junior youth to serve By Anthea Nelson
I serve as an animator of a junior youth group in Ottawa. In one of our
early meetings, I felt like giving up. My co-animator had cancelled on
me, I was overloaded with school and other events, and I was unsure
whether it was even worth it to have a meeting that week. Would the
junior youth even be home this week? Would they be willing to learn? Or
would they be busy or distracted?
After consulting with my family and saying a few prayers I decided that
I should give it a try anyway. I’d work with what I had. If the
participants were around, then great. But if not, I would spend the
time planning the upcoming lessons.
Lately our group had been struggling. We had only partly completed a
service project, we were nearing the middle of our book, and we were
losing our initial momentum. When I arrived in the neighbourhood, I
said a few quick prayers and knocked on the door of the first junior
youth. Surprisingly, he was home and feeling very enthusiastic about
having a class that day. This same pattern continued as I knocked on
the door of everyone in the group – something I had never seen happen.
As I walked with the youth to the home of our host they chatted
excitedly about school, vacations, and weekend plans.
When we began I knew we had to take advantage of this enthusiasm, and
that a regular lesson was not what needed to happen. As we spoke about
potential ideas for our next service project they became very eager and
excited. Ideas were finally flowing.
In the group there is one girl who hardly ever speaks; she is always
very quiet and shy. But at the mention of a big game of tag or making
bracelets for money she began to speak up and share her ideas. She
talked with members of the group she rarely spoke to and they consulted
and shared ideas as I hurried to write them all down.
After some yummy snacks and a game we decided to end it for the day. I
asked them to consider what they thought their neighbourhood needed and
what they had to offer and reminded them that we’d come back to it in a
After giving them time to think, our group finally settled on the idea
of doing a charity barbeque for the local children’s hospital (CHEO) in
their neighbourhood park. They still have a long list of other ideas
that they are looking forward to completing in the future. I learned a
lot that day, and it reminded me what my mom has always told me, “you
take one step, God will take nine more for you.”