When my family moved to Detroit, Michigan just before my junior year in High School, my dad decided to jump in and help chaperone youth events. I remember being on a youth retreat and we were playing a run around game where we would handcuff people with Duct Tape to the beds as a sign that they had been caught. I have a vivid memory of my dad being handcuffed to a bed. What I relish the most about this memory is that it is a sign that my dad was invested in my faith and wanted to ensure the success of a youth event by being willing to sleep on a bunk bed and help my youth minister out with whatever was needed that weekend. It also has provided a pretty fun memory for my family to laugh about.
Over the course of my teenage years I can recall various adults who jumped in and helped my youth minister out with retreats and Sunday Night Fellowship. Some of these adults came every Sunday night and I knew that they loved us. Some of these always drove the van or bus for camps and I am thankful for their service. Some of these adults became confidants and encouragers for my faith. Some of these adults showed up once a year, and it was fine as I knew they had given up vacation time or time away from their family to be with us. But they showed up.
Youth learn from best by being in an environment surrounded by people from all generations. When we expose our youth to different generations they learn that they are not alone and can glean advice from someone who has walked the path before them.
I asked a couple of folks who have chaperoned some of the events here at River Road why they jump in, or what was the benefit, you can see their responses below.
I hope you will consider jumping in and spending some time with our youth. The qualifications are simple, willingness. It’s the opportunity to renew your own faith and spend some quality time with a teenager that you won’t regret. It might change your life.
I am still looking for a female chaperone for Passport Youth (June 24-29) and a female chaperone for Unidiversity (July 22-28). Let me know if you’d be willing!
Written by Marnie Fisher-Ingram
“I chaperoned a youth event in the past because my own youth trips meant so much to me and I remember really getting to know adult church members on these trips – it made me feel closer to my church to know adults that weren’t my friends’ parents and to know they cared about me and were invested in me. I want our youth to have that same experience and to feel that the church cares about them.”—Sara Heisler
“Over the past few years it has been my honor to serve on panels which interview candidates for our nation’s military academies as well as Boys and Girls State. Meanwhile, it has been a blessing, not an honor, to chaperone our youth to Unidiversity. My experiences with these exceptional young people have renewed my faith in the future of the nation state, and church, especially our church. A week with them is a week of spiritual growth for me.”—Scott Leake
“…because you will make a bond with the youth of our church and help them understand how much you respect their willingness to explore they faith.“—Deb Gray
“Like many events that shape one’s faith journey, they have to be experienced to be truly understood. If you want to “get” why your student is so excited and emotional when they come home from Passport, GO! Find out what it’s all about.”—Marguerite Bostic
“It isn’t about my son. Whether he wants me there or not shouldn’t factor in. I am not his parent during that time (unless he wants me to be) but someone there to show them all they are important. Life with teenagers (and wanna be teens) can be frustrating but watching them learn how to make mistakes and correct from them is incredible. I love it when one of the kids I have chaperoned comes up months later and has a simple conversation with me. They wouldn’t have done it before but feel they can trust me enough for that little interaction. Hopefully they can trust me (or another chaperone) with something bigger if they need it. You also get to know your child’s (if you are a parent) friends.”—Buddy Sumner