Offering a safe and sacred space for joyful community while practicing and sharing our principles at the Center for Spiritual Living, Santa Rosa.The mission of our Youth Program is to open to Light and Love by offering a safe and sacred space for joyful community while practicing and sharing our principles.
On the morning of March 31 the youth and teens of our Center were actively engaged in a big group project of Diversity and Inclusion.
It was a big morning for Youth Ministry. Three of our teen leaders opened each of our morning services and our teen group hosted a phenomenal Sunday Brunch fundraiser. Our community's engagement and response was delightful. No one visiting our tables went away hungry. Plus thanks to your generous donations, we raised over $1500. for our teen fund! And that's only what you could see on the outside.
Behind the scenes in our youth classrooms, the children and teens were engaged in a wonderful conversation of Oneness, Diversity and Inclusion. Through the eyes of our youngest children, it is easy to witness our connection to each other and to feel our oneness with Divinity. As we grow and become more engaged in the world around us we learn about "other" and "them" and can more easily forget our connection. Within our interactive conversation we explored all the ways Nature teaches us of it's Diversity and how easy it is for us to include, accept and appreciate the variances and beauty of the natural life around us. We then applied that same practice to our hands as we brought them together in a large circle and admired all the beautiful colors and textures of our skin tones. We are unique and we are the same.
Each of our students were then invited to team up with a partner to trace their lower arm and hand and to decorate and color it with all the joy, light, love, power, and any other quality and color they choose to express their unique expression of being. Everyone participated and at the end of the day we had quite the collection.
The goal of our little project was to create the Diversity and Inclusion board that now resides on the bulletin board in the breezeway next to Grinton chapel. It is our way of sharing a colorful connection between the youth and teens of our Center and our greater community. If you haven't stopped by yet, come take a look. We've included a few of our favorite quotes to inspire you and added some group pictures so you can see our beautiful faces.
Thank you one and all, for supporting our Center and giving us a place to learn and grow together in Spiritual practice!
This coming Sunday - March 31st our teens are hosting their first FUNdraiser of the 2019!
It's not easy to pick a favorite fundraiser ~ because we love spending time with our Center people, however this one is extra yummy for the tummy as we'll be preparing breakfast foods ~ snacks ~ and treats.
We hold these events to raise money for our teens to attend Centers for Spiritual Living teen camps, one in the summer and one in the winter. We also do fun events, some of them in house and some with other Northern California Centers, like overnights!
We are so very grateful to be a part of this thriving community of like minded people and we absolutely love getting together with teens from all over the USA, Canada and beyond who also study this teaching. Through your generous donations, we've been able to grow and thrive!
There is another reason this Sunday is so special, it is because we will be celebrating the dedicated service of one of our trusted advisors, Debby Young, RScP who is moving on to other areas of volunteering within our Center. Debby has been supporting our Center as a volunteer in our Youth and Family Ministry for almost 9 years. During her time of service Debby has been a nurturing presence to our nursery friends - our young children and the teens within our community as well as stepping in to oversee our Youth and Family Ministry when our Youth Director has needed to be away.
So come by our tables in the social hall to say hello - thank you - learn how you can support our youth and teens of the Center, make a donation and enjoy a tasty breakfast treat on us! See you Soon.
Our youth jump-started our February theme of Integrity early by creating “value” collages. Using images from magazines we created three large posters together with shared values of Love, Peace, Joy, Kindness, Adventure and Beauty. Each student was also invited to think about a value that was important to them personally and create an individual collage. The finished products were beautiful and our shared value posters have been used in the youth classrooms through February!
After serving our Youth and Family Ministry for 24 years, our beloved Carol Seymour, RScP made the decision to resign her teaching position. While we already miss her – we also celebrate our “Teacher Carol” with deep gratitude for the many years of service, dedication and the LOVE she has provided and shared with the youth of our Center.
Carol's departure also opens up another opportunity for more volunteer support within our youth ministry. There are a variety of ways your participation can be of service to our youth and/or teens. If interested, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll also have our youth ministry volunteer applications on our table in the social hall on Sunday mornings!
Our Santa Rosa teens and advisors are departing for Camp Loma Mar aka CSL Winter Teen Camp 2019. We have a total of 13 teens attending CSL camps, along with 3 advisors representing Santa Rosa. Danna Iversen, as a member of CSL International Teen Leadership, is attending Camp Thunderbird in North Carolina, while our other CSL Teen Leader Dylan Jansen, will be our camp Co-Director, here in Northern Ca. There are 4 camps in total (Denver and Los Angeles being the other two) with approx. 325 in total attendance.
Over the last few weeks, I have had the pleasure to interview two more volunteers. Sue Sternhagen and Maxine Wilkinson will both be serving in our Nursery. Each are in the process of training with our existing volunteers and come to us with experience in many ways that will serve them and us well. We still have plenty of room available to welcome more volunteers, so do keep your ears open for anyone who might be interested in working with children or teens!
Speaking of our Nursery. We will soon be doing a room makeover in our Nursery. New paint to with softer neutral colors and likely some new shelving, toys and wall art.
Our youth classroom attendance continues to vary as does our total Center attendance. Including our teen group, our average overall totals are on the rise, 35 – 40 per week!
Keeping this one short, so I can finish packing and be on my way to CAMP!
As another year comes to a close, it is a great time to reflect upon the past 12 months. Maybe even review the intentions we set at the beginning of the year and take inventory of what worked, what didn't or what might we do differently.
Our year end practice in Youth Ministry is to have a group discussion during circle time. We sit with a few questions as a way of looking back over the past year as well as questions that prompt us to consider what we wish to experience in the New Year.
Many years ago, we made the switch from making New Year resolutions, to setting New Year intentions. Where resolutions often presume there is something to fix, an intention gives way to positively designing the future. It's been fun to bring this practice to our young friends. It's an honor to witness all the accomplishments they've achieved and fun to see where and what they want to learn, grow and go in the New Year. Of course we'll have a bit of fun too!
Here are a few questions to consider in reflection:
What intentions did you achieve in the past year and did they bring you joy? What intentions eluded you or needed to change? What is one thing you've learned that you didn't know last year? In what way were you able to make a difference in the world or the life of another?
For setting intentions you might consider these questions:
What are my goals? What would I like to achieve? What are my dreams? What step can I take to bring them forward? What would I like to learn? What can I let go of? In what way can I make a difference?
However it is you choose to bring in 2019 ~ We wish you a very happy and prosperous New Year!
Blessings, Susan Robinson, RScP Director, Youth and Family Ministry
There is nothing like starting a new month with a HUGE fundraiser and doing a stage announcement, volunteer call, at all three services! What an amazing morning. Our community once again came out to support our teens. We only had a handful of small holiday wreaths remaining. Our net profit was $1850.00 (though I think we added a few extra donations beyond that.) The best news was that when I met with Anne to review our teen finances, I was able to 100% scholarship our qualified teens for CSL Winter Camp. Yahoo!
On the volunteer front, former volunteer Heidi Jones has rejoined our Nursery team! She agreed to fill in two times each month to help cover our shortage, then will likely move to a fixed Sunday. To date, I’ve received three volunteer applications. As of this report, I am scheduling volunteer meetings to review our youth program and to find the best fit for each of them. One has great potential to become a classroom teacher, and I am over the moon about that.
Back to our teens. We are in the final week of Winter camp registrations, and whew, it has been a busy week. Several of our parents took me up on the offer to register their teens in-house. This also gave me the opportunity to have one-on-one meetings with the parents and do a more in-depth check in with them. At present we look to have 11 teens attending the Northern California Winter camp. Danna Iversen, as a member of CSL teen leadership,will be attending the North Carolina camp, pending the final registration totals. I have secured two additional advisors to support us, Emily Jansen-Adan and Kristine Anderson. Both recently completedand updated their online advisor training.
On December 7-8, I attended an off-site youth director/advisor meeting. This was an informal gathering to lay the groundwork for a potentially larger gatheringin 2019. Our agenda topics includedbalancing service and self-care to avoid burn out, personal growth and spiritual support, fundraising, volunteer recruitment, best practices, curriculum resources, how “family” fits intoyouth and family, teen overnights, and looking ahead to 2019. We came away with commitments from CSL San Jose to host a Spring teen overnight and from us in Santa Rosa to hold a fall teen overnight.
That was the question that led us in a recent youth ministry class. Prior to asking the question, we watched a short video titled "Eating Twinkies with God" (The video can be found on YouTube).
After the video, everyone had the opportunity to answer the question, where do you see God? The answers were given and written on our classroom chalkboard. By the end of the morning the board was so full of words they couldn't fit in one photo! Below are a few of the ways our children see God.
In - Reflections, Sunsets, Ocean, Music, Sports, Dancing, Animals, Nature, Church, Fun, Flowers, Love, Voices, Truth, Everywhere, Each other, Art, Giving, People, Clouds, Smiles, At the park, When we are giving, Hope, Goosebumps, Kindness, Helping others, Sportsmanship, Books, Stars, Family!
The Centers for Spiritual Living Teen Leadership team also used this question during a recent planning weekend for their upcoming Winter Camp. They added a new twist by having attendee’s pair up into partners with the instructions for each partner to share for one minute, all the ways in which you see God. Once both partners shared, the instructions were changed to "where do you see God in you?” As a participant in this process, I can share that both my partner and myself had tears in our eyes at the conclusion.
There is something very special about sharing out loud and being witnessed to all the ways we each see and express Divinity. Our lives are so full of work, school and tasks that often we forget to take the time to just sit quietly and recognize all the magnificent gifts that are right in front of us. As well as those that are within us!
Your invitation, should you choose to accept it, is to use this simple practice with your friends or family as a way to recognize the essence of Divinity that is always expressing in, through and around you. Where do you see God?