PIERPONT – For over fifty years now Pierpont Presbyterian Church has been conducting some sort of youth group for teenagers, one they original called JETS: Jesus Educates the Students but is now simply referred to as their church youth group.(From April 14 edition of The News).
Within the last three years the after school group has been led by Janet Marcy, which she said began with fifth through seventh graders but now includes about 15 fifth through ninth graders that they split into two groups.
Most of the time Marcy said the group runs from 3 p.m. until 4:45 p.m. and includes a snack, lesson, activity and prayer, as well as games.
“We pick a subject from the Bible and [talk about] how it relates to their life,” said Marcy.
“[Our main mission is to] lead them to know[ing] Christ and have their lives change[d],” said Pastor Larry Carr, who also helps with the group.
Marcy said a lot of the group is outreach, as many of the students do not attend church at Pierpont Presbyterian, although some have connections through their grandparents.
Although sometimes it can be a challenge having students from so many backgrounds Marcy said she really enjoys being in charge of the group.
“I like kids, I like being around [them,” said Marcy.
Youth Group Volunteer Carol Koivisto’s thoughts are similar.
“We just want to lead them to Christ and show them love,” said Koivisto.
Gail and Sharon Carr said right now their youth group has been working on a unit on change, which they said includes stress, anxiety, as well as communication.
“We found a lot came out of having the groups split up,” said Gail Carr. “Once we did it I felt it worked very well as they were more comfortable in talking in a small group. I think they respond well to close doors. We give as much support as we can and may not see results right away but down the road it does happen.”
“I think that’s why we’re here, to be a consistent [part] of their lives” said Sharon Carr in agreement, who adds that Marcy even makes special birthday cakes for the students.
Seventh grade student Alexis Conley also sees value in what the adults do at youth group.
“I come to this church regularly every Sunday,’ said Conley in regards to her connection. “I like [the] relays [we do and games involving] competition.”
Sixth grade student Caleb Decker also enjoys youth group.
“It is very helpful for the people that need help because they can go to heaven,” said Decker. “I like all the games we play here, every single one. If you really want to have a fun time on Thursdays after school, come here.”
Decker further adds that he has been coming to the youth group for two years now and first heard about it through a friend.
Although he’s only been there for about a month now, fifth grader Chase Leonard said he’s picked up a lot already by attending youth group.
“We do Bible studies,” said Leonard. “I learn speeches that God gave [and I like] the staff that are here, plus I’m related to them in some way. I [also] learned the Lord’s prayer.”
In the future the volunteers said they would like to teach the students to develop a little bit more discipline in how they conduct themselves, as well as would like to plan some fun events like a service day, a Christian movie night and possibly a camp out.
In the past the group has gone to the beach and held a spa night for the girls during the summer.
For more information about Pierpont Presbyterian Church youth group please call (440) 577-1218.
Pierpont Presbyterian Church is located at 71 Route 7 in Pierpont.
Pictured: Seventh graders Tony Aviles and Cadence Derylak enjoying a snack at Pierpont Presbyterian Church youth group, which has been a part of the church in some form for over fifty years.