Dear Friends in Christ:
Van Fundraiser Update: We did it! Thanks to the generosity of many people, we have surpassed our goal of $40,000 to purchase two vans for our summer programs! In just over three months, our partners have overwhelmed us with abundance. (If you were meaning to donate, still feel free; extra funds will be used for maintenance and a trailer purchase.) We are currently shopping—what a great blessing!
Last month, we started a series talking about how we are working to sharpen our focus in Kairos. This month, I want to tell you about one very important element of this: our summer trips.
We have been offering summer adventure trips for many years, but mostly for boys, grades 7 to 9. Going forward, we are planning trips for junior high girls, and expanding our trips through the end of high school. As a side point, that is why our van fundraiser was so important; to run these new trips, we will need the wheels.
We are making these changes for a few reasons. First, while something like the YES! Retreat has a big spiritual impact, because it has gotten so big, relationally it becomes harder for youth to get to know young people from other locations. The bigger an event becomes, the more likely people are to hang out with the people they already know. We hope that our summer trips will work against this – we will only have about 20 youth per trip, and youth going on trips will be with the same class every summer – so by the end of High School, they will have some strong, supportive, relational bonds.
As we expand our summer trips, one new adventure we are planning is a special trip for upperclassmen: we are calling this the Kairos Summit. This trip will focus on “what comes next” after high school, with an emphasis on connecting youth to our missions after graduation.
By the time a senior graduates high school, he or she will have had the opportunity to attend four YES! Retreats, five outdoor adventure trips, and a Vision Retreat. So, what happens after high school? Glad you asked!
We are instituting Kairos Adventure Guides. This will be a 3-month summer program of training, living in community with others in Christian household, and serving on the Kairos adventure trips.
There will be two parts to the “Guides” program. The first year will be aimed especially at recent high school grads, but open to all 18–22-year-olds. The second year will be open to veteran staff.
The Guides will receive training as they live in either a men’s or a women’s household while they are doing their training weeks. Training will include camping together, serving together, learning how to be an effective youth leader, and how to be safe in the back country as they lead trips. Then they will spend a lot of time “on the road” staffing various youth trips.
The Adventure Guides will be a summer-only program. However, there will be opportunity for young people who are looking to spend a year away from home. Some of them will want to take a longer time to serve, seek the Lord, and connect to a Christian community. They will serve with Kairos for 5-10 hours a week. Kairos will help them connect with the local University Christian Outreach, the local Christian community, find a job or take classes at a local college, and place them in a good living situation.
There are similarities to the Standing in the Gap Program, with important differences. For example, they will have enough time to have a part-time job or take some college classes. They also will not need to raise their whole support, as they did while in the GAP program. We are hoping to take the best pieces of the GAP adventure and make it more doable for both the young people and for Kairos.
I am very excited about our expanded and sharpened vision for working with youth. I am grateful to the Lord for giving me this adventurous life in Him, and for the opportunity to call young people to a radical life in Jesus Christ. Thank you for being part of this call. Your prayers and financial support mean more than I can express.
In our victorious Lord,