Celebrate Leaders and Kids

When we stop to remember where we’ve seen God at work, we can have more faith to face the challenges ahead. God is still giving WyldLife leaders opportunities to be with kids and point them to Jesus. Let’s give thanks for what God is doing in these areas. And if you see an idea you like, feel free to borrow it!

In Salinas Valley, California, kids have limited opportunities to be social because school is online. To help meet that need, Jessika Mendoza created weekly homework clubs. Parents register their children, choosing a specific afternoon. Kids remain in a cohort with the same kids and WyldLife leaders each week for one month, and then have the option of continuing another month or joining a new cohort on a different afternoon.Committee members provide individually wrapped snacks, and kids spend the first hour doing homework. Once schoolwork is completed, the small group plays Bingo or dances along with a “Just Dance” video on YouTube. At the end of the afternoon, they talk about Jesus.“I’m glad there is a place my daughter can go to have some sort of normal interaction with her peers. She is safe and has the WyldLife staff and leaders to help guide her,” said the mother of one eighth grader.
Peder Brakke in Redmond, Washington wanted to provide a consistent time and place where kids could safely be with WyldLife leaders. So Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4 pm, kids know they can find leaders at the middle school track. They split into small groups to stretch and use that time for conversations with kids. Then the groups might jog around the track or walk a neighborhood trail, all wearing masks and keeping their distance.The groups gather back at the track for more stretching and a short devotional. Peder says it has been fun with small groups of students each afternoon, and even a middle school teacher joining them one day. And if the day comes when no kids show up? Peder says that isn’t a loss for leaders. “We can still jog, get our needed exercise, and be with one another.”

WyldLife leaders in Lake Highlands usually go to the school cafeteria and sporting events to meet new kids. With no access right now, Jenna Shoemake set up a Popsicle Drive-Thru during the first week of face-to-face school in Dallas, Texas.Leaders spread the word, inviting parents and kids to drive by after school, meet the WyldLife leaders, and get free popsicles in a nearby parking lot. While parents filled out club cards, kids and leaders talked. Some moms arrived with cars full of new seventh graders while others brought eighth graders who were involved last year. Other kids stopped by as they walked home from school.“It was fun to let the community know that WyldLife is not going anywhere and that we’re still here in the lives of kids!” said Jenna.

Because their schools are either hybrid models or fully remote, middle schoolers in Kane County, Illinois are home more often. Knowing that, Beth Griebel made a plan to connect leaders and kids. Every WyldLife leader is now equipped with two things:2 camping chairs provided by the area and a generous donorA list of 10 students who have been actively involved in WyldLifeThe vision? Every middle schooler will see or hear from a leader at least once a month. Leaders have delivered Chick-Fil-A to eat together during school lunch breaks. Others have enjoyed milkshakes over conversations about school or dogs.One thankful mom said, “It is wonderful, that even in these unusual circumstances, you are still able to build relationships with kids in a socially distanced venue. How cool that you even brought the chairs!”

Leaders in Poway, California are finding unique ways to go to kids, while still including the fun WyldLife is known for. Instead of gathering kids in one place, leaders divided the list of kids with plans to visit 50 different porches over a few days. Using Google maps, they created clusters and short routes which leaders cover each time they do porch clubs. Leaders get to build relationships with the same kids and families.To celebrate National Teddy Bear Day, they visited porches and asked kids to see who could kick a teddy bear the furthest. Leaders brought a teddy bear, sidewalk chalk and a tape measure. Each kid had three tries, and the leader recorded their longest kick before giving the kid a small package of gummy bears.Robb Schreiber said that at one house, the boy seemed disinterested when leaders had stopped by his porch in the past. When leaders arrived for Teddy Bear club, however, the boy jumped up from the dinner table and couldn’t wait to try his kick.After leaders visited every kid, they compared distances and identified the winner. They arrived at his home with confetti poppers and a sound system playing “We Are the Champions” before presenting the winner with a teddy bear glued to a trophy and spray painted gold.
We want to celebrate what God is doing through WyldLife where you are!
Tell us about it at wyldlife@sc.younglife.org

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