Area youth group kicks off Sept. 29Published 10:50pm Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Southwest Michigan churches will kick off a collaboration that has been more than nine months in the making.
Area pastors have been struggling to find a safe place for youth without the confines of the traditional church. While the planning and leadership preparation took months, the first monthly event is slated for 6 p.m. Sept. 29 at Crystal Springs Campground. Organizers of W.A.Y. — West Michigan Area Youth, which borrows its name from the book of ACTS — are expecting about 100 teens.
“They don’t have to register or anything, we just want give them a place to come together,” said Silver Creek and Keeler Township pastor Heather McDougall said. “We’ve got a few churches with larger youth groups that joined.”
Leaders from area churches include Dan Colthorp, of St. Joseph United Methodist Church; Geeta Curtis, of Scared Heart Catholic Church; Nick Lesch, of Stevensville United Methodist Church; McDougall, of Keeler and Silver Creek United Methodist churches; Brad Yazel, of Sacred Heart Catholic Church; and A.C.T.I.O.N (Area Churches in One Network) of Dowagiac. The leaders involved will bring their individual church’s youth group to participate.
Lesch, who originally began forming the idea with McDougall over coffee months ago, said the inspiration for such a group came from n popular ’80s gathering, Christian Youth Ministry (CMY).
“It was an opportunity to share what God is doing and I thought it was a really cool thing,” Lesch said. “The sign above the door said ‘Leave your rivalries outside,’ and we want that with W.A.Y.”
The kick-off event, and subsequent events, will take place at Crystal Springs, something McDougall said was a dream for Jeff Parsons, who was formerly affiliated with the campground.
“It was always a dream of mine to see a youth group develop out at Crystal Springs,” Parsons said.
Now, organizers are working to get the word out.
“We wanted to find a purpose for this and find what attracts kids,” McDougall said.
The first gathering will offer hot dogs, chips and beverages while providing games and music. Beginning at 6 p.m., teens will be welcomed, followed by sports for seniors and music for juniors. Then the groups will switch, with juniors taking up the evening’s sport and seniors winding down with relevant music. A wrap-up with a fire and s’mores will end the evening around 9 p.m.
According to McDougall, the leadership team remains open to all, regardless of denominational affiliation. For information , contact Nick Lesch at (269) 429-1069 or McDougall (269) 782-7061.
Tags: West Michigan Area Youth