen I was looking through your bible and I was actually just reading your notes in the margins. Some of them were funny. But what I really liked was there was a part about how to treat slaves, and you had circled it, and wrote a note on the side that said “Yuck. What do I do with this?” And I just wanted to say that I really respect that about you. I’m used to Christians who blindly follow and ignore the controversial parts of the bible. It was cool to see you struggle with parts of the bible.” That l…

Ephiphanies

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I love ideas. My teammates joke that you can name any topic and I will probably have read a blog about it. I especially love when I can make a connection between two seemingly unconnected ideas. We have a word for this kind of magic - an epiphany. I had an epiphany recently. We were learning about Physical Literacy - teaching the ABC’s and 123’s of movement before assuming people can play sports or compete. The instructor had us moving around the room doing silly actions and I found myself embarrassed at being paraded around the room in front of everyone. I was so upset I left the room and hid in the office. Later the topic turned to how negative experiences can hinder our physical literacy development. Suddenly I realized my anger and embarrassment was connected to something deeper. Gym class was probably the least safe place for me. As I began to process this layer of hurt I realized how deep it ran. I saw how even now as an adult youth worker, I still avoid school gyms. The smoke pit…

SMALL STEPS AND BOARD GAMES

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It’s called ‘Heroscape’. It’s a table-top board game that looks like a fantasy videogame. Imagine small figurines of dragons, robots and aliens on a 3D game board, duking it out in a last-man-standing battle. And for the past several weeks I’ve been playing it for 4 to 5 hours a week. Why, you may ask? Because the grade eight boys I work with love it. If you want to know how to connect with kids, find out what excites them.

But, what does this have to do with youth work or Jesus?

I’ll tell you. First, it has the appeal of a video game, but it requires real-life social interaction. We are building who’ve only recently entered the socially complex world of high school and often find it hard to make friends, is critical.

Second, developing relationship is the precursor to trust, which is a must if you’re going to move past ‘surface talk’.

Third, developmentally speaking, their brains are not ready for deep discussions. That will come later. But for now I’m spending time caring for them by en…

Langley Youth Unlimited

Due to our annual Golf Tournament, there will be NO Art Addicts this Wednesday! Have a fabulous week everyone!
http://ift.tt/1xSCcvc

INCUBATING

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Tonight I sat in a room full of teenagers and listened as they reflected on the idea of suffering and death. There were times when the conversation was awkward as these youth hesitated to share their thoughts on a topic that isn’t much fun to reflect on. Yet it is discussions like this that are vital to

GOD SMILED AT IT ALL

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The lazer lights danced off of the smoke that filled the crowded gymnasium. It smelled like 500 preteens and sounded like a party. There were only two songs left before it was my turn to go on stage and my phone was buzzing in my hand.

SPIRITUAL GROWING PAINS

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Next month I’ll be taking several youth to visit a man named Abbot Tryphon, who is the head of the All Merciful Saviour Monastery near Seattle, WA. Most of these youth are not Christians, and in fact aren’t really interested in Christianity per se. And yet, as is evidenced by their continued, yet joyful pestering "When are we going to the monastery, Chris?", they are really interested in this. And I’m not entirely sure how it all came to be.

HI TEAM!

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Most of the time I take this space to tell you the stories of kids lives being transformed by the hope of Jesus. Or I share with you the struggles I’m facing while stepping into their messy lives. Well this month I thought I would share with you some of the other stuff that I do that doesn’t get talked about much.

I LOVE BEING MARRIED TO APRIL

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Aside from being involved with young people as they walk through their lives, another part of my job is to advocate for youth issues in the community through meeting with key influencers in our region. Often times I’ll sit down with these people and one of the first things they say is, "Tell me about April." It throws me off that they know my wife’s name even though they have never met me before, but I realize that the reason they ask is likely because the signature line on my email clearly states "I love being married to April".

THIS WEEK'S TOP TEN LIST (because you need to remember the wins)

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10.) When one of your youth who barely made it through school is suddenly hugging your new volunteer because she was "the best teacher they ever had."
9.) A school meeting where we brainstormed creative ways to bring more of the community into the school.
8.) When the wounded atheist youth tells you about their spiritual journey which is currently orbiting around Jesus.

MEALS NEEDED!

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We have less than two months left for our meal program before summer and are looking for volunteers to provide meals for May. If you are interested or have more questions, please email Megan at langleyyu@youthunlimited.com Our program runs on Wednesday's and the food needs to be ready and dropped off for 5:15pm. Meals need to feed approximately 30-35 youth.

Calling All Youth Workers

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We're hiring! Email us at langleyyu@youthunlimited.com to apply.

Nights Alive Reminder

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Nights Alive is running tonight from 6 to 8pm in the Langley Meadows school gym. Anyone from grades 5 to 7 is welcome to come play gym games with us.

End Exploitation Now

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The Second week of March 2015 was Stop the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Youth Awareness Week. I don't know who came up with the name but I'm guessing if you asked them they'd likely explain to you how to build a watch. Despite the long name this week has been an important one for Langley Youth Unlimited.

Back in 2007 one of our youth, a 13 year old girl, was recruited into the sex trade by her boyfriend. Recruited is likely too nice a term. At first her new boyfriend was a knight in shining armor buying her lavish gifts. He got her experimenting with drugs and began isolating her from friends and family. All the while he learned how to emotionally and psychologically control her. Six months later, heavily addicted to crystal meth, he presented her with a bill for $10,000. Along with the bill was a "job offer". I remember when she ran away. I remember when, a few weeks later, her mom found naked Craigslist ads for her daughter. Eight years later and she'…

Embracing Smallness

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This past week, I contacted thirty teens with an offer of conversation and a free lunch. It would be a time to build relationship and invest in them as people. And not one of them responded.

A few years ago our team planned a Friday night 'party in the park' event. Every Friday evening we'd pull out the BBQ, play soccer, and eat candy. Over the whole summer, maybe six youth showed up.

Sometimes youth ministry isn't as busy as you'd think. Yet, according to a recent Christianity Today article, upwards of 50% of people in ministry will experience burn out at some point in their career. Why is this? Maybe for some it's because they want to look successful, so they do more. But more often than not I believe it's because, in our compassion, we take on more than we should.

We cannot do it all. We are only part of God's plan.

There is wisdom in embracing our uniqueness, our smallness. As my parish priest, Fr. Michael, recently said, speaking of St. Paul's meta…

California Trip

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Our team made it back safe and sound from our spring breakaway in California. Thanks for the prayers. We made it back safe and sound to our loved ones. Now it is time to rest up.

Momentum Update

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"Those kids are amazing!" Tim said.

We were debriefing the launch of our new Nights Alive program and this local youth pastor could not believe how capable the Momentum students were.

Strange to think that just last year one of them was getting kicked out of school for drinking on school property, another was suffering from crippling anxiety, and a few were suicidal. Now they are a well-oiled machine, bringing fun and care to younger kids. And they are good at it.

Momentum is a peer mentorship program where teenagers are paired with a caring adult mentor who meets with them regularly. As a group the teens volunteer once a week at Nights Alive, a rec program for elementary aged kids. The teens are being poured into, pouring out into others, and being transformed in the process!

Momentum has been running out of Mountain Secondary School for three years now, and it's catching on. In the fall we were approached by a local youth pastor who wanted to take his ministry in the schoo…

Art Addicts Cancelled This Week

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Just a reminder to all the students that there is no Art Addicts this week (the 18th) or next (the 25th). Have a wonderful Spring Break, everyone!

Nights Alive

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Hey everyone! Don't forget about nights alive tonight! It is running from 6 to 8pm in the school gym! Anyone in grades 5 to 7 is welcome to come out and play gym games with us. We also have Dawn Driver guest speaking this week! For those of you wondering, this is the last week until after spring break!

Free Hotdogs

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Our friends at CLA may underestimated the demand for free hotdogs.

Making Kids Feel Special

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Youth work comes in many forms. Today our female staff hosted a girls club and worked with making these kids feel special.