Another First Church First: Youth Edition

By August 6, 2020

It’s true that our 2020 graduating seniors missed a lot of “lasts” from their final year in high school. On the other hand, they’ve been a part of a lot of “firsts” as well! Many of our seniors experienced a first-ever graduation event and now they’ve completed our first-ever virtual FUMCFW Youth Banquet!

Last Sunday, August 2, Kat Bair, Director, and Matt Britt, Associate Director of Youth Ministries, joined by Youth Ministries Intern, Chris Vardy, hosted a live-streamed Virtual Youth Banquet on our FUMCFW website, Facebook Live, YouTube Live, and Instagram Live!

Our Youth Ministry leadership, as hosts of this event, got all dressed up (like they would have for an in-person gathering) and invited the youth to participate in the dress-up as well! Since many of these high schoolers missed their in-person proms, the youth team encouraged them to dust off the dress or tuxedo they might not have worn and wear it to youth banquet instead!

We know an in-person banquet would have been best, but for the safety of everyone, with some quick thinking and creativity, the FUMCFW Youth Ministries team made the absolute best of this situation.

The youth team joined forces with our FUMCFW Communications team to create a fun, virtual, awards-style program for everyone to enjoy.

This banquet gives our congregation a chance to say their farewells to this incredible group of seniors, and has also provided our seniors a platform to lift their voices in their senior speeches, and a chance to award the annual “Justee” awards to our deserving youth.

Expressing her gratitude to Paul, Emily, Austin, and the rest of the Communications team for helping Youth Ministries pull off this virtual celebration, complete with senior speeches that covered the whole range from heartfelt expressions of gratitude to pure, chaotic silliness, Kat continues, “I am also so grateful to have one year where this tradition, with its sweetness, weirdness, and unflinching honesty was recorded exactly as it was. It feels like we have a little time capsule of where this special group of teenagers was during such a precious moment in their lives.”

In addition to our annual Youth Banquet honoring the graduating seniors from our youth ministries, our Cornerstone Youth Choir has also kept tradition alive — albeit, virtually. Our CYC students and alums directed by CYC Director Erin Ypya, performed their annual senior song for the graduating seniors, this one titled, “Shine,” composed by Erin.

“Typically our senior song is premiered at the end of our Summer Youth Choir Tour,” Erin says. “Since we couldn’t go on the trip together this year, I thought this would be the perfect way to surprise our graduating seniors with our gift of song.”

Erin explains that keeping the song a secret from the seniors is one of the most important parts of the process, and luckily, it all went off without a hitch; the seniors were surprised with a virtual choir performance, also compiled by Erin, as the finale of the 2020 Virtual Youth Banquet.

“If you listen to the lyrics of the song closely,” Kat says, “you’ll also hear some little homages to our young people’s time in youth ministry. For example, the bridge is ‘You are seen, loved, and known. You Belong, and this is Home.’ Our last two Revolution weekend themes were: ‘I Belong’ and ‘Home.'”

We encourage you to take a moment to watch the Banquet video, listen to these eloquent (sometimes silly) youth as they reflect on their time in our Youth Ministries group and look toward the future. As you enjoy their sweet 2020 youth slideshow, we invite you to remember your own days as a youth. These kids have grown into such delightful, caring adults — and we cannot wait to see their lives continue as they become future leaders of our church and our hope for the future.

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