MIDDLE SCHOOL YOUTH PROGRAM
St. Matthew's Destinations program, now in its twelfth year, has grown into an enjoyable Christian experience for our middle school youth (6th through 8th grade). It builds a bridge for kids passing from their elementary school years into what can sometimes be the turbulent middle school years as they head toward highs school and adulthood. The program is designed to provide children with an opportunity to build Christian community and fellowship, as well as get together to have fun! Social growth and building community connections ar especially important for middle schoolers, and Destinations fosters these objectives in engaging and interesting ways.
Destinations meetings are held once a month on Wednesday evenings in the Parish Hall from 6 to 8pm. This may occasionally change, depending on the destination planned. Changes are communicated through direct email to parents. St. Matthews's follows a program called "Destination Unknown" by Sam Halverson. We don't pre-announce the destinations, since the "mystery" is part of the program's appeal.
Meetings usually begin with dinner and team-building games, followed by a mystery destination/activity. Our destinations are local (within a 20-minute walk/drive), and the activities often open students' eyes to various facets of their community, while also inspiring them to think about the world and their own lives and faith in a new light. Meetings wrap up in a scripture lesson and discussion that draw on the themes inherent in the night's visit. Examples of recent destinations include a guided tour of the Pennington African Cemetery (in October, of course!), an evening of music with residents of an area assisted living facility, a trip to the police station, jail and courtroom, and a visit to a local art gallery that led to our exploration of the images of God that we see in ourselves. Students' questions and observations are insightful and provocative. This program helps to build connections between the teens' faith and their everyday lives and community.
Destinations operates through the organizational leadership of parishioners Diana Drake and Benita Wittenborn. Youth minister Brandon Jones served as a role model and spiritual voice to the group through he Spring of 2015. Parent volunteersprepare and serve meals for meetings, as well as assist the group as drivers and chaperons during monthly activities. Parents, including Joe Lawver, have also planned and led recent destinations.
We encourage participation from new volunteers and welcome interesting destination ideas.
To learn more about Destinations, please contact Diana Drake at firstname.lastname@example.org, 609-730-9037.
New members are ALWAYS welcome!