Youth Group or “YG” is our powerful ministry for high school students. We invite all 9th through 12th graders to join YG regardless of church or school affiliation. YG usually meets each Sunday evening during the school year for engaging community, fellowship, spirituality, service and fun. We believe our youth are blessed with a God given desire to seek and pursue a relationship with God that is meaningful to them. If we faithfully build a community where they have an opportunity to engage our God made known in and through Jesus the Christ, they will come. For the past 19 years, they have come – in ever growing numbers. Last year, over 200 young people participated in YG and over 145 traveled with us on our mission trip. This year, we have again recruited a staff of caring young adults to be team advisors. We are committed to affording every YG fish an opportunity for meaningful, small group experiences on one of our ten teams. Our calling remains to minister to each and every young person as the infinitely valuable child of God that they are.
We aim to incorporate each of the Beacons at least once during each month. Some events are geared toward furthering Christian experience, some are geared toward service, and some are simply for fun and fellowship. Activities range from teambuilding, to vespers, to service projects, to games, to worship. As they become more involved, many YG “fish” may also choose to participate in Quest for the Spirit, Quest for Truth, Worship Team, YG Pictures, Junior Advisor Team, or as Senior Leaders.
As we strive to answer Christ’s call to serve, service is a main element to our yearly program. During the 2012-2013 year YG made meals for the Norwalk Emergency Shelter, delivered 210 Thanksgiving dinners to families in need and served the homeless in New York City shelters for a weekend. 145 high school students gave up a chance for relaxation and spent their February vacation in Puerto Rico working with Hogar Posada, a shelter for women indrug and alcohol recovery and working on two homes in the community of Toa Alta. Staff & Teams This program takes the effort of many dedicated individuals. Along with our Youth Minister and Minister for Children and Youth there are 9 part-time adult Advisors who work with the Youth Ministers to nurture and attend to the needs of each member of the youth group. All staff members receive training in ministry, are background checked and are in compliance with the church’s Safe Church Policy. A copy of the church’s Safe Church policy is available from the church office. Since YG has grown over the years, we create teams of 15 to 20 youth which are each led by an adult Advisor. Our teams draw kids into community regardless of grade, gender and social groups. Each team has an Advisor who plans weekly activities for the team members to have the chance to get together outside of the larger group of YG and have quality time with each other. The teams enable youth to make close friendships and strengthen their sense of community and connection.
Worship Team is a group devoted to exploring the art of worship music and is designed to be an accompaniment to the YG experience. Taking youth who are interested in singing or playing in a band, they lead contemporary worship services for many YG events throughout the year. Worship Team is open to all high school students and welcomes anybody who is interested in being a part of the group.
The goal of YG Pictures is to give youth an outlet to convey what the YG experience is like. Through video and other media, YGers strive to tell the story of each YG year. Youth who are interested learn about storytelling and video editing as they examine the YG experience and focus on creating a movie about the mission trip.
In the unlikely case of an emergency, parents will be contacted quickly by either the Minister for Children and Youth or the Youth Director. If the emergency pertains to a single youth, only the parents of that youth will be contacted.
All members must act in a manner consistent with the philosophy of YG. The focus of the program is on people, recreation, spiritual growth, experiential education, and teambuilding in the context of a personalized community environment. Accordingly, respect for oneself and all other group members, Ministers and Advisors is critical and essential.
For families who have children traveling on either the Ski Trip or Mission Trip, we ask that non-members or non-pledging members contribute to the funding of the program through an operating contribution. There are additional event-specific fees for both the Ski Trip and the Mission Trip.
Resources for Parents
Following are a number of resources for parents about adolescent mental health and substance abuse/prevention.