Middle School Youth Group
Middle School YG (MSYG) meets weekly during Family Night on Wednesday evenings, 7:00-8:00 pm. The evening starts with dinner, from 6:00-7:00 pm, where the youth can either sit with their families, sit as a groups together, or interact with attendees younger and/or much older than themselves. It has a definite family feel. MSYG is then a time for just middle school (grades 6-8) youth and their adult leaders to gather for playing games, learning lessons about life, and listening to each other’s highs and lows for the week. Due to the large number of school districts represented by church membership and the Family Night ministry, our youth get to build relationships with youth they normally don’t get to see often.
Middle School Mission Trip
This was the first year everything was supposed to be normal for the Middle School Mission Trip. The week started with a tornado warning, causing us to delay unpacking, but it put us in a situation to meet new people quicker. Our daily schedule was breakfast devotions, worksites, afternoon activity, free time, dinner, then The Gathering, which was like a Sunday School church. The theme for the week “You Are Here” was described as “To find a purpose in the place you are and why you are here.” -YouthWorks Devotion book.
One of the worksites visited frequently was the Salvation Army, where we worked with kids below the poverty line and helped them find their way to God. The other major worksite visited was Catholic Charities, where we organized chairs, tables, cribs, dishes, boxes and clothes for refugees. At Franciscans Kitchen, we prepared and delivered meals to the homeless and disabled. Usually, we would work from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.
Afternoon activities were always highly anticipated and were always fun. The first day, we took a pedestrian bridge across the Ohio river to get treats in Indiana. Tuesday, we went to Bernheim Forest, which is known for its forest giants. Wednesday, we visited the Kentucky Derby Museum where we met a winning horse of a Kentucky Derby. A highlight throughout the week was throwing Darl’s frisbees.
On the last day of the mission trip, the fire alarm went off and everybody rushed to the parking lot. In the end, it was a blessing because everyone stood outside and line danced in the parking lot. Even though the changes were unexpected, they made the week more interesting and fun.
High School Youth Group
HSYG (for grades 9-12) gathers Sunday evenings, 6:00-8:00 pm, to grow in relationship with God and each other. Our high school youth ministry offers a wide range of programs and activities designed to engage youth right where they are and develop a faith that they can see in their everyday lives. Our program draws from at least seven different high schools in the area, bringing together teens from all over the northwest suburbs of Chicago. By the time they are graduating high school seniors, our high school youth will have been challenged in their faith, served others in mission, and made friendships that will last a lifetime.
High School Mission Trip
This summer our high school youth group trip was to
the Montreat Youth Conference in Montreat, North
Carolina. The week-long conference was centered around this year’s theme of “In.Joy”. We discussed the unique nature of joy, its role in community and the complications of joy in difficult times. Each day, our students attended morning keynote, small group meetings, community activities and evening worship. Small groups combined youth from different churches, with community activities bringing together multiple small groups.
Over two hundred conference attendees gathered together at keynote and worship for speakers, songs and dancing. Evening activities included square dancing, inflatable obstacles courses, s’mores and more. Wednesday afternoon our group took a hike up Lookout Trail, which climbs over 625 feet above Montreat. Thanks to the support of First Pres, our youth were able to learn, worship and grow our community in such a special place.
CollegeCARE connects young adults
CollegeCARE is our ministry for college-age youth and their families. We are focused on continuing to grow relationships with God, the church, and each other. We connect through preparing and sending care packages; gatherings and activities over holiday and summer breaks; service projects and mission trips; and ongoing contact through social media and phone calls. All of this is designed to let the college youth know that while they may not frequently be physically at the church, they are still very much a part of it.