For years, we have offered our Teen Staff program to high school students. It has been said to be one of our greatest strengths. This program is one element of our high school ministry. We believe, as many of you have said, that this program is a rich program that contributes to the spiritual growth of our teens in a way no other program can.
As a result, we are dramatically expanding our Teen Staff program, not only at camp but also throughout the ministry of Youthfront. With the expansion of Middle School Camp programs moving to both Youthfront locations, the launching of a new Day Camp Program, the expansion of our Something to Eat initiative and other programs being developed, more opportunities are available for teenagers to serve. And, we can involve a lot more high school students in our Teen Staff program each week! It's a great win-win!
In order to grow, we have to fund this program. As with any program, Teen Staff requires significant resources to operate. To help us offset the significant ministry costs, we are creating a Teen Staff Fund where donors can sponsor a Teen Staffer. We need to fund each position at $100 per week. Teen Staff students are covering the first amount by contributing $25, leaving $75 that we need you to fill. Your $75 donation sponsors a Teen Staff position for one week. We have 700 positions to fill for the summer at all our camp locations. We need you. Will you consider sponsoring one week (or more) for a gift of $75 per week?
For years, we have offered our Teen Staff program to high school students. It has been said to be one of our greatest strengths. This program is one element of our high school ministry. We believe, as many of you have said, that this program is a rich program that contributes to the spiritual growth of our teens in a way no other program can. As a result of these dynamic realities, we are dramatically expanding our teen staff program, not only at camp but also throughout the ministry of Youthfront. Remember, our teens want and need to make a difference—this program allows that to happen. It is important for us to provide as many teens with the opportunity to do this. Now, with the expansion of middle school camp programs moving to both Youthfront locations, the launching of a new Day Camp Program, the expansion of our Something to Eat Initiative and other programs being developed, more opportunities for kids to serve are available. And, we can involve a lot more high school students in our teen staff program each week! It’s a great win-win! Now Meet two new Youthfront staff members who will be working year round with our Teen Staff youth.
"Even though I wouldn't have predicted that this would be my career path when I first started studying engineering at Iowa, I am confident that my new role of leading and walking alongside these students at Youthfront is the intersection where my passion has met God's will for ministry in my life." - Mac Maser Learn more about Mac here.
"I don't take it lightly that I get the honor and responsibility of being a person who gets to pour into these people for so many hours this summer. I am so ready to learn their names, hear their stories, and soak up all the beautiful things they have to offer this world." - Haley Stafford Learn more about Haley here.
Cal Farley’sis an internationally renown residential community near Amarillo, Texas open to at-risk children ages 5 to 18. It is one of the best programs in the world for helping at-risk youth. Mike Wilhelm, Senior Chaplain at Cal Farley's, is a good friend and donor of Youthfront. Mike has brought several Youthfront staff to Cal Farley's for training staff. He has also brought Cal Farley residents to Youthfront camps. Mike is a giant of a man and an amazing spiritual leader. Mike launched a program called the Iona Project that is making a big impact.
The Iona Project is an innovative youth ministry internship at Cal Farley's (paid with benefits and housing). The program is currently in its third year. Participants live life together as an intentional community-- -fixed hour prayer - a weekly community meal - weekly spiritual formation - cutting edge trauma-informed childcare training - and soul-shaping Boys Ranch youth ministry responsibilities! Here's an important feature: The Iona community is comprised of 6 members: 3 gals and 3 guys. It is a one-year commitment with one guy and one gal being selected each year for a second year, to join with the 4 new incoming members. So there's an overlap built into the program that gives the community a seamless nature. Thus the beauty of the program is that it has great stability while at the same time considering the nomadic nature of unmarried millennials. Here's a sample of the things they do: Lectio continua: The community's 9-month consecutive read through entire Bible; Weekly lectio divina, utilizing the church calendar RCL readings; Group spiritual reading of Bonhoeffer's, "Life Together"; Group Enneagram work; No less than 56 hours of childcare training, that includes Life Space Crisis Intervention (LSCI) and Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT). Participants present a year-end reflection paper to the Cal Farley's leadership group. Those completing all requirements of the program receive a “Certificate in Spiritual Formation & Youth Ministry” from the Cal Farley’s Childcare Institute. Mike is currently recruiting now for 2017. If you know young adults who are looking for an amazing, challenging, yet rewarding opportunity, have them contact Mike Wilhelm - firstname.lastname@example.org
My first year on Teen Staff was the summer before my sophomore year. I had heard about it from a friend of mine. Before she told me about it, I didn’t know Youthfront camps existed, but after listening to her talk about her experiences, I knew it was something that I needed to be a part of. My first summer, I dove in head first and volunteered for five weeks. My life changed my first week of Teen Staff. It was during that first week that I truly felt The Lord’s presence in my life. The spiritual formations that we do everyday have helped me learn how to set aside time during the day to be in the Word and also how to find God in everything.
One other important thing that I have learned through my experience is how to live in a community with other people. I have been blessed to be able to spend these past three summers surrounded by other believers. Every person at camp is there for a common purpose, and that is to worship God through service. I have learned so much from the people around me, whether it is a Summer Staffer sharing a life experience with me, or a fellow Teen Staffer sitting down with me and just talking about life and Jesus. Youthfront is not just a camp; it is a community of encouragement.
Teen Staff is one of the hardest things I have ever done both emotionally and physically. We work…A LOT, but it is the most rewarding work I have ever done. I have learned a lot about myself through this program. I have learned that praising God through service is one of the greatest feelings in the world. Also, that God definitely places people in our lives for a reason. Finally, I have learned that God can truly be seen in everyone and everything, and that it is definitely possible to survive on ZERO sleep and crummy camp coffee.
So, I guess to sum it up, God is good and His hand is definitely in Teen Staff and throughout the rest of the camp. The Lord has created such a special place in the middle of nowhere Kansas, and it is only through His grace that I have been able to be a part of it.
MaryJane Palodichuk, Teen Staff at Youthfront Camp West
Save the date for our last training session of the school year! Dr. Jason Lief will be with us to talk about "Poetic Youth Ministry," and will explore the issue of young people and faith, specifically focusing on the various responses of the Christian community to the research suggesting young people are leaving the church.
Don't miss this opportunity and register now for this session!
Jason Lief teaches Theology and Youth Ministry at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa. He is also the founder and director of The Prairie Project—a week long ministry event that introduces high school students to the diverse culture of Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Jason is the author of the book Poetic Youth Ministry: Learning to Love Young People by Letting them Go and is currently writing a book focusing on the intersection of Theology and Heavy Metal music. Jason is married to Tamara and they have three kids: Naomi (13), Christian (11), and Savannah (8).
Session 1: “I Didn’t Know we had a Pool”: Taking WALL-E to Youth Ministry
This session will explore the issue of young people and faith, specifically focusing on the various responses of the Christian community to the research suggesting young people are leaving the church. Using the film WALL-E this session with explore the social and cultural issues that impact religious belief. This discussion will provide the framework for a “poetic” form of youth ministry that is informed by a particular way of thinking about what it means to be the “church”.
Session 2: The Politics of Poetic Youth Ministry
This session will focus on the practical side of a “poetic” approach to youth ministry. What are the issues young people struggle with in the West? How do young people form and shape an identity? How can the Christian community engage in a form of ministry that invites young people to embrace their humanity in the new humanity of Jesus Christ? Using insights from theology, cultural theory, and philosophy this session will explore the practical wisdom at the center of a poetic approach to youth ministry that provides the basis for formative practices and a political approach to pastoral care.
Date: Thursday, April 7, 9:00a – 1:00p, lunch included
The community at LaCygne made me feel safe and comfortable.
People were checking on me and inviting me to activities. I felt like I could walk up to anyone, start a conversation and they would accept me. I want to go back because I loved the experience of community and getting to know others more.
I also really like the environment - especially the Snack Shack and the Blob which were amazing!
I plan to be a volunteer next summer and help create community for others.
I went to LaCygne by myself and didn't really know anyone. It was a chance to meet new people - a lot to do every day and I loved that the activities were optional.
One night after an evening gathering, they surprised us with the "Fugitives" game. It required us to run around in the pitch black dark, looking for clues and avoiding the other team. The combination of the surprise factor (out of the ordinary) and the high stakes made it feel like the Hunger Games. It was really awesome, we were scared and laughing at the same time!
Fugitives actually helped me bond with some other girls and I made life long friends.