As today’s parents know, there are hundreds of organizations vying for the time, talent, and energy of their children and youth. All of these organizations provide value for the participants from exercise, team experiences, and service opportunities to fund-raising responsibilities, exposure to the arts, and so on.
As St. Peter’s parents help their youth decide what organizations and activities they will join, we want to encourage you to consider the unique benefits that church and formation add to the whole and holy development of children. It starts in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and then continues and grows throughout the six years (6th through 12th grades) of the Journey to Adulthood (J2A) program. The J2A leaders and I believe that our program at St. Peter’s provides all of those benefits and more.
For the church youth program to work at its best, consistency of attendance and participation is paramount, as is true for any organized activity—whether it’s a marching band or a sports team. When a single member is missing, the youth group is greatly diminished. Likewise, when our young people are not here, they don’t benefit from the wisdom, love, and nurturing of our 12 amazing leaders and our incredible curriculum. It’s also harder to build the friendships that grow among the remarkable young people that worship at St. Peter’s. The spiritual development of our children is as important as the development of their educational skills: these skills help them navigate the issues of adult life that are not covered in textbooks.
So, we challenge St. Peter’s parents to insist on attendance at formation classes and worship on Sundays, and encourage you to fit in as many lock-ins, fund-raisers, outreach events, retreats, and mission trips as possible. These activities provide the time to delve deeply into subjects and to connect with God, St. Peter’s community, and each other. Being a vital part of this faith community in a deep and meaningful way is the best way to improve our young peoples’ ability to become the kind of adults that parents want them to be.
Lyn Holt, Director of Youth Formation