Spending time with teenagers can be challenging, rewarding, energizing, and sometimes discouraging. The discouraging part comes when a teen is unable to fully participate in special youth activities because of something that is out of the control of the teen such as the parent’s current financial situation. It is just not right. Our youth leaders work to make sure this does not happen.
The youth leaders at The Benton Church are gifted at involving the youth in meaningful fundraising events. The benefits to the youth are that they learn responsibility, they learn the value of doing a job well, and their parents can afford to let them be involved in special events. Sometimes a youth will join after the fundraising events are over. Or the youth may be getting very little help from their parents and need extra money-making opportunities. For those youth, a last minute smaller project is often arranged by the leaders. One teen helped in fundraisers and added fifty dollars received for Christmas gifts, but still was short of funds. An anonymous donor had provided four hundred fifty dollars as scholarship money to assist any youth who found themselves in this type of situation. One special project was provided by the Butler County Conservation District who asked for six youth to serve at one of their dinners. One of the ladies at that dinner was so impressed with those six teens that she donated two hundred fifty more dollars for youth activities. Instead of sitting at home feeling rejected, through the scholarship donations and the extra money-making opportunities, several youth were able to fully fund their trips and will be a part of the fellowship and fun on the mountain in Colorado. What a blessing.
One teen confided to the leaders that going on the trip would be impossible because of the cost. During the conversation, it was revealed that things were very bad at home. One of the problems mentioned was that the pipes in the home had frozen and burst so the water had to be turned off. When leaders learned of this need, an anonymous donor was found, who even though he had already donated scholarship money for the ski trip, he volunteered three hundred dollars to be used toward repairing the plumbing in this house.
One of the youth had been attending youth group off and on. More off than on. Part of the reason was that his home life had been volatile lately. His parents had separated and recently divorced. This teen really wanted to be a part of the ski trip even though it would be almost impossible to get the necessary permission form returned and the money paid in time. The youth leaders worked with the parents. The teen is thrilled. As a result the parent volunteered to pay half the ski trip expenses for any youth who still needed some financial help.
The sporting clay shoot event each fall is another example of generosity. Last fall a gun valued at eleven hundred dollars was donated. It was an important drawing card. Through the work of youth to conduct this event and the active participation of church members and friends, these teens cleared two thousand dollars.
One family donates five hundred dollars every year to provide for the various cost of running a youth program which not only is fun, but also emphasizes responsibility and learning about God. Yes, youth go on a ski trip, but they also participate in 3-In-One Christian Camp, Kansas Christian Ashram, a YWAM mission trip, and various service projects in the community.
Whether it is bidding at the Youth Chili Feed and Auction, preparing Wednesday evening supper, providing transportation, or donating money and merchandise, each and every person’s generosity is important to the success of the youth program whose main goal is to expose youth to Jesus Christ and biblical principles in a safe environment.
We give a special thank you to our youth leaders: Don Hoover, Jarod Pirtle, Jeffrey Schiesser, Katy Schiesser, and Mike Wallace. We appreciate the dedication of Aubrey Pirtle and Dana Schiesser who are our regular “kitchen moms.”