Children Youth and Family
Led By: Tina Goeman
Contact Phone: 651.388.9311
Staff: Tina Goeman
Education Council Representative: John Laidlaw
Youth Council Representative: Aly Kloeckner
Youth Representative: Marshall Laidlaw
Committee Members: Wendy Ehlers, Kay Erickson, Barb Meyer, Daryl Mark, Julie Laidlaw
2018 was another blessed year in ministry. We continue to offer education Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings for our young people from 3 years old through 6th grade. We appreciate the volunteers who dedicate their time to make this happen. The biggest feedback for 2018 in education for our younger children is that the teachers are happy with our curriculum, both the content and the scope and sequence. This is no easy task, finding a good curriculum that is theologically correct, has lessons that both the leaders and children
enjoy, and keep everyone engaged.
New in 2019 is a dedicated high-school Bible study. We meet at Caribou and all are welcome, regardless of church affiliation. We are using the new program T.B.D. (Think, Believe, Do) from Sparkhouse. This Bible study has been a great addition and consistently attended. The students have good insight and, are great at sharing, and discussing ideas and topics that are not always easy to share in a group. Their willingness to be fully engaged in our discussion each week is inspiring. In the short time we have been meeting this year we have
tackled issues such as sin, prayer, and mission.
In 2018 we held our “everybody’s birthday” event on a Wednesday night. The addition of family fun nights on Wednesday is hit! The families love to have time to spend together in fellowship and it also gives our classroom leaders a bit of a break throughout the programmatic year.
Our older students once again provided the Ash Wednesday meal. This is a good fundraising opportunity and a great relationship builder. We also held a Palm Sunday breakfast this year. We had a good response for our first year of this fundraising meal.
Holy week is always a busy week. The fourth-grade students participated in their first communion. This includes a half-day of instruction led by Pastor Arte on the meaning behind the sacrament as well as the participation of students and their families in their first communion on Maundy Thursday. We held our annual Good
Friday Children’s Retreat, and Easter Egg scramble. These events were well attended. Offering a morning event on Good Friday for our younger members is a great way to reinforce the Easter Story and get them involved at an age appropriate level. We partnered with United for this again. It is always great to hold these special events together, from both the participant side, and the volunteer side. Summer 2018 was blur of activity. We had Vacation Bible School in June, that was written by Tina, Amanda
(from Untied Lutheran) and Marshall Laidlaw. We continue to be blessed by the student and adult volunteers that make this week possible. The theme this year was Mission: Possible; The Case of the Miracles of Jesus. This adventure theme was a fun way of walking through the stories in Jesus’s ministry. We were excited to have participants from all three of our ELCA churches involved in 2018’s VBS.
2018 was a national youth gathering yea and the theme was This Changes Everything. We had quite the adventure on our 2-day bus trip to and from Houston, Texas. Our small group met up with over 30,000 Lutherans to hear messages designed with their lives and struggles in mind. The kids were truly inspired and changed after our time spent in learning, listening, serving, and engaging in all things presented to us. One of the highlights in Tina’s eyes, was our Synod Day worship service. Marshall was one of the students chosen to be a leader for this unique worship experience. He did a great job, and energizing our group, and demonstrating many of the gifts that God has given him. This was a long trip, and expensive one, and one that is totally worth both of those costs. Nothing else compares to this experience that gets the kids talking, interacting, participating, and growing in their faith.
MN Nice was changed this year to Middle Schoolers on a Mission. Imagine six students (3 from First and 3 from United) on a road trip to Nebraska. We spent several days in Axtell volunteering at a Mosaic, a group home campus called. This was a unique service trip for our middle schoolers. They spent most of the time interacting with the residents living in the group homes. Our youth helped transport people from their home house, to their day residence, they hosted a couple of game nights, and participated in a movie night. We also were able
to worship with the people there. This was a great opportunity for our youth to participate in a service that is inclusive of those with all different abilities.
Our last summer event was Camp Wapo. This year we had students participate in both the Seeds weekend and full youth camp week. The campers all had a good tiem enjoying camp, while being in an environment where they experienced worship and devotions in a way that is different from our church environment. We look forward to sending more kids to camp in 2019.
Rally Sunday was a youth-lead service. It was great experience to have the kids share about their trips this summer for both the congregation and the youth. The Nebraska kids did a good job talking in front of everyone, which seems like no big deal until you are standing up in front of a bunch of staring faces. This was a great worship service, and it was also fun to collaboratively with Marshall and Marilee for this special service.
We once again celebrated Rally Wednesday with our neighbors at United. We hosted dinner in our fellowship hall followed with games outside and finished out the night with worship at United. We were fortunate to have nice weather for outdoor games and enjoyed working once again with our community partners.
In October we held our annual Pumpkin Carving Night. This event is well attended, and it changes things up for our families over MEA weekend. It is always fun to watch the kids and adults working together on their pumpkins.
Speaking of families and creativity, we held our annual Christmas Craft Night on the 19th of December. We are blessed to have so many adults lead crafts for our families to do. We have so much fun with snowflakes, pipe cleaners, and the favorite ginger bread decorating. Thank you to everyone who helps from set-up to clean-up on this event. December is always a busy month. We had our Christmas Pageant, The Mouse’s Tale, on the 23rd this year. The program tells the story of the birth of Jesus through the eyes of all the animals involved. Marshall Laidlaw did a great job leading the children with speaking parts, teaching them about blocking, and getting them ready
to lead this program. The kids had good time, and did a fantastic job telling the Christmas Story in such a fun
way to the congregation.
Our team goal for 2019 is to continue to lead our young people on their faith journey. In order to complete this goal, we need more volunteers, especially on Wednesday nights (meal provided for a nominal fee, smiles are free). We plan on maintaining all of the things we did in 2018, from family fun nights to faith formation.
There is no youth gathering in 2019, so we want to work on growing both our local service and bring back a local mission “trip” element into our plans for the older youth. We want to pursue the opportunity of creating a Rejoicing the Sprit worship service. This is the inclusive service our Nebraska middle-schoolers attended, and it is one that is an accessible service for all ages and abilities.
Working with this group of people is a wonderful blessing.
P.S. Looking for a little fun in your life? Time spent with our youth is some of the best fun you can have! Help
feed the energy on Wednesday nights, volunteer for Good Friday retreat, see how creative our youth are by
helping out with pumpkin carving or craft nights. Or just sign up to chaperone an event or two. Our youth are
eager to show you all that they can do! Talk to Tina about this amazing opportunity to get to know these kids!