On Fridays after school, about a dozen pre-teens come to our house until 7pm. (I was inspired by Coralie Smart’s faithfulness in the Corrigen district.)
When inviting them, we clarify, “this is not a youth group, not a drop in centre, it’s our home. We’re not running something for you, we are inviting you to participate in our life – something far more precious.” We invite them because we have come to trust them enough, and their families trust us.
They called it “Rookies” because they are aware they have much to learn, and want to learn & discuss things with trusted adults (besides their parents). So we do life: we play yes, but also garden, prepare meals, and clean up. And after dinner, we discuss life-matters, and faith issues too. One day they will rename it to reflect their growth.
We actually started this about 5 years ago with 4 junior teens. Now 2 of those who have journeyed with us on Fridays ever since, are helping with Rookies from 5 till 7, and then we do older stuff from 730 on. They’re fantastic young adults now.And to think, there’s no way we could have run a ‘youth group’…
Cheers Family Camp was a great success again this last holidays.
8 families, 26 people, 5 days, perfect weather, a beautiful beach, campfire, and “Mr Potato-Head and The Hokey-Pokey” – er, the family times were about using the five senses in community life, and putting your whole self in. Like Jesus did – and still does!
Everyone grew in relationships with family, neighbors, and God. Beeeeyewdiful!
The Round Table grapevine is working great! The latest test was this:
We are hosting the Watoto Childrens’ Choir again this year, and had agreed to a generous offer to promote this in a glossy magazine for every household in the suburb. But when we returned from camp and two weeks away, we could see that the glossy had been delayed and with less than two weeks to go, the community would be unprepared for this gem of a family concert / community event.
So I sent an email to the Round Table, and within a day:
– the state MP had the event posted on their website,
– the newspaper had been contacted
– one man volunteered to deliver 50 posters to businesses to display in their premises
– the schools added it to their newsletters
– school staff are asking can they bring their grandparents
– the glossy may still get to the homes, albeit the day before the concert.
When it counts, I’ll go with the power of relationships over programs every time.