Thursday, November 8, 2012

"Mom, everyone is coming to Wyld Life tonight... No, like the WHOLE school."

When we started Young Life at HSE our first priority was to start up ministry with the High School students. But after two months of Campaigners and other YL events it was time to start something for Wyld Life. The intent was to start small--in November we'd take kids over to Carmel's WL Club on a bus and then have our own Club in December. But as things have had a tendency of doing in HSE thus far, the event blew up way past our expectations.

If there is anything I've learned about getting the word out this year, it's that there is power in Instagram. I asked the four girls that came to Wyld Life camp this summer and three of the girls in my bible study to put the info on Instagram, it didn't take long before everyone at school was talking about it. Most of them didn't know what Wyld Life even was but they were all excited about going.

Thursday morning the buzz about that night got so big that we decided to reserve a third school bus and order more pizza just in case.

We met at the Devoe's first for pizza. Soon the house and garage filled up with kids. E-mails had been sent to the parents of kids in the 7th and 8th grade boys and girls bible studies we have connections with, and ten 8th graders came to camp this summer, but all the rest came just from hearing about it from their friends.

While some kids at pizza and snacks in the garage, others watched the video from our Wyld Life trip to Timber Wolf. It's crazy to think about the potential of how many kids might come with us this year.

It's pretty awesome to get to welcome in all of these kids from my school, to be doing this with three other teachers whose passion for kids goes beyond the four walls of their classroom.

I'm so excited that we are starting something like this where in all the glorious, crazy, hilarious, awkward, energetic, awesomeness of Junior High we can bring these kids together and share the story of the gospel with them.

Before 7th period every day, Maddy and I talk in the hall with Donkaayyy! and this afternoon we asked him to come to Wyld Life. I was pumped when Donkaayyy! was the first one to walk through the door. I love seeing my students here and meeting their friends that will be in my class next semester.

When the garage doors opened the kids didn't wait for directions before sprinting outside and running down the sidewalk to board the three school buses. With well over 100 kids it was a good thing we got that extra bus. Two weeks ago I never would have predicted we would have a turn out like this. We sang all the way to Carmel and I'm surprised I didn't lose my voice.

Our bus drivers got a little turned around but the Carmel crew waited for us to all get there so we could share the whole experience. We ran into the Club room with music blaring and our kids didn't really know what to do at first.

Having all of the Carmel and HSE kids together was beyond awesome. The room was so full it felt like we were sitting in a club room at camp. I loved getting to watch all of my kids experiencing this for the first time.

In Carmel we've always had some Juniors and Seniors go through training to become Wyld Life leaders. Then they have a lot of responsibility in planning and leading Club. We don't really have Juniors and Seniors in HSE yet, but at the last minute got four of our older YL girls to come help out.

Until this year I helped with Carmel Wyld Life so it was so fun to see familiar faces of friends there tonight. I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned around to find Ellie, a Wyld Life and Tecumseh kid, smiling up at me. She's a rock star.

KCraig and I love our matching YL apparel and I think these fanny packs are going to be permanently glued to our hips. peace. love. younglife.

Earlier this semester I attended as many volleyball games as possible and met Maddy in the stands. She's in 8th grade and though she should be at our school she had to switch Junior Highs to be with her mom who is a teacher. She came to the games to cheer on her friends and it didn't take me long to see how great she is. I was so glad that she came tonight and I'm so excited about her being a part of Wyld Life.

We played the Savage game-- all the boys pile in the middle and hold onto one another the best that they can.

Next the girls attack and pull them apart. It's a simple game but never fails to be hilarious and so much fun.

The girls got a turn in the middle as well. These girls are fierce... and crazy... and intense...

I loved having two of my worlds collide tonight. It was so fun to be there with the HSE kids and to bring Kylie, Haley, Hannah and Natalie along to help out. I loved getting to see the Carmel Wyld Life leaders like Mackie, Claire, Shana and Jessie that mean so much to me too. It's exciting to think about how while I'm doing YL in just one school there is so much good being done by YL leaders all over the Indianapolis area every week.

Club was organized chaos. Our raffle and games were interrupted by pizza delivery guys and when we sang Mumford and Sons kids started popping up on their friends shoulders like popcorn. I'm definitely ok with a little craziness if the kids are having fun and are safe.

At the end of the night we quieted down for Mackie's talk. She's a Senior now and one of the girls I went to Castaway with a couple summers ago. Having a crowd this large was more than a little intimidating, but she did a great job of sharing her heart and telling her story of how she has found her identity in Christ rather than what she's involved in or what other people think of her.

I'm so excited about what the future holds for these kids as God keeps showing up in big ways. I pray that we'll be about authentic relationships, about telling kids about the hope of Christ, about living life to the full with them. I can't wait to see what our December event will bring.

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