To say that we laughed would be an understatement. We laughed so hard we all had tears flowing from our eyes. Who would have guessed that a group of boys, some who have may have been homeless, addicted, abused and only the Lord knows what else, would have us laughing so hard?
These students came to Pine Brook to work on communication skills and learn to work with others. The day was filled with short initiative games and problem solving activities that required them to step up as leaders and listeners. The activities presented highlighted the need for all types of people and skills in order to solve the problem given to them.
These amazing young men worked together. At times they were frustrated with each other, talked over one another and even had a few choice words. But as the day went on we witnessed a change taking place. Frustration was replaced with accomplishment. Hardened spirits took a softer tone as they began to listen to one another. In the midst of all of this change was also a genuine spirit of fun and joy as they took in this opportunity. Laughter was inevitable, as they joked with each other and poked fun with one another and their circumstances. Perhaps at times it was a coping mechanism, but at other times it was just genuine appreciation of the fun they were having in that moment.
The day ended on a high note as the team finished and accomplished its last and most difficult challenge. A death-defying leap brought the whole team together in celebration. A celebration that captured the entire spirit of the day.
We don’t always have the opportunities to share a Biblical message within these programs, but we do have the opportunity to value lives. We have the opportunity to help people grow into who God created them to be. The opportunity to present Christ through our lives and caring spirit. Preparing the soil is part of planting the seed. THIS IS PINE BROOK!
(This was our experience as we worked on a collaborative program with Pine Brook Camp and PEEK Outdoors (a program offered by ADC Prevention Services and directed by Kevin Williams.) The students that day were part of a leadership program through Westover Job Corps Center. Our partnership with PEEK Outdoors is the program that many of our city youth in Springfield are sponsored through, and how Pine Brook is working to make a difference in their lives.)