by: Patty Schuurman, Youth Leader, on behalf of the Planning Team at Crosspoint CRC and ClearView CRC in Ontario, Canada
SERVE has been a staple in our youth group for over a decade now. Every July, students pack up their bags, jam some sugar/snacks into their pockets, triple check to ensure they have their passports, get commissioned by our church family, and pray together with leaders and parents before boarding a van and embarking on an adventure. Whether that adventure leads them to the states or another area in Ontario, our youth have found this trip to be invaluable.
SERVE has been a combination of fun and fellowship, boisterous activities and quiet reflections, hard work and leisure, silliness and seriousness, singing and sleeping. It’s been an opportunity to grow in relationship with our God, with each other, and with new faces as we seek to love our neighbor. The churches who’ve hosted us have done so with generosity and kindness, modeling how to love abundantly, live intentionally, and laugh ceaselessly. And the impact of this experience is noticeable years later as youth and leaders reflect on what SERVE means to them:
“SERVE is a place where teens serve others in a community while also deepening their relationship with God and with the people around them.” – Natalie Rekker, former youth
“SERVE is an opportunity for participants to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the community where the job sites are located.” – Marja Mol, former youth leader
“SERVE is a beautiful experience where youth can make a positive difference in the community and grow in their faith at the same time…and that’s a beautiful thing!” – Cindy Schreutelkamp, youth leader
“SERVE is a great experience for both students and leaders. It’s a time of spiritual growth as well as a great time of building new friendships all while learning how to serve others within the community.” – Carolyn Kaldeway, youth leader