February for the youth group was full of fun and fellowship.

We started the month by power-planning for a much-needed lock-in. I wish Sunday School was more attended but that would mean less family time in the morning for youth and more rushing kids out the door for just another activity for parents. Instead, I eagerly await them to come hangout before the late service. This particular Sunday I was approached by a Youthling to let me know how we all need to get together and plan out some events.

Thus, began the repurposing of the CtK Youth Group for 2019! We corralled the other youth attending church after the service for a much-needed planning party in the youth room. We were able to figure out which days I could bring pizza to their school, and that led to 4 pizza days in February! Two days at Durango High School and two days at Escalate. With youth group moved back to Friday’s, we are able to spend time together talking, praying, venting, offering advice, and genuinely fellowshipping together.

The lock-in we had planned in December was unfortunately cancelled. But the youth really wanted to have a lock-in when they could relax but also have fun (and to take it easier on the messy games!). With that information, I was able to create a quick handout for the youth to pass out to advertise the lock-in with their friends. The first pizza event to DHS, I met with some youth and their friends in the cafeteria where we made more friends by sharing all the delicious food I had brought. Everyone was able to have a slice as long as they took a flyer also. Then I took pizza to Escalate and met so many middle schoolers! At this point I have gotten to know the school faculty pretty well and have been enrolled in their system as a frequent guest!

Due to the last-minute nature of planning the lock-in, finding chaperones was a struggle!! Not many Safe-Haven-approved volunteers were able to come to the church for a fifteen-hour youth event. (Lesson learned!) I was not able to bring the pizza for the second time to the high school so I had it delivered to our most trusted youthling to share. The next day was her birthday, so I made sure to bring her favorite Starbucks drink to school; then I picked up more pizza, and headed to Escalate where the staff politely asked if I was going to regularly bring pizza for my youth group. I let her know probably not, this was for a special occasion, and even Dominos pizza gets expensive after a while! Apparently, by bringing pizza to Escalate, I was unknowingly pulling too many middle schoolers from the cafeteria lunch and wasting their food! (Another lesson learned!).

The lock-in itself was awesome. We began with a simple prayer, went over the rules for the evening, ate (and ate and ate and ate), then we went to Chapman hill for Disco Night early enough before all the good skate rentals were gone! You would think as an adult, ice skating with teenagers for 2 hours might be rough; however, I could not have had more fun!

Back at the church, I donned my favorite dinosaur onesie and the youth quickly began their adventures! Some finished dinner, some played games, some put on their jammies and the other begins hoarding snacks. (Yes, I don’t get it either. But that’s why I call them my youthling’s – and just pretend they are my baby penguins hoarding their favorite pebbles.) I know that many are dismayed by the loss of Children’s World. I hope it brings you joy to know that the youth used most of the area for many, many rounds of Sardines! We gladly used the spaces to hide throughout most of the night!

In a world where Kardashian/Jenner drama is considered news, I find it even more important to stop and enjoy each day of our lives. I don’t want to be King Solomon in Ecclesiastes; I want our youth to grow up appreciating every day. I want them to stop worrying about college IN MIDDLE SCHOOL! I want them to learn love and kindness for one another, and goodness! I want kids to stop believing suicide is their only way out. I want these children of God to have a good-clean-family-friendly release to all the terrible junk they have to manage in life. Just for fun, one day put yourself in a youthling’s shoes and try to manage: peer pressure, parent pressure, media pressure, expectations from peers, parents, teachers and family, teen suicide, drugs temptation, drinking temptation, teen pregnancy, body shaming, bullies, honor roll, varsity teams, financial distress, friendships, relationships, avoiding predators, all while trying to have a happy, normal home life and hoping to get into a good college someday.

So keep praying for our youth. Keep praying for their parents. And keep praising God for such an amazing Pastor Tim!

(Oh, and please donate more beanbag chairs for more lock-ins!)

(Oh, and please consider being a youth chaperone! I need more volunteers!!!)