The Youth Initiative of the Future
May 6, 2016
If you or someone you know has participated in the Youth Initiative in the past, you may not recognize it for Summer 2016! We’re moving into the YI of the future – from a program that resembles standard service-learning mission trips into one that directly focuses on equipping the next generation of church and civic leaders to build a more just world.
In structure, the YI is not changing. This summer, over 300 participants will still be engaging with non-profits and agencies throughout Philly working in social justice areas of addiction recovery, food justice, housing insecurity, LGBTQ, mental illness, public education. After their daily work, participants spend their evenings digging into these issues and reflecting on these issues through scripture and prayer.
Herein lies a new development for the YI. While past evening programming had a strong focus on daily reflection, the new focus uses YI experience to inform and prepare participants to continue impactful mission long after they leave Philly. The aim is to demonstrate how BSM, agencies throughout Philly, and biblical leaders creatively use their (often limited) resources and energy to meet the contextual needs of their neighborhoods and city. In this way, BSM has the opportunity to not only inform and motivate young leaders surrounding Philadelphia’s issues, but also to have a hand in building communities around the country where the most vulnerable citizens have a place at many more tables.
To prepare attending groups for the programming changes of Summer 2016, the YI has designed a pre-arrival curriculum for groups to prepare their hearts and minds for embarking not on a short-term mission trip but rather on a lifelong journey of discipleship and service.
Apart from programming, the YI is happy to announce an improved ability to provide participants with comfort and hospitality! For the first time ever, summer participants will find rest on sturdy cots rather than the historic bouncy, deflating air mattresses! And, rather than falling asleep to the aggressive white noise of 30 box fans, participants will slumber to the soft hum of a temperature controlled room, all thanks to our new HVAC system bringing air condition to the Sunday School Room! Finally, the YI no longer has to prepare makeshift, outdoor showers! While returning participants are likely to miss the rite of passage of the old YI showers, they will find comfort in our newly acquired shower relationships that will provide hot, private, luxurious showers.
All in all, 2016 is going to be a fantastic, transformative, and busy summer! We are excited to see how these changes play out and are thrilled to continue growing the Youth Initiative in the years to come. If you love what you read above and are interested in bringing a group this summer, we do still have limited availability! To learn how to get involved, to support our work, to acquire more information, or to register, contact Devin at firstname.lastname@example.org!