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Youth Dynamics raises funds to connect with kids
ARLINGTON Teen and adults alike spoke about the positive impact that Arlington Youth Dynamics has had in their lives, at the groups March 15 fundraising banquet in the Smokey Point Community Church.
Our vision is to see Northwest youth transformed by the power of Christ, integrated into the local church and impacting their world for him, said Arlington Youth Dynamics Director Bronco Huge. Our mission is to invite and challenge youth to a lifelong journey in relationship with Christ and his church.
To accomplish these aims, Youth Dynamics is split into YD Adventures, which present young people with challenging learning situations through expeditionary trips, YD Communities, which visit middle and high school campuses to offer students mentoring relationships, and the Stonewater Ranch, a retreat center that can also serve as a church and camp.
Huge praised the support of the Arlington YD Committee Chair, Mark Crawford of Smokey Point Concrete, as well as volunteers such as Greg Kazen, and staff members Jessica Maher, Arlington YD Administrator Janet ODonnell and Arlington YD Associate Director Stuart Delony, before turning the show over to the teens themselves.
ODonnell interviewed Montana Cox, an Arlington High School junior who got involved in Youth Dynamics after Huge and his staff started visiting her school during lunch.
I thought they were students at first, said Cox, whose first participation in Youth Dynamics was a whitewater rafting trip. Over time, we built up awesome relationships. As role models, theyve helped me out so much. The staff really gets to know the students and changes their lives.
Cox choked back tears as she spoke about mentors such as Heather Baker, who would grab coffees with her and talk one-on-one about issues that mattered.
Through them, I can connect with my friends and with the Lord, Cox said. They dont judge, and theyre always there for me. Theyre an amazing group of people who care and encourage us.
Former Arlington resident Dalton Roberts is now attending Lake Stevens High School, but he still takes part in Arlington Youth Dynamics. Delony joked that Roberts was a man of few words, but eventually coaxed the teen into recalling how he built up his confidence through activities such as rappelling off the edges of cliffs.
I also remember you fell out of our raft, during our whitewater trip, and intentionally pulled me into the water with you, Roberts told Delony.
And was that water warm or cold? Delony asked.
It was refreshing, Roberts said, drawing laughter from the audience.
Delony went on to reminisce about some of his more difficult and rewarding experiences as a counselor, citing two boys from one of his retreats as an example.
At the end of the day, I would be giving a gospel message, and these two would be punching each other, Delony said. When they started opening up, though, they shared their hearts and struggles. One was using drugs, and the other felt abandoned and was thinking about death. They bared their souls to me, and I let them know that there is more, because theyre never alone with Jesus. Theres a hurt and broken generation of kids out there, and we need to invest in their lives.
Crawford echoed Delonys sentiments, that many young people are not currently being reached by the church, before he commended the generosity of sponsors and donors who have helped bring those youths into the fold. Huge followed Crawford by asking attendees to contribute further, since the pre-banquet gifts and pledges added up to $12,300 of Arlington Youth Dynamics $30,000 fundraising goal for the banquet.
You cant out-give God, Huge said. No matter how much you give, God can give it back in blessings.
The Arlington Youth Dynamics offices are located on 326 S. Stillaguamish Ave. in Arlington and can be reached by phone at 360-435-0170. You may also log onto their Web site at www.yd.org.