‘Anne Marie, add 'a camping trip in order to bond,' " I suggested as I leaned against the wall, being careful not to fall in the gap between it and the bed. We were filling our first night in New Orleans daydreaming about the massive youth group we were going to build.
Three years ago our youth program at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Cheyenne, Wyo., was sagging. Only two members made the trek to New Orleans for the National Youth Gathering. We decided that we weren't going to stand for this lack of excitement. Our preparation for the 2000 gathering started that night.
Anne Marie and I aimed to take 25 youth to the next gathering — an outrageous number, but we were determined. It paid off. Now 11 youth and three adult chaperones are preparing for a trip to G2K.
A year ago the gathering wasn't even a glimmer in our eyes, but a lot has changed. Our church decided to call a youth pastor to repair our broken youth group. Larry has worked hard since he arrived here in August and has succeeded in strengthening our group.
We have monthly meetings to plan fund-raisers and settle important decisions about our chaperones and travel arrangements. Without these details we wouldn't be going. But there are more important things in our preparation than car washes and chili dinners. Being mentally and spiritually prepared ranks above everything else. We also do Bible studies; we discuss our religion and faith; we share and we grow. We are getting to know God and each other better with every meeting and fund-raiser.
There are two parts to making any dream come true: thinking and doing. The thinking started three years ago in a New Orleans hotel and now we're dancing our way toward St. Louis. We still have a lot of money to raise and a lot to learn, but when the time comes, you can bet we will be ready to "Dance at the Cross Roads!"
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