As Spring rolls through Southwest Colorado, the Aspen trees are starting to show signs of life. The grass is starting to green. And old man winter is about to go to sleep for a while, which can only mean one thing.
Summer Time Is On The Way!!
For the last 15 years, I’ve worked for an organization that provides a “Best in Class” summer camp experience, and it’s nothing short of AWESOME!! We call it KIVU, and there’s nothing quite comparative to the work we do with teenagers from all over the world.
A Time to Get Away And Breathe
Our teen culture here in America is so full of pressure, I believe there needs to be a time to breathe and just find out who you really are. Kids today are working to make the team, practicing to audition for the chair, or working on their resume’ so they can have an impressive college application. And all those things are good. But I’m constantly challenging the culture of teenagers and their families to carve out time to allow some breathing room.
Human beings aren’t just made up of a list of resume’ builders. We’re a composition of intellect, physiology, and experiences (mind, body, and soul) and if we forget to take time out of the busy life, we’re only going to be a compilation of boxes we’ve checked for and end goal. And let me be honest, I’ve worked with thousands of students over the years. When they finally reach that goal of getting into their chosen University, A LOT of them look back and wish they took more time out while they had the chance.
KIVU provides one of many opportunities for students to come and take a breather from the pressure of being a kid today. Even if I didn’t have a stake in this game being the executive director, I would encourage every parent that reads this blog today to make sure they have allotted some time for their students to get away.
A Time to Explore
So much of a teenager’s life today is dictated to them. Even our education system is full of regurgitating facts, but how many times does a student get the ability to explore what THEY want? Some of the earliest foundational values here at KIVU are to help students explore who they are, and how they want to be going forward in their life. We don’t pressure students to be anything, we just provide a place where they can explore who they are and how they want to function.
So when I engage with students out here in Colorado, I make sure they have the option to explore what they want to do, talk about what they want to talk about, and learn how other people interact with the pressures of THEIR world.
A Time to Own their Own Faith
Through our history at KIVU we’ve always been about helping students find their own faith. Statistics today show so many of our young people running from faith, and it’s largely due to 1.) A Lack of Faith engagement, 2.) A Lack of Answers, and 3.) A Lack of challenge.
Most students who grow up in the church today are a part of youth groups that are programmatic in nature. It’s not anybody’s fault, but we’re learning as we do youth group style churches that another band, another light show, or another facility doesn’t necessarily translate into students engaging in faith issues. It draws a crowd, but when you ask College Freshman today what they think about faith, many of the youth group students on their transition to college are on a different journey of growing up.
They think Youth Group and Church is for families, and when they get older they’ll engage with the church again. But if there is a God of the Universe, and the Gospel message is true; then how can we help bridge the gap between teenager and University Student?
We’ve got to give them space to own their own faith, instead of relying on the faith we’ve tried to pass down traditionally. For sure, we need to give them answers that make sense in the real world, but we also need to challenge them to discover what is right and true about God. After all, if they don’t question, they’ll always wonder.
Out here, we give students adequate space to engage in faith if they want, and to ask tough questions about faith if that suits their needs.
I’m just excited to be able to provide such an opportunity for students around the world here at KIVU. And like I said, as the snow melts away, I can feel it in my blood, “ITS SUMMERTIME!!!”