How do you know when a young person has a life-changing moment? Chances are, you don’t, but in youth work, we create as many opportunities as we can to make it happen. One of FYI’s 4 pillars of youth development is to expose young people to new and positive experiences. FYI believes that when you’re a part of something positive, productive, or inspiring, the more likely it is that you will set, and achieve, meaningful goals for yourself.
Thanks to our great friends at Lakeside Baptist Church in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, 16 FYI’ers got to experience Trip USA this year. During the April school break, the Trip USA crew spent 5 days exploring Rocky Mount, NC with the families of Lakeside Baptist. Highlights included volunteering at the Conetoe Community Garden, visiting Summerlea Horse Farm, and hands-on learning and fun at the Children’s Museum and Planetarium at the Imperial Centre. We also got to know our host families better while bowling, boating, Easter Egg Hunting, and enjoying family cookouts.
“They treated us like family,” “I felt really welcome” – none of our young people will ever forget this visit and the outpouring of generosity from our host families. Although NYC and Rocky Mount are only 8 hours apart by train, it can seem like another world if you haven’t spent much time away from Washington Heights. Although some felt a bit nervous about being out of their element at first, practically all of our young travelers said they wanted to stay longer and that they really felt like they could be themselves while out of the city. And while our city kids learned a lot about daily life in a rural setting, we brought a little NYC down south. On our last night, our goodbye party turned into a dance party, and now there are at least a dozen Rocky Mount families who can do bachata and merengue!
We are grateful for the Lakeside Baptist Youth Ministry visiting us several times throughout the years and hope that they come back to NYC soon. Their visit last summer was great and we look forward to deepening our relationship.
See photos from our trip on Facebook.