Photos from recent Northlake Young Life camp trips.
Update from mission partner Peder Brakke about Northlake Young Life:
Creekside Family! Oh, how I have missed being with and seeing you! I'm here to give you a brief update on my work with Young Life. Working at half-capacity has been the result of two pandemic years, so this means we have half the volunteers, staff, campers, and students as we did entering the Spring of 2020. And yet, in some ways, we have been able to do more: though we have fewer kids going to camp, we have more camp trips, creative ways of doing it, and have been able to give more scholarships to families who need them; while overall event participation is down, our leaders know more kids by name; and while our number of dedicated volunteer Young Life leaders is down, we have more adults partnering in small and creative ways than we ever have before. While some of our metrics are down, God seems to be doing just fine with less. Instead of crowds, we are doing ministry with individuals. Kids like Alex.
Alex beelined it to me for a hug yesterday as he got off the bus from Washington Family Ranch Canyon. I met him in the old Creekside Covenant Church sanctuary (the Redmond Middle School lunchroom) and every Wednesday we would have a chat about the last ridiculous thing we heard a politician say (there was a lot of good material on all sides that fall). When we relaunched WyldLife club, the then 6th grade Watson boys were handing out orange neon flyers with info and one of them landed in Alex's hands, "Is this the thing that you do, Mr. Pete? I'm not really into religious stuff, but if you're there, I'll come. I'm sure my dad will say it's cool." Knowing a few of Alex's neighbors made it fine for me to show up and knock on his door with some other students and pick him up for club. I'm glad we connected because for the next two years I found myself on his doorstep delivering food boxes, pizzas, pantry packs, or whatever was needed. On most days we made time for a quick walk around the neighborhood... and occasionally he would come to help me deliver food to others or help me haul gear for other events. For two years, this was Young Life to him. No club, no camp, no campaigners, no prepared messages. Just a person.
After hearing "no thank you" at least a dozen times, last Monday Alex said, "sure, why not? What do I need to pack?" 12 hours before the bus was set to leave Alex said yes to Young Life camp and he said yes even though I couldn't go on the trip. He was one of only a few Redmond High kids to go to Young Life camp this summer and I can't wait to sit down with him and hear about what God is doing in that young man's life. "Pete, you should have been there. You should have seen that place! I've got so much to tell you!" Little does he know that 23 years ago I was that kid who said yes to the same invitation and was one of only a few kids from Redmond High to go to that same summer camp. We have a lot of stories to share.
Done right, ministry is not about the program or the crowd but about the individual. It's about relationships. It's about Alex. I'm excited about the work we are already doing and working to find new ways to build it where it is not. There are 13,000 secondary students in our area and we are just scratching the surface. We're going to go one leader at a time, to one kid at a time.