Children and Youth Programs
Our children participate in our worship time and are an integral part of the congregation. Networking with other teens is also important – particularly when each individual attends a different school. The components of our children and youth programs include:
- ASSETS – the thread that runs through our youth programming is the Search Institute’s list of 40 “Developmental Assets.” These building blocks of healthy development are designed to help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible. Areas of focus to which we are especially committed include Support, Empowerment, Social Competencies, and Positive Identity.
- ARTS – we have focused in on the arts as a valuable way to build confidence and personal power. From drawing and painting to singing and hand bells to acting and improvisation, Desert Mission youth have the chance to develop their skills and perform in front of others. Beyond our Sunday programming, we offer a Fine Arts Camp over summer break and a Half-Day Arts Enrichment program on select early-dismissal days during the school year. The camps are provided at a low cost, and enrichment is free of charge.
- INVOLVEMENT – our 10 AM Sunday service includes a special Children’s Time before Sunday school. This is a time of receiving, but is also used to share what we have been doing in the classroom with the rest of the congregation. We might sing, perform a skit, or help publicize church events. Beyond this, our older youth have opportunities to participate in worship as acolytes, readers, and liturgists. Our annual Youth Sunday and Christmas Eve family services are heavily focused on the contributions of our young people.
- INSTRUCTION – a strong component of our curriculum is Godly Play, a Montessori-based method that uses manipulatives to illustrate Bible stories and parables. This is supplemented with a variety of youth-friendly Bible storybooks, maps, and historical timelines. Engagement with the stories is deepened through discussion, retelling, dramatization, making connections to other stories and our own lives, and hands-on experiences such as sampling food and playing games from Jesus’ times.
- SERVICE – Desert Mission youth are taught that they can and should be a force for good in the community and the world. As such, we contribute to the church’s many mission programs as well as undertaking service projects of our own. Recent projects include making cards for seriously ill children, packing boxes for the troops, and assembling Halloween goody bags and other items for a nearby homeless shelter.
- FUN – we value each other, we help each other, we teach and learn from each other, and we laugh with each other!