“Superpowers” by Troy Schmidt
The nice part about a job with a fairly consistent schedule is that on any given day I can provide a pretty good guess about what I’ll be doing. Every Sunday a few things happen: I forget to eat dinner because of poor time management, groups arrive, I struggle in the name game we play, and the night concludes with orientation. During orientation every week we ask the kids to put on flexibility pants and humility vests, two (imaginary) articles of clothing that provide them with superpowers. Flexibility pants give you the power to be flexible at work sites, which means being prepared if plans change. Humility vests give you the power of being humble enough to do any job that’s asked of you.
“Our Valley” by Lauren Nalley
Hey guys! My name is Lauren Nalley and I’m a intern at Asheville Youth Mission this summer. I’m currently a sophomore in college in Colorado, but I am really excited about being able to work in Asheville this summer because this is where I was raised. I’ve lived in Asheville for 18 years and am super excited about giving back to the community which has given me so much in the past. My blog post this year is a video of spoken word slam poetry. I wrote this poem about my time in Asheville through out my life and what I have learned while being a part of AYM. It refers to many social justice issues which I have noticed in particular throughout these past weeks including homelessness, racism, police brutality , and many others. I hope you enjoy!
Every Wednesday evening, after groups have finished their last day of work sites and are participating in discussion and reflection during program, we do what we like to call “taking inventory”. We ask groups to reflect back on where they went, what they did, and who they met throughout the week. This is a time for them to recall favorite worksites, funny anecdotes, interesting observations, and meaningful interactions. It’s usually fairly easy to recall places they visited and things they did, but sometimes names slip away during the hustle and bustle of the day.
Palms Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville, FL is one that has made mission partnership their intentional focus, and have been engaging their youth in mission work for more than 30 years. Youth Director, Wilson Kennedy, says, “It’s the hallmark of youth ministry at Palms. This is how our youth are engaged in the world and think theologically and critically about our world and about how our faith calls us to be active and engaging in it.” A few months ago, before kicking off a summer of mission trips and local service work, Palms youth came together for a mission retreat. At the end of it, high school senior and Palms’ resident videographer, Jacob May, created this video, highlighting trips they’ve been on in the past, and what each member of the youth group feels is most special to them about these trips. The photos in this video are not only from their mission trips to the Carolinas and beyond, but also from work they’ve done in their home community of Jacksonville. Wilson says, “Because we’re situated two blocks from the beach, we’re intentional about being engaged in mission, and in partnership, and in solidarity in the beaches. There are over 250 chronically homeless people in Jacksonville, so we partner with organizations like Mission House and BEAM, which stands for Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry. Our church is also undertaking a study on issues of access [to services, affordable healthcare, job creation, and job training] at the beaches because we have the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor living together. So we’re constantly serving in different ways in our community and our neighborhood.”