Monday, August 1, 2011

L is for Leader's Club

When I first started working with teenagers, I had no idea what I was doing.  I took over the program in the middle of the school year and I had always worked with younger kids.  I wasn’t sure what programs to run and how to attract teenagers to the youth programs.  I was flying by the seat of my pants.

One of the programs that the YMCA offers is a program called Leader’s Club.  It is a program that not only centers around the Leadership skills of the youth but also teaches them to be physically fit. When I started there was not a Leader’s Club at our Y.  I was asked to form one.  When I held my first meeting, I had three youth show up.  One of those youth a girl named Lucia.  Lucia, her boyfriend at the time and one other youth came to the meeting.  I explained what the club was all about and told them that it was a priority to get it started at our YMCA. 
Everyone seemed interested, but it was Lucia that really was excited.  She helped me to build the club.  We started small and had about five members.  She helped me to advertise and talk to her friends about joining.  Each year we grew bigger and bigger.  The year before I left the YMCA, we had forty members in the club, one of the largest clubs in the area.  It was exciting and amazing and I couldn’t have done it without Lucia.
Lucia got a job at the YMCA as a lifeguard.  Even after I left the YMCA she helped the club and attend Leader’s school with them.  Leader’s school is a week long experience held during the summer.  To this day, Lucia still attends Leader’s school as a counselor. 
God puts people in our lives.  Old or young, there is no age limit on the people that make a difference in your life.  Often in life we wait for God to answer our prayers and we don’t think he is going to.  The funny thing is most of the time he does and the answer is sitting right in front of our noises.  God puts people in our lives to help us through tough times, to laugh with, to comfort us, or just to hang out with.  He knows what we need and we need to realize that it is the everyday people that God puts in our lives that make the biggest difference.
I would of never grown that club to the size it was without Lucia.  The more important thing is that we would of never provide the experiences and the memories that those teenagers had during those years in Leader’s Club without working together.
I hope you take some time to think about the people around you and the affect they have on your life.  Think about a time when you prayed to God for something and wondered if he answered you.  Was there a person that stepped in to help you through? 
May we thank God for the people in our lives that love us, hold us, and are always there for us.  They are true gifts from God.  I hope you always remember those people.  I sure will.  

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