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Youthfront by Michaela Remijio - 2M ago
As a lifeguard at Youthfront Camp West last summer, Molly Terlouw found meaning in serving campers and staff. Not only was she able to help thousands of campers experience a fun week of summer, but she also found authentic and loving relationships with the staff. Molly is a technical theatre major at Kansas Wesleyan University. She will be returning to serve on Summer Staff at Camp West as Overnight Security. Here is her story from last summer.
How did you first hear about Youthfront?

I first heard about Youthfront through the Church of the Resurrection children’s ministry. COR always sends a group to camp in the summer and I went in third grade through 7th grade for a week of camp. After being a camper every year at camp, I teenstaffed for a couple summers and loved every minute of that.

What motivates you to keep coming back to Youthfront, even if you’ve participated in YF activities before?

I keep coming back to Youthfront summer after summer because my year wouldn’t feel complete without it. The community and the people you interact with is so genuine. That kind of authenticity is so rare. Youthfront also helps recenter my faith and I’m so thankful to have that opportunity.

What are some of the challenges people your age face today?

In today’s world, college students face some pretty big challenges: worrying that their chosen field is not the right one for them, stress, and time management.

What is one lie that you fight against?

That you can’t do everything you set your mind to doing.

Does your involvement with Youthfront help fight against that lie?

Somewhat. There are so many things I’ve done at camp that I never would’ve done if I had not had courage, such as facing my fear of heights. It’s such a small thing, but it’s important because it showed me that I am capable of doing anything, even if I’m scared.

Do you think peer pressure is real or not?

I do think peer pressure is real… It becomes even harder to fight peer pressure when a friend tells you that you should join in, because you definitely want to but know that sometimes it isn’t in your best interest. Even though it’s hard to fight, you can always say “no” and it will always benefit you in the end.

What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned from participating in YF programs?

I’ve learned that no matter what I’ve done or where I am in life, God is right there to catch me when I fall. Sometimes I just really need that reassurance, especially in times of extreme stress.

Has Youthfront helped you with any doubts you have about your faith?

Youthfront has brought me back to my faith. My mentor from COR died of cancer three and a half years ago and after that happened, I really didn’t want to be involved with the church. I didn’t understand why someone so amazing and someone who was such a light in so many lives would have to die so early in life. Returning to Youthfront last summer caused me to remember that even though she’s not physically here, she’s always here spreading her mission to the world through others.

Do you feel like Jesus is more real to you since you’ve been involved in Youthfront programs?

Jesus is very much real to me since I started going to Youthfront and I now see evidence of Him in the everyday.

If you could pick your favorite thing about Youthfront, what would it be?

Watching the sunset with friends, HYPE, talking about God and walking around the lake with people, and hanging out on the dock.

Why do people in our communities need to know about Youthfront?

Because Youthfront isn’t just a summer camp. It has so many outreach groups in our community as well as globally.

What is the biggest change you’ve seen in your life by being involved with Youthfront?

I’m more willing to share my faith and shout to the world that I’m a Christian.

Are you interested in sharing your Youthfront story with us like Molly? Fill out this online form and send it our way: youthfront.com/21-questions

The post Molly’s Story appeared first on Youthfront.

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Pictured: Jerry Olender, Chris Polly and Scott Quick of Wolf Construction present the company’s employee grant contribution to Youthfront’s Lea Ann Roach and Lisen Tammeus Mann.

Thanks to a Kansas City-based employee of Wolf Construction, Youthfront was the first Kansas City-area organization to be awarded a grant from the Iowa-based company.

Each year, Wolf’s employees contribute to a fund that the company matches, and employees have the opportunity to suggest and vote on what charity will receive the funds. This year, Jerry Olender, superintendent of framing for the Kansas/Missouri office of Wolf, championed Youthfront.

“My kids loved it,” Olender said of Youthfront. Both of his children were involved in Youthfront camps.

Wolf Construction presented a $2,000 check to Youthfront this November. Olender said the company supports a lot of philanthropic causes in Iowa, but this was the first Kansas City-based grant made through the Wolf Cares employee giving program.

For more Youthfront stories and program news, visit our digital Youthfront News magazine on our website.

The post Giving Goes the Distance with Wolf Construction appeared first on Youthfront.

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Youthfront by Michaela Remijio - 3M ago

The camp countdown is on! We are so excited to announce the Hype themes for the summer! Hypes at Youthfront Camp are the crazy fun theme nights each day. Campers and staff dress up in costumes and participate in themed challenges with their cabin mates, vie for the spirit stick, and experience a silly, fun night.  The following is a rundown of each theme:

RELIC HUNTERS:

Complete the challenges, follow the map, and find the key to unlock the legendary treasure of Youthfront Camp. Grab your brown fedora and get ready for this epic adventure!

NIGHT STRIKE:

Night Strike has been a staple with Youthfront for decades! Put on your camouflage and dark clothing for this classic team competition under the stars. Do you have what it takes to get to the Tower of Power?

’80s POOL PARTY:

Comb your mullet, slip on your leg warmers, and dial back your DeLorean to 1985 for our totally tubular pool party. Activities include a belly flop contest, whirl pool, and more!

ONCE UPON A HYPE:

Once upon a time, at a summer camp far, far away, a special festival was about to begin. Princes and princesses, elves and ogres were gathered for this celebration of brave quests, epic tales, and the classic stories we know and love. Games will be explained at camp.

MOVIE MADNESS:

Lights, camera, action! There will be awards, dancing, and plenty of night blobbing. But first, be ready to strike a pose on the red carpet as your favorite character from screens big and small.

We can’t wait to see all of your creative outfits! If you have any questions or need help with ideas, let us know. We’ll see you this summer!

The post 2019 Hype Themes appeared first on Youthfront.

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Youthfront by Michaela Remijio - 5M ago

Baker University student Sarah Day joined Summer Staff last year wanting to fulfill internship requirements and gain experience in her major.

What she additionally gained was a community of people that surrounded her in love, support, and authenticity. Sarah enjoyed staffing so much that she will be returning this summer as the Wellness Director at Youthfront Camp West.

What motivates you to keep coming back to Youthfront, even if you’ve participated in YF activities many times before?

I was supposed to only be at Youthfront for three weeks to do an internship before leaving to work on other summer classes. I loved it so much that I ended up working all summer, thanks to the camp director making time for me to do the schoolwork I needed to get done.

The community at Youthfront is amazing — being in a place where everyone’s heart and mind is running the same race is very cool and very impactful.

What are some of your biggest fears or struggles in life?

It’s really easy in today’s society to think you’re not good enough in so many different ways — physically, talent-wise, and through comparing yourself to others.

How does your involvement with Youthfront help you with those fears or struggles?

[Youthfront] makes it so easy to be vulnerable and authentically me. Youthfront helps me through constant reminders in teachings and community time that I am His and the worth that others see in me, even when I can’t see the qualities in myself.

What are some of the challenges kids your age face today?

The pressure to be perfect and to meet the expectations for behavior and appearance that the secular world sets.

What is one lie that you fight against?

That I’m not offering anything truly valuable to the world.

Does your involvement with Youthfront help fight against that lie?

Yes, Youthfront provides a year-round community of guys and gals that are so easy to talk to and who quickly turned into friends.

Do you think peer pressure is real or not?

Yes, the pressure to fall into what society says is the norm is constant and around every corner. It’s almost like it’s inescapable.

If someone asked you what Youthfront was, what would you say?

Youthfront is a place that mixes super cool and fun activities with powerful messages from the Word and a strong community that lasts well beyond the gates of camp.

What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned from participating in YF programs?

That I have leadership qualities I didn’t know I had and I can mentor others.

Has Youthfront helped you with any doubts you have about your faith?

I didn’t have a lot of doubts when it came to faith, but it’s definitely helped me with discernment in how I handle my words and actions, and on my path towards sanctification.

Do you feel like Jesus is more real to you since you’ve been involved in Youthfront programs? If not, why?

I feel like it’s very easy to see Jesus in a camp setting because pure joy is so prevalent.

If you could pick your favorite thing about Youthfront, what would it be?

Worship time, group Bible study, and hanging out on the dock.

What would happen if Youthfront didn’t exist?

Less people would hear God’s story.

Why do people in our communities need to know about Youthfront?

People should know about Youthfront because they could also be touched by its many missions. Not only is it a summer camp, but Youthfront is involved in many other missions programs that benefit people globally.

What is the biggest change you’ve seen in your life by being involved with Youthfront?

I’ve become more outspoken with my faith and less afraid to talk to others about it. I’ve also become more confident in some of my spiritual gifts as well. Overall, I see the world differently and have learned to appreciate the many different seasons of life and to find joy in each.

Sarah Day (left) with Summer Staffer Claire Franey

Are you interested in sharing your Youthfront story with us like Sarah?
Fill out this online form and send it our way: youthfront.com/21-questions

The post Q&A with Sarah Day appeared first on Youthfront.

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Youthfront by Michaela Remijio - 5M ago

Alex Francis has a unique history with Youthfront. Not only has she grown up with the organization as a camper and two-year Summer Staffer, but her family also has a connection. Her great uncle is Lou Francis, co-chair of the Youthfront board of directors. Some of her cousins have also been on staff.

We asked Alex to share her Youthfront story with us.

How do you feel knowing that your family has been a part of Youthfront’s story?

Youthfront has always meant so much to me. From being in middle school to being a cabin leader, Youthfront has been a home and place of growth.

It’s cool to have my family members also hold those things high by their involvement in Youthfront. I love that we all want to glorify Christ in all we do through and in Youthfront. 

What motivates you to keep coming back to Youthfront?

The way God moves at camp is so incredibly cool to watch. I love to sit back and watch Him use all the people around me; in campers, staff, and my own life.

The way we all come together to serve Him and do His will causes me a joy I can’t quite put my finger on, but it’s beautiful to see and be a part of.

What are some of your biggest fears or struggles?

We all deal with the fear of being inadequate, especially as a college kid hoping my degree will be worthwhile enough to at least pay back my loans. I struggle with uncertainties in college, in the moments where health has dwindled in my family, and uncertainties with how my life will play out.

How does your involvement with Youthfront help you with those fears or struggles?

Youthfront provides a community to help shoulder my worries. The [community] has prayed for me when my dad struggled to come back from cancer. It provided me a shoulder to cry on for the tough weeks and rejoiced with me in my moments of endurance. One of my favorite memories from the summer was when I was planning to take a trip up to Maryland but my ride ended up canceling. I asked for the other cabin leaders to pray for me while I was going to figure out a way to come up with the money.

A couple days later during Spiritual Formation, they called me to the center of the group. They told me they wanted to take on my needs and presented me with cash to buy a plane ticket. These are the moments that truly represent who and what Youthfront is.

[Youthfront] is a community to help you empower kids but also empower yourself. It tells you how you do not have to take on the world by yourself. It reminds you that God is with you and every single little detail, even the ones that may not matter as much to you, matter to God.

What is one lie that you fight against?

That I am not enough.

Does your involvement with Youthfront help fight against that lie?

People always lift me up with words of affirmation, love, and encouragement. I go away for college, so to have a group of friends at home who encourage me in all I do is absolutely essential for me.

Do you think peer pressure is real or not?

Oh I definitely think that peer pressure is real. The pressure to fit in, whether its things that are illegal or things that are uncomfortable for you, is something that is relevant in every single group that you will encounter.

If someone asked you what Youthfront was, how would you explain it?

A lot of people asked me this question… since I go to college in Indiana. I told them it’s one of my favorite places on earth. It’s been a place that God has constantly challenged me, stretched me, and used me.

Has Youthfront helped you with any doubts about your faith?

This past summer at Youthfront, God taught me how to pray boldly. I’ve been a cabin leader for two summers and never had a girl in my cabin accept Christ while at camp, which I was okay with since I was honored to be used in other parts of my girls’ journeys.

However, during one of my weeks at camp, before the campers came, I decided to ask God if He would allow me to help bring one of the girls in my cabin to Christ that week. After the first couple days, it became clear to me that most of the girls in my cabin had already accepted Christ or had a close relationship to him.

By around Thursday, I had given up on this prayer and continued to pray to be used in strengthening these girls for their school year. On Friday night during the last service, one of my girls who would talk so passionately about God, came up to me and asked me to help her accept Jesus fully into her life. When she asked me, I couldn’t help but cry right at the moment. As we prayed together while music played, I couldn’t help but hear God whispering in my ear, “I’m still listening.”

There have been things that I have been praying for years that I haven’t heard answers to in the way I’ve liked. God, that week, let me know He was still listening and always was.

If you could pick your favorite thing about Youthfront, what would it be?

The kids that I get to know as well as the community that I get to serve.

What would happen if Youthfront didn’t exist?

My relationship with Christ definitely wouldn’t have been where it is now.

It’s a place of growth. It’s a place to learn. It’s a place to belong.

What is the biggest change you’ve seen in your life by being involved with Youthfront?

I’ve learned what it means to truly listen and come alongside others instead of trying to offer my own advice. I’ve learned what it means to let God work instead of trying to do everything on my own.

Alex Francis with co-cabin leader Sammy at Youthfront Camp West

Is your family generationally connected to Youthfront?
Contact Content Marketing Specialist Michaela Remijio to be featured in future Youthfront Legacy stories: mremijio@youthfront.com

The post A Youthfront Legacy: Alex Francis appeared first on Youthfront.

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Youthfront by Michaela Remijio - 6M ago

As Youthfront is gearing up for the 2019 summer camp season, Emporia State University student McKayla Brady has been reflecting on her time as a cabin leader at Youthfront Camp LaCygne last summer. Already committed to returning to Summer Staff for 2019, McKayla is excited to come alongside her future campers in spiritual growth and friendship.

What motivates you to keep coming back to Youthfront?

The spiritual growth and community that I found [last] summer was amazing.

What are some of your biggest fears or struggles in life?

That I have a hard time forming deep relationships with people past the surface level conversations.

How does your involvement with Youthfront help you with those fears or struggles?

I was a cabin leader and formed amazing friendships with the staff and even with some of my campers as well.

What are some of the challenges kids your age face today?

I think social media is a huge problem for kids these days. It allows for constant comparison, which is very unhealthy.

What is one lie that you fight against?

That I’m not adequate for some positions I’m in, such as a cabin leader, friend, or soccer player at Emporia.

Does your involvement with Youthfront help fight against that lie?

Yes. Like I said, I was able to form deeper relationships and had a meeting with a friend and my boss about how I need to feel more adequate and doubt my abilities less.

Do you think peer pressure is real or not?

Yes. Peer pressure tends to affect me a lot because I hate when my opinion gets in other people’s way. So sometimes doing my own thing can be tough (but worth it).

If someone asked you what Youthfront was, what would you say?

A place for youth and staff to grow in relationship with the Lord and community with one another.

What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned from participating in YF programs?

In order to have genuine relationships with others, you have to genuinely care for them and not what you can get out of the relationship.

Has Youthfront helped you with any doubts you have about your faith?

I had a pretty closed mind about what the Bible was and who God is. I think I’ve begun to view Him as a more loving and relational being as I talked with so many people this summer about their faith journeys and opinions.

Do you feel like Jesus is more real to you since you’ve been involved in Youthfront programs?

Yes. I saw His work in peoples’ lives all summer including mine, so it made me feel more in touch with Him.

If you could pick your favorite thing about Youthfront, what would it be?

The opportunity to get so close with other people my age who have the same struggles I do.

Why do people in our communities need to know about Youthfront?

It’s an amazing place for growth and forging friendships.

McKayla Brady

Are you interested in sharing your Youthfront story with us too?
Fill out this online form and send it our way: youthfront.com/21-questions

The post McKayla’s Story appeared first on Youthfront.

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A common misconception about Youthfront is that the organization is just a summer camp. The thought is that “offseason” months act as time for staff to regain energy and prep for the next summer. This is not true.

Youthfront is more than a three-month summer camp. The focus of the organization is Christian formation and bettering the communities around Kansas City and the world.

Snack Shack KC is just one of the many justice initiatives created through Youthfront to offer a place of restoration for youth. What started as a dream for several high school students turned into a living, breathing social entrepreneurship organization.

A Place of Restoration

With Youthfront and The Franklin Center partnering together, Snack Shack KC acts as an after-school program for youth. It includes low-costing snacks, games, tables for homework, and volunteers ready to play and engage with anyone who walks through the doors. The youth team who created Snack Shack KC has worked extremely hard to create a space that will be beneficial for the entire Argentine community.

Youth social entrepreneurship at Youthfront is first, about sparking imagination to join God’s mission. We hope to bring about restoration–to bring glimpses of heaven on earth–especially in communities experiencing brokenness.  Second, it’s about equipping youth with practical skills and providing support to make their dreams become reality.

Growth and Social Change

Located in the Argentine neighborhood of Kansas City, KS, Snack Shack has sparked positive social change since first opening its doors earlier this year. On average, there are at least 75 students who visit the location every day. Director of Community Programming Amber Booth has witnessed how the Snack Shack KC mission has pulled community members closer together.

“Each week we are seeing new and different students. We are slowly seeing more families coming too as a place to hang out as families where they can buy snacks and play games,” Booth said.

What really works for this new program has been the peer influencers in the community. More and more students are bringing friends to experience the fun and casual atmosphere.

“It functions a lot like a coffee shop,” Booth said. “Kids come in and buy their snack and hang out. We will engage them in conversation, play a game with them… and recently started hosting a healthy cooking class.”

The Snack Shack KC team is hoping to see even more growth and prosperity in the next few months. When the 2017-2018 school year is completed, Snack Shack KC will still operate as an afternoon hangout space for youth.

For more information about volunteer opportunities or donations, please visit our website or contact the Director of Community Programming Amber Booth at abooth@youthfront.com. To apply as a volunteer, fill out this online form.

The post Snack Shack KC creates place of restoration for Argentine youth appeared first on Youthfront.

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This summer, we discovered an amazing story about one of our long-time staffers. After the last week of camp this year, Mac Maser finished his 75th week of working at Youthfront during our 75th anniversary year. Pretty cool, huh? As the Teen Staff Director at Camp West, Mac has a passion for serving youth. So why is this 24-year-old drawn to a 75-year-old organization?

Mac’s Story:

“This year as we celebrate 75 years of ministry as an organization, I personally got to celebrate my 75th week of being on staff at camp during Session 10. Through my combined time volunteer cabin leading, being on Summer Staff, and being the full-time Teen Staff Director at Youthfront Camp West, this celebration is an impactful reminder of how pivotal Youthfront has been in the formation of my faith and my relationships with the people and world around me.

As I’ve reflected on my time at Youthfront, going back to 2008 when I started as a camper in eighth grade, the biggest question I’ve asked myself is why – why have I kept coming back for so many years? Why did I choose this as a career? Why am I an advocate for the ministry that Youthfront does?

Youthfront is where I first gave my life to Christ, it is where I first learned what it looks like to live in healthy fellowship with other Christians, it is where I have learned a lot of ways in which I struggle living out being a Christian in my everyday life. It is where I was baptized and it is where I met many of my best friends. I can confidently say I have experienced the potential Youthfront has for impacting the lives of both students and adults, which is why it’s so easy for me to invest so much of myself into supporting it.

As one of the directors of our Teen Staff program, I feel the greatest amount of joy working at Youthfront because of them. I unbiasedly believe that Teen Staff is a fantastic reflection of the culture Youthfront tries to cultivate in the lives of young people. Teen Staff is a program where high school students learn together through community and purposeful reflection about what it means to love Jesus and others through service.

From the outside, it seems like any other volunteer opportunity, but the students have made it into a close and loving family. High school students have so much influence with their actions and words. They can make a newcomer feel outcast or welcome, a shy student feel shame for not participating or encouraged to share as much as they’re comfortable with. Teen Staff students are so good at choosing love over hate and inclusion over exclusion, which is a beautiful depiction of a community centered on Christ.

Youthfront has been a significant part of my life because it has continually been a safe place to grow in my faith, watch young people learn about Christ, and find their identity in Him. I’m blessed to be a part of this ministry 75 years after its origin and I’m hopeful about the impact it will continue to have in the future.”

Mac Maser, Teen Staff Director at Camp West

Are you interested in learning more about Youthfront’s 75th anniversary gala?
Visit our website: https://youthfront.com/imagine75galafundraiser/

The post 75 Weeks and 75 Years: Mac Maser’s Story appeared first on Youthfront.

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