Our whole youth and their mentors (well, those who are present)
A portion of the 7th grade youth
Except for the fact that I am in two of them, I love these pictures! Our church has a great youth program that consists of several different groups. It starts when a kid is in the 5th grade. They can belong to Club 56. Club 56 is for 5th and 6th graders. We do about 5 or 6 events a year that consist of bowling, dinner and a movie, and the best one which is purchasing and filling stockings for and delivering them to the Presbyterian Assisted Living facility in the area. They have the most fun with that one. There is a confirmation group and the high school group. This year we had to start a 7th grade group. The amount of 7th graders in our church (or whatever grade this group is in at the time) outnumbers all other age groups by about 15 kids. It is really weird. Ryan falls into this group. Last year they were part of the Club 56 group and they were too big to go in with the confirmation group--which is what typically happens with the 7th graders. So, they have their own group this year and hopefully next year we will have enough mentors for them to be in confirmation. :)
Each year, during Superbowl time, our high school youth participate in the Souperbowl of Caring (a national online contest to see what church, in what state, can raise the most and then it is tallied all together to see what the nation earns). This year, they asked us all to get on board with the project. We met and planned our fundraising and food raising plans. Decided where to donate everything and showed the kids (the best way we could) what it meant to be hungry. While our kids will not ever truly know that, the exercise was really neat. We had soup and sandwiches for lunch and donated all of our fundraising and food raising to First Step (a battered women's shelter in our area) and the MPC food pantry that is within our church and serves those who need it every Wednesday night. We all lit candles to commemorate our kickoff and to honor those who are less fortunate.