Several weeks ago our youth pastor came to us with an idea the youth had to raise money for a school lunch program at the school in Uganda with whom Immanuel Church shares a relationship. They wanted to do an hour long run in a nearby park and get people to sponsor them for the laps they were able to accomplish. We said, "Great. Go for it!"
For several weeks the youth were available after our services to get people to sign up. Their enthusiasm was contagious and I think they felt proud and excited to be doing something worthwhile.
Sunday, the 11th of October was the day of the run. Unfortunately it was quite a cold day, but at least the rain held off. Doug and I walked over to the park with Tanner to catch a glimpse of the excitement. The runners/walkers were already going strong and throng of volunteers were on hand attending to all the details of water, food, photographs, etc. It was such a great environment. I was too cold to take photographs plus I had forgotten my camera. It was so excited to cheer the kids on as they came by the start place. Many of them are not in the best shape, but still they forged forward. A few of them were really strong runners and it seemed they were passing go every time we turned around. The camaraderie of the spectators made for a very enjoyable afternoon.
I was impressed by how many kids participated. They worked hard and running/walking for an hour is no easy task. Several leaders also ran and it was so neat to see their leadership and modeling. And I was blown away by how many volunteers the leaders had arranged to help out. It was so neat to see what can happen when people join together and put their energy towards a truly worthy cause.
We don't have the final numbers yet on what we raised, but the kids took such joy in participating in a worthwhile event. I was proud of every last one of them. This event was a true blessing for our church community and I am so thankful for the time, energy and initiative that went into making this happen. I was able to attend as a spectator and take part in the joy from the sidelines but my being there inspired me to consider my own contribution and I feel deeply blessed to be able to support our kids' efforts through making a donation to the project.
Never underestimate the power of youth to do good. Their energy, commitment, and joy in accomplishing something wonderful is unparalleled.