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Honoring the Class of 2016

It’s that time of year again when we celebrate graduation.  One of our county schools has already hosted commencement exercises and more will take place this weekend.  This past Sunday we honored our seniors during our two morning services. As we’ve done the last few years, we put together a brief video highlighting the members of the graduating class.  Here is this year’s class of seniors.

Congratulations to the class of 2016!

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Good Article for Parents of Middle Schoolers

12669641_10153940312118011_3463812157598707071_nIf you have a middle school student (or several) living under roof, you may have asked yourself the question, “How do I deal with this child?” The middle school years is a time of growth and transition both for the student and the parent. I received the following article in my inbox this week and thought it was worth sharing with parents.

Mark Oestreicher has worked with middle school students for years and has created some solid resources for youth workers, parents and students. This article is helpful to parents of middle schoolers.

Here’s the quick recap of the article:

1) The best thing a parent can do is deepen your own connection to God.

2) The second best thing a parent can do is understand young teens.

The article goes into more depth on the subject and would be worth your time. It was originally posted on TheSource4Parents.com. You can read the full article below.

I’m convinced that understanding middle schoolers is the second most important thing you can do to increase your effectiveness as a parent. Yeah, it’s the second most important thing. So we’ll return to it in a couple of paragraphs.

The most important thing you can do to increase your effectiveness, as a Christian parent of a middle schooler, is to deepen your own connection to God. See, parenting a middle schooler flows out of who you are, not what you know. You can have all the best tricks for getting conversation going, an almost mystical ability to motivate your child, a deep understanding of middle schoolers, and the relational ability of Oprah Winfrey, but if you aren’t authentically and deeply connected to God, how would you stand a chance of pointing kids in God’s direction?

But I want to focus here on the second most important thing you can do to increase your effectiveness in parenting a young teen. And that, as I’ve said, is to understand young teens. Deeply.

I’ve been working with and studying young teens for more than three decades. And I can honestly say that while I’ve learned a ton about kids in that time, I still feel as though I’m always learning new stuff.

Early adolescence is a profoundly unique period of human development. Really, it’s just astounding how much is going on and how different it is from other developmental life stages.

Where most people go wrong (especially those who don’t work with young teens or don’t care about them) is in making one of two assumptions. And historically, most cultures have erred in one of these two directions.

The first extreme is to assume young teens are just little adults. (Or, that they are little versions of high schoolers, which is slightly different, but still inaccurate.) Young teens seem like teenagers in many ways, and they certainly want to be treated like teenagers and don’t want to be perceived as children. So we parents capitulate to culture—and to the premature desire of kids themselves—and assume they’re slightly smaller versions of ourselves (or slightly smaller versions of their older siblings).

Historically, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom have treated young teens this way (at least for the last couple of hundred years). And with a media culture that serves up more of what young teen consumers want, this perception has deepened in recent decades.

The other extreme, of course, is the assumption that young teens are really just oversized children. This, for many reasons, seems to be the default in lots of churches. I believe this often comes from a desire to protect young teens from rushing into adulthood and adult-like behaviors. In some ways this is a good motivation, and it carries some developmentally appropriate freight. But it can also be misguided—an overprotection that stunts the growth of kids during this critical transitionary time of life.

The dealio, as I’ve clearly tipped my hand, is that neither of these extremes is especially helpful.

One-Word Definition
If I asked you to summarize the young teen experience in only one word, what would you choose? I’ve asked this question from time to time during seminars and conversations, and here are a few common responses I’ve heard:

Stressed
Immature
Confused
Impossible
Annoying
Fun
Potential
Eager
Emerging
Spontaneous
Unpredictable
Challenging-but-full-of-possibility (People always try to get away with strings of hyphenated words when you ask for just one.)

If you asked me (Go ahead and ask. Say it out loud: “Marko, if you were to describe the young teen experience in one word, what word would you choose?”), I’d respond calmly: “Change.”

Change.

That’s it, in a word. The life of a middle schooler is all about change. As previously noted, it’s the second most significant period of change in the human lifespan. Stepping into puberty, and the two or three years that follow, brings about cataclysmic change in pretty much every area of life. It’s a deeply radical seismic shift that upends everything that was and ushers in a period of profound instability.

Think of a significant change you’ve experienced in your adult life—maybe a move or a new job. Remember how you felt during that time? You probably experienced a combination of uneasiness (from fear of the unknown) and excitement (from the prospect of what could be). That’s very much akin to the experience of early adolescence.

But the difference between a significant change you may have experienced as an adult and the significant change young teens are slogging through is this: Your feelings associated with change are mostly due to external factors. You likely experienced all kinds of internal stuff as a result of the external factors. But for young teens, the momentum of change is largely internal (although most young teens experience a host of external changes—such as a new school, new youth group, new friends, new freedoms—that further radicalize the internal stuff). The massive tsunami of change in the life of a 13-year-old is developmental, stemming from physical, cognitive, emotional, relational, and spiritual changes that are taking place in their bodies and minds.

This article is an excerpt from Mark Oestreicher’s book, Understanding Your Young Teen (Zondervan, 2011).

Mark Oestreicher is a partner in The Youth Cartel, and the author of multiple books for parents.

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Reflections on our Mexico Trip

Thu Mar 31 2016 02-25-34 GMT-0400After months of planning, promoting, sending emails, meeting with our team, getting passports and other documents, checking over the packing list and praying about this adventure, our trip to Mexico was a success.

I guess I say success because we traveled to and from Mexico and all fourteen made it back safely!  (The only hiccup in the trip was a long layover in Las Vegas that had us rolling into the church parking lot at 4:30 am)

I say success because we built the home on schedule…and it was still standing when we left!

I say success because we truly felt like we made a small contribution to the big work that 1MISSION is doing in that area of Mexico.

I say success because we were able to work alongside the young couple that would be living in the house we built – Miguel and Deysi.  For some of us on the trip, this couple is close in age to our own children.  For one of the students on the trip, she made the connection that Miguel and Deysi are the same age as her sister and brother-in-law.  She said she didn’t really understand what it meant to serve a brother and sister in Christ until this trip.  That’s too cool!

I say success because the trip changed us.  Our eyes were opened to what it looks like to live in a place other than Ohio.  For most of our group, this was the first trip out of the United States.  None of us had been to this part of Mexico.  So, to see what life is like for the people of Rocky Point, it offered us a different perspective.  While life isn’t perfect anywhere, we gained an appreciation for where we live.  While the house we were built isn’t extravagant by any means compared to what we see in the US, it stood out among some of the other housing we saw.  1MISSION seeks to create community by giving people in poverty the opportunity to earn a house by serving their community.  We were humbled to be a small part of that process.

We had a great experience in Mexico and are grateful to all those who supported us and made the trip possible.

We put together a short recap video of our time with 1MISSION.  You can check it out and see what happened during our time in Mexico.

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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House Build Group Leaves Next Week

1mission_4The time of departure is getting closer. We are now counting down days, not weeks! Kind of hard to believe that at this time next week, we will be in Mexico working on a home for a family. Pretty exciting!

Our group has been making final preparations, talking about final details and insuring all paperwork is done. As I mentioned in a previous post, we have received great support from our church family and community. Over the past 9 weeks, we have provided a concession stand for a Karate Tournament and our Upward Basketball Program. After running the final numbers, we raised just over $2400! That’s pretty exciting! Thanks again to all those who supported us.

Please be in prayer for our group and for the family we will serve. If you are from the Wilmington area (or even if you aren’t), please be in prayer for our team. Here is a list of our team members: Scott, Leyah and Avery Bradshaw; Susi Bradshaw; Bob, Dianna & Bethany Brausch; Ken Driscoll; Lauren Ellis; Andrew Garrett; John Luttrell; JB Smith; Jeff Walls; Tony Brackemyre.

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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House Build Trip is Two Weeks Away

Two weeks from today our group will be on our way to Mexico. Monday will be a travel day and we will spend the next three days building a house with 1MISSION. Hard to believe that we are closing in on our departure date. Our team has met a couple of times and we are getting ready to go.

Thanks to everyone who has supported this trip through prayers, financial gifts, donations to our concessions during our Upward basketball season and just inquiring about the trip. We can’t wait to share what we experience while there.

Please be in prayer for the family we will be serving, 1MISSION as they continue the work they are doing and for our team as we travel and work together.

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Selfie Obessession

The “selfie” has become a pretty popular thing (no news flash there). I have actually found myself taking “group selfies” on our trips with students. And the last couple pics have turned out pretty well…if I do say so myself.

But then I wonder if a group selfie is really a selfie because there are many “selves” and not just a “self” in the picture.

Anyways…this infographic is pretty interesting as it gives the stats on how many selfies are out there. Just think – 93 million selfies taken each day. WOW!

There is a story of how damaging the selfie obsession can be and some tips for people to consider as they take selfies.

Interesting information for parents, teens and those who care about students.

Selfie_Narcissism-Infographic-20151222-03

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Butler Springs Summer Camp Registration is Open!

If you live in the Wilmington area (or especially if you go to Wilmington Church of Christ) and you have school age kids, now is the time to start thinking about summer camp. Even though Spring Break hasn’t happened yet and they are even calling for some more snow later this week, this is a good time to be thinking about summer…and summer camp!

Butler Springs offers camp programs for those entering 1st grade all the way through high school. You will find sports camps, a horse camp, a Father/Son and Mother/Daughter experience, a cooking camp, science camp, archery camp, wilderness camps and more. You can see a complete list of camps on the Butler Springs website.

If you find a week of camp your child wants to attend, Butler Springs offers online registration. Just click on the link, fill out your information, make a deposit and you are on your way.

If you are a member or regular attendee of Wilmington Church of Christ, we offer a camp code which offers a discount on a camp experience. There is information on camp codes in the lobby at our KidCity check-in.

Check out the Butler Springs Promo Video below. Click the links above to see what is offered this summer.

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2016 in Uncategorized

 
 
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