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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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…
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. …