There is this archetype in American culture of the “apathetic teenager.” We’ve all seen it on tv and maybe even in real-life. The constantly texting, non-speaking, “a-shrug-is-worth-a-thousand-words” creatures who live in a self-involved cocoon until emerging – somewhere around age 30.
But two weeks ago, at the Delaware-Maryland Synod Road Trip, hundreds of young people defied that image. Not only did these high school youth come out to celebrate the love of God, these teenagers planned the entire event themselves. They booked the entertainment, worked with community service organizations, and made sure there was a venue to hold all of these young extremists.
You may expect a teen to “Tweet” or “Post” gems like, “Roman is having an OK day, and bought a Coke Zero at the gas station. Raise the roof.”, quoted in the popular movie, Easy A. Instead, these students used social media to post pictures of their service projects and communicate with other Road Trip youth about which booths to check out. This is the first year that leaders of the event encouraged cell phone use during designated times to increase interaction with other youth and involvement with the presenters (like Lutheran World Relief).
Then, putting down their phones, they talked in small groups. Not about what was trending on Twitter or what Justin Bieber had for breakfast, but about real issues of the world, their spirituality and the love they have for each other because of the love Christ has for them.
During this weekend-long event, held in Ocean City, Md., these students also learned about the global hunger, the importance of access to water in developing countries and participated in advocacy. They also made LWR Quilts, cutting, designing, pinning and tying like pros. Elise, a youth participant at the gathering even noted the connection to “how one Quilt made an impact on a woman’s life.”
If this year is anything like last, when one youth group brought quilting back from this trip and started their own Quilters’ Group in their home congregation, this event may have helped produce a whole new generation of LWR Quilters! The activity was certainly a hit, says Josh Wunderlich, an LWR staffer who attended the event. “Th
eir favorite thing to do was design tops for a Quilt” says Wunderlich. “They would sit in groups and place all of the brightly colored squares together for some fun and beautiful Quilts.”
Are there young people in your congregation who are boldly challenging image of the stereotypical teenager by seeking to make a difference in the lives of people around the world? Connect them to LWR Quilting! Our 2013 Quilt Campaign Toolkit and our Youth Leader’s Guide for School Kits show you how fun and rewarding LWR service projects can be for youth groups.