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They said it couldn’t be done. They said it was crazy. They said no one could face the pressure. They may have been right, but we went for it anyway.
Let me tell you about the 56 Day Away.
10 hours…8 leaders…4 vans…40 5th and 6th graders.
This full day was the kickoff to begin this school year’s adventures for our PRiSM 56 program at Pulpit Rock Church.
I and the other leaders who hang out with this great group of kids on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights, began this all-day adventure with excitement in our hearts, a bit of anxiousness in our minds and a first aid kit in our possession.
We started in the Student Center with group games with this spirited group of boys and girls and then split into four teams to pile into the vans!
We headed out to Fox Run Park for some sun-shiny goodness playing kick-ball, volleyball, hiking and just plain frolicking.
After a picnic lunch we set out on an amazing scavenger hunt across the city; sending us to parks, churches, parking lots, and even some PRC homes! These kids were in the competitive zone! As some of the kids on my van shouted “go, go!” each time we hopped back in to head out to the next location provided by our clue – they were “ALL IN”!
Next we hit the miniature golf course for a rousing round of putt putt and lastly we ventured back to the church for a movie, devotion and pizza dinner.
What a day!
I can tell, you, I was truly exhausted beyond the regular level of exhaustion. Like, maybe what it would feel like to be pulled behind a moving train while you’re trying to stay on your feet! Well, maybe not that bad, but truly, REALLY tired.
Why in the world did I volunteer to do this? I asked myself as I propped my feet up on my bed late that night and put a heating pad on my achy muscles.
Because even after the craziness of the day, the oscillating attitudes of the puberty stricken children, the smell of pungent youngsters in the van, it had been SO worth it.
Because these 11-12 year olds are going through some of the most difficult years of their life. And I decided somewhere along the way that I want to be a part of that, no matter how messy, frustrating, exhausting and smelly it might be.
I overheard a well-meaning friend say the other day, “What can these kids possibly know about true hardships and heartbreak at this young age?” And while it’s true that they may not experience the true life-threatening type of day to day life situations that many kids across the world do, their experiences are real.
As adults we can’t possibly know what it feels like to be a 5th or 6th grader today. But we do remember that it wasn’t easy. Now more than ever we are seeing kids struggling in our community and I made a choice to be a part of the support they need.
I want to give them my time, my attention and my face. To be present – to show up in their lives. Is this because I’m an amazing selfless person? Or because I have oodles of vast knowledge to offer to these kids? NO! Of course not!
One of my favorite passages from a parenting book called, Don’t Miss It by Reggie Joiner, reads:
“The future of children is built on what you give them over time. Kids don’t experience worth because they are shown affection once, but by unconditional LOVE over time. Kids are not motivated to change their lifestyle by one phrase, but when they hear consistent WORDS over time. Kids don’t understand the world through a single event, but through a collection of stories over time. Kids don’t know they belong because of a special initiation but by feeling welcome in a TRIBE over time. Kids don’t find significance through accomplishing a task, but by doing meaningful WORK over time. Kids don’t discover how to enjoy life because of one thrilling moment but by experiencing joy and FUN over time.”
So while one fantastic event like the 56 Day Away might not change lives, it CAN be a part of something that does.
And so we will be there for these kids over the long haul. Through the junk and the attitudes and the tone and the bad choices and stank-eye faces. And all the great stuff too.
We would love to have you along for the ride! If you feel God tugging at your sleeve, take a chance and spend some time with these kids.
Our time is exactly what they need most.
Written by Lindsay Yochum
Want to volunteer with PRiSM56? Contact Mark.