There will be challenges whenever you take a group of youth somewhere away - be it a relaxing retreat or a challenging service learning trip. Generally I end my programs beat and ready to remain horizontal for many hours, whilst cuddling my dog, with the intention to decompress and recharge. But I’d do it again, and again (and again) because there are some truly heart-warming, soul-filling and silly moments that I wouldn't trade for the world:
Moving boxes. Big cumbersome boxes filled with clothing donations that were hard to hold, but were better than the amorphous black garbage bags of donations. Watching those stubborn kids learn to trade off and help one another = priceless.
Watching kids warm up and talk to people during a collaborative service with Church Beyond Walls, held in an outside park in all weather. Being part of one community, creating connections with those sitting around and among them.
Learning about decades-long ministries serving the marginalized and historically unserved. Who created them, who sustains them, and who is served by them.
The discussions. Our daily debriefs are designed to process and understand what we experienced during the day. The hard conversations about our discomfort in moments of growth. Having conversations about respect and dignity.
Serving hundreds of delicious, drool-worthy meals in the span of a few short hours at a local soup kitchen. Even the quietest kid, who is the most hesitant, will leave with an exhausted pride and a contagious excitement of being part of something so large.
Evening cooking lessons for every member of the group as we work to keep ourselves nurtured and healthy. There’s no way to capture the twinkle of pride while the chefs explain their food before we pray, and the sense of camaraderie that comes from working together as a team.
Each and every one of these moments has happened in recent programs in Providence, RI. If you’re looking for something unique and special - take a look at our Youth Mission Weekends coming Winter 2024.