Youth Works Spotlight: by Alex Streeter, CLDI Intern
Youth Works spends a large portion of their time mentoring students in the school system on the South Side.
We offer before-and after-school programs and work closely in the school system as coaches, substitute teachers, and teachers’ aids. We also recently launched something we’re calling the Warehouse Program: an intensive afterschool discipleship program for middle to high school students transitioning from childhood to adulthood.
One of my favorite things Youth Works provides is sponsored outdoor activities. Camping, hiking, fishing, ice skating, and skiing are some of the outdoor activities they offer.
For most of the students, this is the first time they’ve been able to participate in these activities, and I got to help with just that!
During Spring Break, for middle and high school students, we took 12 available students skiing. We stayed at a church in Bozeman, MT, skied for two full days, took a relaxing dip in the Bozeman Hot Springs, and ate A LOT of Takis.
While this trip may sound fun (and it was!), it was also extremely challenging and exhausting. There were so many unexpected challenges, including a popped tire on the van on the way home. Yet, the staff handled all the difficulties patiently and gracefully.
Watching the kids learn to ski or snowboard was so rewarding. From taking beginner lessons on the first day to going down the ski lift by themselves at the end of the second day, it was so rewarding to watch them grow in confidence and experience success. So many wonderful memories were made with these kids.
The most rewarding part was hearing all the stories at the end of the day. No matter how sassy the kids were or how discouraged they felt from the difficulty of skiing, they couldn’t stop talking about their adventures on the mountain. No phone distractions – just friendship and memories. From epic crashes to huge jumps, the kids just wanted to share the adventure with us. How special it is to be a part of their world.