Every Child, Every Nation, Every Day
Teens Learn Leadership Skills in CYIA
By Celia Brannon
Take a deep breath and hold on to your Bibles, CEF® groupies. Here is my confession: I have no experience with a 5-Day Club®, and neither have I ever seen a Good News Club® in action. I know these clubs exist for children to hear the Gospel, and not a lot more than that. I did not know that much of the work done for 5-Day Club was done by teenagers. These teens are part of Christian Youth In Action® (CYIA™).
My quest to see what this is all about started at a convenient time of the year when student leaders are learning and refreshing their leadership skills for the next round of 5-Day and Good News Clubs. Since I live in Texas, I was invited to Fort Worth’s peaceful YMCA Camp Carter to see where it begins.
Unlike some other camps, these 24 campers from the CEF Dallas, Fort Worth and Lone Star Prairie Chapters were there to start something. This camp isn’t just a feel-good revival week because it’s summer. It’s not leadership training with no follow-up. They will be helping with 5-Day Clubs as quickly as just two days after camp is over.
Adult leaders from their chapters and around the state led them in training sessions such as God’s view of children, making a Bible lesson come alive, teaching the saved child, and managing 5-Day Clubs. They learned skills that will help them both teach and entertain children. Balloon art, backyard games and team building skills that will help them learn together. Maddox, 15 years old, correctly surmises after her practicum, “This is harder than it looks.”
One of the things about this camp that impressed me the most was just how transferrable to school and work these lessons are. Learning to take constructive criticism can be hard for a lot of us! Isn’t it wonderful to learn hard things like taking constructive criticism in a safe environment? How much better to learn about effective teamwork and the value of communicating a good team plan when you are 14 at camp than 45 on the job! These participants aren’t just better off spiritually; I promise they have also grown in personal skills.
This is such a broad overview. I can’t wait to introduce you to Katie, who at 14 has been helping with clubs for four years already. I got chills when she said with total conviction, “This ministry is my home.” You’ll meet trilingual sisters, Samora and Sandra, who were born in Uganda and hear about how their energy and amazing faith is working in their clubs. I’m going to tell you about Xander, who tells me that he wants to serve but doesn’t see how God will use his Asperger’s and ADHD; we will get front row seats to watch God do exactly that through this blog series. You need to hear about Zoe, who knows sign language and is learning to deliver the Wordless Book to the deaf. You have to hear about the wonderful staff who got so excited when they saw new skills develop. Y’all stick around, good things are happening through CEF in Texas!
But this great ministry is not only happening in Texas. Teens trained through Christian Youth In Action are right now leading 5-Day Clubs across the USA and around the world. Contact your local or state CEF office to find out specific dates and requirements for your area.
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