Showing posts from October, 2016

Langley Youth Unlimited

We were honored to be nominated for a community impact award through the Langley Chamber of Commerce. To even be mentioned alongside other great businesses and agencies was a privilege that we will not take for granted. We are proud to be a part of the community of Langley and look forward of many more years of working to make it an even better place to live. We're not in this work to win awards but it was amazing to have community recognition. Thank you to whomever thought us worthy enough to even nominate us.

Hit the Ground Running

The summer has come and gone in a giant whirlwind. With the new school year here, we have been preparing for a few changes for the coming school year.

I am continuing to run a gym blast program at lunch period at the new middle school in the area. This helps continue to foster relationships with students and teachers in the school. This includes working in partnership with the school to help provide more opportunities for students to have healthy and safe interactions with adults and to provide programs where students can feel safe.

The biggest change that is coming this fall is starting up a mobile drop in centre for middle school aged students in the area. The goal is to provide them with a safe place with good adult role models around that they can trust. This new program will be a great asset to the community since there are not many options or programs for young students to attend at this point in time, especially if they are not involved in after school programs that are provid…

Long-Term Investments

One of the challenges of our work that’s subtly different than working with youth in a church is that beyond the relationships we have with youth, we don’t have a natural feeder system for our programs. In a church, parents are usually encouraging or even mandating their kids to go to youth group. For a community youth worker, the typical reason kids are coming is because of their relationship with you, your volunteers or your youth. This means that almost every September we see a drop in attendance because a bunch of youth have graduated and we don’t have that freshman surge of new youth yet. They don’t come because we likely haven’t met them yet. Our programs are almost always a couple of years away from becoming a ghost town.

  For this reason, I always encourage our staff to spend a lot of time with the grade 8’s and 9’s or even younger. That can be hard when the deeper relationships and conversations typically happen with older students and so it feels more “productive” to foc…

Take A Risk

One of my roles on our team is to lead the Creative Life program, which is a weekly after school art club that we host. The point of this program is to provide a space of connection, to encourage creativity and to foster conversation about life through the use of the arts.

  Getting some of these youth to participate in the creative component can be challenging.  Many people have a hard time accepting themselves as artists because they compare to what others can do or get frustrated that the vision in their head is not what comes out on paper.  However, part of my job is to model a healthy approach to challenge.  And so I dive into art projects that stretch me, not only to try it, but to complete it. Some of these things are hard and it would be easier to give up.

  When we get past our frustrations and complete something, even if it is not perfect, we can build self-confidence.  We need self-confidence to not only make it as artists, but also to function in life.  At that point we c…

Introducing: Hugo

Name: Hugo Archambault
Title: Community Youth Worker
Start Date w/ YU: August 2016
Favourite Part of Working w/ Langley YU: Getting to serve the Lord alongside people who are passionate about loving teens.
What Brought Me to the Team: Over the past 5 years I have been involved in many types of ministry, from church groups, summer camps to para-church organizations. After hearing what YU was doing in Langley, I had to check it out! I attended a few of their art programs and fell in love with what they were doing and wanted to be a part of it.

Spouse: Kendra
Date I Was Married: Jun. 17, 2016
Where I Grew Up: Laval, Quebec
High School: Caronport High School

Spare Time Activities: Hockey, adventures with my wife
Food: Pizza
Book of the Bible: John
Movie: Home Alone

Signs from the Homeless

It’s an interesting thing to put your feelings on a sign and hold it up for the community to see. Their faces, the way their eyes move over your features, and then the emotions. By gods, the emotions. It was almost overwhelming; pity, shame, anger, fear. It goes on, and on, and on. It’s amazing how people think, so different from yourself.

  I’m sure you’ve heard of what we’ve done, but to sum it up, we brought awareness to homeless people by writing our own signs and standing outside and letting the community take it from there.

  I was standing with two of my friends, at a crosswalk. One held a sign that said “Even Our Demons Need Love,” whilst mine said “I lost the will to live for nearly three years.” It says a lot, just those small phrases, and many people reacted with contempt or irritation towards us. I’d like to say that it’s because we were standing at a crosswalk, and we did manage to block up traffic at most points, but it was because they stopped to read our signs, not …

Prayer Requests

- pray for the students that we will come in contact this school year - pray for wisdom for our staff as we walk alongside them and for positive transformation in their lives

- as we step into the start of our programs, pray for peace within our staff

- praise God that our new staff, Rachel, has been able to begin working at 2 days a week!

- pray for our staff candidates, who continue to fundraise

- praise God for the favour we have received from the schools we are privileged to walk through

Thoughts On Savannah

Writing newsletters is one of the weirdest parts of our jobs. We have to find a way to make a subtle brag about our work in order to truly show the people who make it possible (you) that God is doing amazing things at Langley YU. It’s a lot easier, however, to brag about our coworkers. This last year I have seen Savannah do amazing work at Youth Unlimited. She has a strong core group of youth who continually come to her for advice and support. She talks openly about her faith and isn’t afraid of telling people how much her faith means to her. I know that Savannah is doing the work that God desires of her, and she’s doing it well. That’s why I support her $100 every month. It’s not because I have a bunch of extra money, it’s because I see her walking where Jesus is leading her and doing what she was made to do. And that’s why you should support her too. Maybe it’s $5 a month or maybe it’s $5000, I don’t know. But I do know you should consider it.

- Thomas Murtland

Hello! My name is Jo…

The Start of Fall

I was warned heading into this summer that the summertime is a very different season of youth work. My natural assumption was that with the more time that teens had free, the easier it would be to hang out. My, much more experienced, co-workers told me that I was wrong. While school was out, a lot of teens kept quite busy. Summer is also a time when our programs take a break to regroup and prepare for the year ahead, so we spend a lot more time at our desks and in conversations and prayer.

   In an adventure-ish spirit, a co-worker and I decided to try to combat this lull in youth work by running a Youth Alpha program for the youth in our programs who had recently expressed interest in getting to know Jesus better or getting to know about Jesus for the first time. As all people expect the first time they run a program, we expected more people than we should have. However, over the summer the consistent group of teens that showed up week after week stunned me in their desire to dig…

Friends and Family

I found this summer went by quite quickly for me.

In July, I was fortunate enough to be a part of the Gator Shades program run at Walnut Grove Secondary School. This program is set up as a transition piece for students in grade 7 who are entering into grade 8 in the fall. Elementary schools work to identify some students who will likely be lost or struggle with the transition coming into a large school (1900+ students this year). The students then apply to enter this program that is run by the school with a few teachers and supported by Youth Unlimited. The program combines some practical pieces, such as learning their way around the school, how to use a lock, where their classes are, etc., with lots of fun activities. Activities like out trips to the Circus Lab, Salmon farm, a rescue animal farm, mini golf, as well as art projects and activities hosted by us. It also provides a setting for the students to learn and grow socially, making new friends before the first day of school.


What I Have Been Up To!

Hello everyone! I thought I would use my September newsletter to give you an exciting update! Thanks to your support I am currently at two days a week! I will give you an overview of how I spent my weeks this summer.

I would often be making calls in the day, setting up meetings or just thanking you for your support. I never thought I had it in me to make so many phone calls but I proved myself wrong. It has been challenging to stare at the list of names and know that I need to get through all of them. As I fought the mental battles and thoughts of failure, I continued to press on with diligence. Thanks to your
generosity through prayer, finances or an encouraging word, I have reached my first goal.

As I have gone through the list of people who I know, I have come to a place where I must ask these people for referrals. It is incredible to see who I have been able to meet through this process and I feel blessed to have these new people come along side me.

As well as calls and meetings,…

Thriving in the Desert

In my last letter I wrote about how, like the Israelites, the wilderness is a more common experience for myself than those promised land moments. It’s funny how that letter has shaped my summer. A few hours after I wrote it, I received a call from Daybreak Bible Camp asking me to consider speaking for a week. I decided the best way to say “No” was to read them my letter. Who wants a
spiritual wet blanket for a teen camp speaker? Fortunately, it didn’t work out the way I thought it would. So the last week of August, the boy’s and I packed up, kissed Allison goodbye and headed off on our summer camp adventure. Can you guess what message God gave me to speak to 95 teens? Yup! God expanded that one-page prayer letter into a week’s worth of rich talks.

Honestly, that week at camp was the most encouraging week of ministry I’ve experienced this year. Most of my time is spent in schools where we don’t talk about Jesus. Coming to our programs are mostly with community youth who only want Jesu…

The Art of Coaching

This past year I was involved in coaching my son’s little league baseball team. I enjoyed developing a sense of team with these young and energetic boys.  There were also times when it could be frustrating that the boys seemingly forgot the skills that we practiced and have them completely forget these things during the actual game. As the coach, I could not play the game for them. Despite the practice, and the plans I made, the reality was that the actual outcome was out of my control.  I felt at times as though being a coach was little more than being a spectator with a better seat.

Perhaps there is someone in your life for whom you are in a coaching role.  It could be a co-worker, a child, a friend, a client or anyone else.  How do you handle it when you see things slipping out of control?  Do you rush in to save the day or do you let them fail?  Do you lecture them about responsibility or let them face the natural consequences?

How is that working?  How are they responding to you…

Realizations of a Wannabe Youth Worker

As a teen involved with the staff and programs at Youth Unlimited for the past 3 years, I was nervous about joining the team as an intern. My biggest fear was that I would to be treated like a kid instead of a full team member. These worries were quickly removed when I was asked to help with a variety of projects I would have never imagined doing. I was able to engage in fundraising for coworkers, be apart of preparing for major projects that are starting up in the fall, and was assigned normal, everyday tasks that youth workers have to do on a regular basis. I really felt like a part of the team.

  Out of everything, fundraising was my favorite. Now, it could be because going out for coffee is one of my favourite ways to pass the time, but when going for coffee is combined with talking about how Langley Youth Unlimited staff made an impact in my life, I get really excited. Of course sharing my story with random strangers can be a tad bit nerve-racking, but it also meant that more s…

Introducing: Rachel

Name: Rachel Tapp
Title: Youth Worker
Start Date w/ YU: May 2016
Favourite Part of Working w/ Langley YU: The supportive team
What Brought Me to the Team: The youth pastor at my church wanted to be sure that I liked working with youth before helping at the church youth group. He had me attend a drop in program at Walnut Grove Secondary. Over time I met the YU staff that worked there and did a practicum with them the
following fall. I volunteered with them for approximately two years.

Where I Grew Up: Aldergrove
High School: DW Poppy
Post-Secondary: Trinity
Western University (Sociology)

Spare Time Activities: Seeing friends, visiting the nuns, long boarding and chin-ups
Food: Donuts and strawberry milkshakes
Book of the Bible: Romans and Deuteronomy
Movie: Me, Earl and the Dying Girl and 9

Langley Youth Unlimited

Hey friends. We have a new mobile drop-in center program starting in a couple weeks. It will be hosted out of a utility trailer and we need a vehicle to pull it to Yorkson Middle School on Friday evenings. Anyone willing to drag a trailer around for us or know if a cheap (or free) vehicle we can acquire to make this program a reality? Please let us know ASAP. Thanks!