I’m excited to finally share with you about the beginning of my YouthWorks summer! I’ve had so many new experiences, gone so many places, and made so many true friends that I can hardly believe it’s only been three weeks.
It all started on May 21st when I flew to Pittsburgh for five days of training, called RAMP. It was a busy week of tons of learning. We learned about YouthWorks’ values, how to work in the kitchen, how to do our specific roles, and lots of other things. The training leaders also modeled different aspects of a typical YW week, so we could experience them and know how they should look.
At RAMP, I also met my team of girls: Becca, Kortnei, and Mo. We became friends quickly, and I’m super thankful for them! We’ve had a lot of fun together while also being a powerful team. I’ve found that we are all very fit for the roles we are in, which is by God’s design, I’m sure.
After training, our team headed out in our old Grand Caravan (named Betty) and little blue car (named Little Blue) for Rutland, VT. We drove all day on Saturday, and had a great time talking and getting to know each other better.
We got to Rutland that evening. Rutland is a town of about 16,000 people. It’s very beautiful, with the Green Mountains surrounding it. Almost all the buildings and houses are charming and unique, since they are generally older than in the Midwest. We’re staying in an adorable red brick church (pictured). Although Rutland is a relatively small town, it does struggle with many big-town problems: poverty, homelessness, and drug use. We are serving here to assist the organizations that already exist to aid these problems.
Once we arrived in Rutland, we had about two weeks to set up everything we needed to have youth groups come and serve. It was a bigger task than I’d assumed it would be! We had a ton of things in storage that needed to be brought out, inventoried, cleaned, and organized. We also had a lot of cleaning to do in the church itself. Other than that, we had programming to practice, evening activities to visit, and also some down time to hang out in Rutland and with each other.
My favorite part of our prep weeks, though, was meeting with our service partners in Rutland. Because I’m the Community Service Coordinator, I get to connect with places like nursing homes, missions, and farms to learn about their needs and make sure the volunteers are filling those needs over the summer. It’s a big job, but I really love the partners I’ve met, and I’m excited to start serving them soon!
Last Thursday, we left Rutland to help a different YouthWorks site, in Warrensburg, NY. Since they have a week of youth coming before we do, we call it “early bird.” They’re in the Adirondack Mountains, which is another beautiful place. We’ve been here for the past five days, and it’s been fun to spend time with the other staff! We went shopping at Sam’s Club and Walmart for the week of programming, which was a huge job in itself. We also got to hike a mountain right behind the church we’re staying at in Warrensburg.
Then, on Sunday (just three days ago), a group of youth came for the first week of programming! I was a bit nervous, because I haven’t had experience working with middle school and high school students. Honestly, my only experience was actually being in middle school and high school, which wasn’t my favorite thing ever. However, the church group that came this week is very small, with only 16 people. I’ve gotten to talk to almost everyone, and have a great time serving alongside them this week. We’ve worked outdoors every day, helping with a lot of landscaping and gardening in the community. We’ve also had fun with cooking, hanging out, doing devos, going to outdoor activities, and having the Gathering every night.
I’m amazed at how God has worked in me to allow me to connect with these kids and have a great time with them. I see how He’s fulfilling my prayers (that started way back when I was still taking finals) to be passionate about youth. I’m excited to see what He will do with the rest of the summer!
Through all these long days and craziness, I can definitely see God’s hand working. I am constantly learning new things about myself, others, service, and the Lord. The major themes have been faithfulness in the small things, and being content in any situation. I’m finding that ministry is comprised of millions of small details that can feel simultaneously insignificant and overwhelming. Through this, God has taught me to serve humbly and persevere through tasks I simply don’t like, because He holds the bigger picture. He knows the final impact.
Although this post may have made my summer sound pretty perfect, I would like prayer for a few things. These days are incredibly long, and I need strength and energy to stay on top of everything. I keep praying that God would help me to want to do all that is required of me. You can also pray that I can focus on Him throughout every day. It’s weird, but even though my job is ministry this summer, it’s easy to just do it as a job and forget about the power, motivator, and reason behind it all: Jesus. Pray for the perseverance of me and my teammates! We will be getting our first week of youth participants this Sunday (June 17th), but also need to set up a lot more at the church to be ready for them. Pray also for the community of Rutland, the youth and leaders who will come, and all the service we’ll be able to do!
Thank you for reading this rather long update, for being in my life, and for your prayers! Overall, I am so glad that I’m doing a YouthWorks summer, and joyful about what God’s already done through it. It is my prayer that he receives great glory from this summer in Rutland and beyond!
Hello! I'm Anna, a college student living in the Midwest. I'm a strong believer in uncontrollable laughter, powerful words, and a morning cup of coffee. I pray these posts will encourage you to live a full life with and for God: unhindered. Look forward to new posts every Monday morning!