Dear Fans, Families and Users of Rite 13 and Alive and Well-
Well, forgive the slightly impersonal nature of another
email-but we-Kathie and Bill-wanted to
make contact with all of you, and let you know how excited we are for the year
ahead with you and your kids. And, we
thought you might value some details, too.
Read through, or scroll down.
Yes, it's a bit long-and still, we hope this helps.
Getting Started and Other
Mary Kay Dolejsi has already sent word that we start up next Thursday,
September 17th. And yep, as
soon as we announced that date we learned it was Open House at BHS. Oh well.
We'll be at Grace-parents will be at BHS. Enjoy walking the halls, and remember how
that feels . . .
So, we start on the 17th.
And we're glad for it. If you are
receiving this email then you are on the list-which, we know, is mostly
parents. And we're trying to keep the
list current, so if you want "off" (sad!), let us know. If you know someone who wants to added
(happy!), forward this to them. And let
Mary Kay know (firstname.lastname@example.org). We assume this email is mostly for
parents-and we are working on other ways to stay in touch with kids.
And Those Other Ways
We use word of mouth, subtle signs, peer pressure, FaceBook, texts,
email-and even some phone calls and random encounters-to stay in touch with
kids. We have also created 2 new social
network sites that are dedicated to Rite 13 and Alive and Well participants. We will be inviting kids to use them-and in
doing so we'll be trying to create a connection that is safe and friendly. You can find links to them on the Grace
website to get a glimpse of what we are trying to create-but this will be a
social network site for kids only. This
is a bit of an experiment, and we'll see how it works. And, regardless of the means for
communication, we want to stay in touch with kids.
What Do We Do on Thursdays?
Good question, or course. In some ways, the energy and connection on
many Thursday nights just seem to happen.
We'll use a movie clip, or some piece of music, and that will open up
some conversation. We do love to use all
kinds of movies, and edit our clips as carefully as we can (and yes, sometimes
the language in the clips will be . . . well, movie language). The goal is conversation and growth. Each year we use themes to help us along-and
focus. Usually 4 words, or 4 questions. This year it's: "Dream. Think. Be. Do." Mirrored with "Love. Mind. Soul. Strength." We use these themes to open up conversation,
and open ourselves-to each other, and to God.
We finish every evening in the Church, trying to quietly open the doors
of faith in our lives. We are not trying
to "teach" faith, or religion. We are trying
to model community, and spirit, and we want kids to wonder, think,
experience. Therefore, we hope that kids
will feel comfortable here regardless of where they are on a faith journey. And yes, we do talk about God, and Jesus, and
"stuff" like that-and we do so with open minds and hopefully open lives.
And We Eat
Yes, this is a popular part of
Thursday nights, and often a creative burden for those parents willing and able
to cook. And we do need the help. We actually believe the food to be essential-but
sometimes we are feeding up to 50 kids.
No small task or expense. What we
hope is that parents will share the work.
Please. And, we have a new
web-tool called Lotsa Helping Hands, that is available (free) for communities
to coordinate tasks. We're going to use it to coordinate meals for Youth Group
All parents of teens are invited to join this web-site, and help us use this
powerful tool. We can post menu ideas, volunteers can see a calendar of when
they have signed up, and who else is on the team. Please go tot the following
Joining this community will take a couple of steps. First, you will fill out a
request to join, and then, once approved, you will be sent instructions for
setting a password and signing in. You will need to do both steps. Let Mary Kay
Dolejsi know what you think. Thanks for all your help. Yep, it's a little more work now to sign up, but should make it easier for all of us.
When is All of This Happening and Who Can Come?
We know that Thursday
night is "Kid Night" at Grace. In fact,
it's pretty cool to feel the place hum on Thursdays. The Rite 13 kids gather at 5:30, and then we
eat at 7 pm. The Alive & Well gang
shows up at 7 pm (or later) for food, and then stays until 9 pm. We meet throughout the school year, taking
breaks for school hoilidays--and remember: we don't meet on the first Thursday
of each month.
We hope kids will come
as often as possible. It's our
experience that continuity builds the best sense of community and
connection And, we also know that the
"busy-ness" of their lives reflects the busy state of our own lives. So, we know that many kids will miss many
Thursdays. We are happy to see kids
whenever they can come-and missing many weeks, or arriving late from a practice
or school event, is just fine.
And, we are so
delighted when friends come. Please, let
folks know that these evenings are for anyone who is interested.
Something for Juniors and Seniors
We know that Juniors and Seniors
have full lives. And of course, they are
a vital part of Thursday nights-bringing insight, leadership, plenty of humor,
and even wisdom. We also know sometimes
they are dealing with "stuff" that deserves some dedicated time of its
own. And so on the first Thursday of
each month-those first Thursdays when our regular programs don't meet-our
Juniors and Seniors meet from 8:45-10 pm at Bainbridge Bakers. We just hang out, eat (we have the place to
ourselves!), and check in. Usually funny
stories are told, we moan over American Studies, get caught up on college
applications, and sometimes we even get a little homework done together.
6th Graders and Those
Ah, the "new" guys. We know it can
be a little hard for 6th graders to walk into the Youth Room for the
first time. Especially if the couch
seems full of loud 8th grade boys.
But those 8th graders were once 6th graders too,
and worked to get them included. It
actually happens pretty quickly. And the
same is true for those freshman moving up.
At the start of each year we make some effort to help get kids over the
natural, but unnecessary, "class boundaries."
This isn't like school. It's more
like a neighborhood where we all know each other. So, if kids are feeling shy, or new, or
both-well, we just ask them to dive right in.
Or at least show up . . . It's worth it.
The Bigger Picture
We love these kids. Really. Each year we go through the "letting go"
process of sending off those graduates, and then we build up anticipation for
kids we don't yet know. Over time, there
are honest and good relationships that we try to build. We try to respect the trust that kids give
us, and therefore what we do together in both groups remains as confidential as
we can make it. We also know that these
particular years can be challenging and full of change. If we can help-or even if you just think we
can help-let us know. And we will offer
that same support to all the kids.
Something for Parents
parents get a chance, too. We plan to
expand on the very successful gatherings and conversations we had last
year. We are parents, too, and we know
that no one should parent alone! We have
insights and wisdom, and we can always laugh together. Here's that schedule:
Parents of Teens -
Six first Wednesdays at 7:15pm
Change Happens: October 7 and November 4
Sh*t Happens: January 6 and Februaray 3
Happens: March 3 and April 7
that's it! See you Thursday. Sign up to host a meal. Share this info!