By Donna Olendorf
Director of Children and Youth Formation
Finding a good learning fit for our children is one of the most challenging–and rewarding–aspects of being a parent. We want our children to be nurtured in an environment that promotes learning, builds confidence, and encourages relationships. We want them to be comfortable, but not so comfortable that they become complacent.
One of the most important goals of our Journey to Adulthood (J2A) youth group curriculum is to create meaningful relationships built on confidence and trust. J2A recognizes that relationships are built on shared experiences more easily than on shared ideas and many of our church school students have formed cohorts that are not defined by age or by grade. We don’t want to disrupt a formative relationship.
On the other hand, the different pieces of J2A are targeted to different age groups with good reason. There are developmental differences between 13 years olds and 16 year olds, which is why Rite 13 is targeted to grades 6 – 8 and J2A is targeted to grades 9 – 10. A third component, Young Adults in Church (YAC) is designed for students in grades 11-12 who have already been confirmed.
It’s been a few years since we used the J2A curriculum at Grace and a lot has changed. The program recognizes the complexities facing teens in our modern world and the demands on parents and students time. That said, the program represents a commitment that must be honored for the program to be of value. Each of the segments is a two year commitment with an ending ceremony.
After church this Sunday, we will be having a joint meeting for students and parents from grades 6 – 12 to explain the differences between the programs and help make the best placement for each student. We will meet for about 45 minutes in the upstairs classroom at 11:30 and the Rite 13 and J2A leaders will be providing an overview. If you have a child in this age group–or are interested in working with Grace youth–we urge you to attend to find out where your children belong.