Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Life keeps coming fast and since we are now through with spring break there are only nine weeks left in the school year! Summer is upon us friends!
It has always been a challenge for me as a working mom to fill the summers with fun and excitement for my children. Now that they are teenagers that fun usually means a significant outlay in cash!
We try to encourage volunteerism in our teens. For the past four summers our boys have volunteered at the Endeavor Games at the University of Central Oklahoma. The Endeavor Games is a nationally-recognized competition that allows all athletes with physical disabilities to participate in a multi-sport event similar to the Paralympics. The Games also provides training clinics for aspiring athletes. Click here to view 2007 Endeavor Games Video. They have become great friends with a lot of the athletes that come each and every year. It kicks off their summer each and every year.
Vacation Bible School is also another great time to have your teens volunteer. They can make the difference in a young child’s life while serving a worthwhile cause. Our daughter has volunteered at VBS as soon as she was old enough to help. One of our boys always helps with the skits. Our church loves to have teens help with VBS.
Another way our teens get involved is to serve as junior sponsors at our church sponsored Kid’s Kamp. Two summers ago a terrible virus spread rapidly through the camp. Many told us how much they appreciated our sixteen year old son (who was 14 at the time) and the way he comforted the eight and nine year old boys that were very sick. Even many of the sponsors got the virus. Seth cared for these throwing up boys and gave up his sheets and sleeping bag to those that had… ahem… mishaps. The point is….he could have begged off sick and let an adult take charge of those sick little boys but he stepped up to the plate and served and cared for them.
Beginning right now many communities will be putting out their calendars for the coming summer months. If you have teenagers find ways for them to volunteer. I would much rather my children serve others than sit in front of the television/video games all day or hang out at the pool each day. Volunteering prepares them for greater things in their adulthood. It develops their character and teaches them compassion. As with anything, a parent must be wise about when and where they let their teens volunteer. Be sure and check credentials if you let them volunteer somewhere other than your own church.
One more thing before I close….many teens get into trouble in the summer months because there is a lack of structure/parental involvement. One event that took place last year among one of our sons friends is each night (at least it seemed like each night) the kids ended up at one of their friends homes. The parents hosted them for the evening with snacks and supervision. Some parents had pools, some had big screen TVs with Guitar Hero and yet others had plenty of games to keep the kids occupied. It was a great time of bonding for the youth of our church who were all going to be attending five different high schools for the first time that fall.
Many times parents may feel that once their children hit the teen years that their job is nearly done. In our experience our teenagers love knowing we are involved and in touch with what is going on today in their culture. Parents, they want you to be involved and they want BOUNDARIES. Find ways this summer to give them opportunities to shine through the gift of volunteering their time. Works for our family!
Here are few more things you can read about teens and volunteering:
Teens and Volunteering
For more Works for Me Wednesday visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.