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Youth Group - Update!

Included in this message:

Youth Schedule

Mental Health and Youth

Advent Program for Children and Youth

Parent Discussion Group

Youth Group Schedule for November and December

November 6 from 5-7 pm

November 13 from 5-7 pm

November 18- Lock-In (more details to come)

November 20 from 5-6 pm

December 4 from 5-7 pm

December 10 Rehearsal TBD

December 11 Arrive by 9 am for Advent Program

Mental Heath and Youth

As I sit here, writing this article as my mind is on thoughts of a child who was just released from the hospital and was there for taking too many pills. I have put off writing this piece because it’s hard to write what I need to write about mental health. This kid who weighs heavy on my mind is not the first and won’t be the last. In the 20 plus years of ministry I have had to console too many families of youth. These are youth who struggled into adulthood coping with drugs and alcohol. They are youth who needed to find coping skills that might help them deal with the world and struggles they faced. And so that is what I want to do over the next few weeks; Talk about it! I know its important.

That’s why Maren and Merideth want to address these topics and more throughout the next few weeks during youth group. We are using Blessed Youth a book by Sarah Lund and its survival guide on having open and honest conversations with youth. We want to provide them with a safe place to ask questions and equip them with information and resources that might help. We are not professionals and are not a substitute for therapy.

Here is a paragraph of statistics that I want to share with you:

“ Before the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health challenges were leading cause of disability and poor life outcomes in young people, with up to 1 in 5 children ages 3 to 17 in the US having a mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder. Additionally,

from 2009 to 2019, the share of high school students who reported persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness increased by 40% to more than 1 in 3 students. Suicidal behaviors among high school students also increase during the decade preceding COVID, with 19% seriously considering attempting suicide, a 36% increase from 2009 to 2019 and about 16% having made a suicidal plan in the prior year, a 44% increase from 2009 to 2019. Between 2007 and 2018, suicide rates among youth 10-24 in the US increased by 57% early estimate shows that more than 6,600 suicide deaths among this age group in 2020.”

Wow- we have to talk about mental health- we have to make it a priority. So this is what we are going to do at FCC. Maren and Merideth can’t fix the problem but we can give the youth a safe place to start to talk about it.

Author Sarah Lund opens the survival guide (that each youth will receive) with this note, one we all need to hear:

Dear Blessed Youth,

It’s ok not to be ok.

Tell an adult that you are not ok.

It gets better.

There is help.

You are loved.

You are not alone.

Your life matters.

I care about you.


Love and blessings,


PS No matter what, you are loved.

Advent Program for Children and Youth

In addition, we want to balance our time together. We want to address these hard topics but we also want to provide an outlet for their creative energy. Maren and Merideth have a Advent program we would like to children and youth to participate in and will be working on that after having these hard conversations. Our meetings each week will include both the Mental Health discussion and working on the Advent Program along with dinner. We will be asking for commitments of your time for these program and your youths willingness to have a speaking part or not. The goal of the program for me is not for perfection but to get the youth an opportunity to try new things in a safe environment.

Parent Discussion Group

Finally, if there is any interest in the parents having a discussion group on mental health using the same information the youth will be using please let us know. I am willing to put together a group that could meet during youth group to discuss these topics. This group would be a support group for each other as parents and give us resources to help us on this journey. Please let me know if this is something you are interested in being a part of.


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