I started working as the youth director almost exactly 5 years ago, just after the birth of my first child. I had worked with teens for years before, but never had the opportunity to stay with the same group of kids for more than a year or two. What a gift, to watch young people grow into themselves, to watch them explore different beliefs and identities, and learn who they are through the experiences life hands them. I have seen this diverse group of personalities — young people many of whom would not naturally cross paths in high school — form solid and trusting bonds with each other. I have seen them support each other through difficult ethical and emotional situations– offering a positive challenge to each other to rise above petty meanness and the easy way to out and instead asking each other to do the right thing, be courageous and trustworthy. There has been a lot of laughter, and some tears too. There has been creativity beyond my hopes, intellectual debate beyond their years, and a sense of belonging that I believe these youth will take with them throughout their lives as adults.
I am honored to have played this small role in their lives, knowing they have taught me as much as I have taught them. I want to thank all the parents of these young people- for your trust in me and for raising some truly exceptional kids. And I want to thank Trinity, for the support and love they have always offered, that has helped these young people know they belong.
And to each young person who has ever showed up at one of our meetings– Thank you for being who you are. For bringing your authentic self to the table– telling us what you think, how you feel, how your week was. Engaging with each other and being true friends to each other. Together we have built a community and that community exists– even when people graduate, and even when I am no longer the youth director. Because it is based on mutual care and concern, and that bond can not be broken. Use the facebook group we created. Lean on each other, not just when you are at church, but in the years to come, as this time in your lives will never be repeated but it will always be uniquely significant. You are individuals who together make a pretty amazing and beautiful whole.
With peace in my heart,