As we get ready for the new school year, I have been reflecting on my time as part of the Central youth group. I have been a part of the youth group for over half of my life. Seven years as a youth participant, three years as a volunteer, and I am starting my seventh year as the youth director. It is safe to say that the youth program at Central has had a significant impact on my life. First and foremost, my faith has grown and been shaped through my experiences and opportunities as a part of youth group. Growing up with a dad who worked at the church and a mom who was involved in seemingly everything, I never felt like my faith was truly a part of me. I would go to the youth events and I would have a good time hanging out with friends, but I never thought of my faith as a part of me. It wasn’t until I went to college that I realized how much my life had been shaped through my time in youth group. The people I chose to surround myself with shared my core beliefs that I realized were shaped in my time at Central. While I may not have realized what was happening at the time, the more I look back, the more I see the ways that Central and the youth group impacted my life.
The second way that this program has had a positive impact on my life is through the relationships I have built through the years. The two closest friendships that I have both started at Central. Through all my years at school and baseball teams that I have played on, these two friendships have been constants. I also value the relationships that I have built all around the state through the regional youth events like camp, Summit, and Midwinter. It is very comforting to know that no matter where we go, or what events we are at, I know that there are people that care for me and the youth at Central and are always willing to help. Whether it is a call/text or a visit, there are leaders that have helped me grow personally, professionally, and spiritually. That is such a blessing because I know that these same people that have supported me are excited to be a support system for all of the youth in our group.
It is really important to me that the youth at Central are provided a place where they can feel comfortable to learn, grow, and develop relationships along their faith journey. We have been blessed by youth leaders, church staff, and a congregation that share that same goal and are always there to help our youth. With all of that said, we are all excited for this upcoming year!