TBC offers a Sunday morning class for middle school and high school students. This is a conventional Sunday School group led by mature Christian men or a couple. As the group bonds during each year, close relationships develop between student and teacher; this experience is generally quite formative for the teen and the particular teacher is often viewed as a role model for the rest of the life of the young man or woman.
This is not uncommon in any school setting, whether Christian or civic, and highlights the need for careful selection of the adult staff. At TBC, we have no shortage of qualified mature Christians to fill this role.
Youth Group is handled as a mid-week activity for middle school and high school students. Depending on the number of youth, this is sometimes broken into two separate age-appropriate groups. Youth group evening involves games or singing (and usually free food) as well as quality Bible investigation. An occasional trip to Worlds of Fun, a winter ski retreat, and a summer work camp are not only fun, but they are designed to prepare young people to take on increasing responsibility. The annual Fall Sporting Clays afternoon is fun of its own kind.
A Bowl of Chili, Anyone?
A unique fund-raiser for youth activities is our annual Youth Auction and Chili Cook Off every February (on a Sunday afternoon that does NOT compete with the Super Bowl… calendaring is everything). The afternoon begins after worship service with a church-wide chili dinner. Volunteer adult chefs prepare their favorite chili recipe (Mild, Spicy, or Fire Drill Hot) and bring the crockpot to the church kitchen. The youth organize a long row of tables in the multi-purpose room and position the crockpots side by side with sampler cups, ladles and bowls. Each crockpot is manned by a teen who vociferously hawks the chili he or she is representing to the crowd.
Those who prepared the chili are anonymous; voting is by cash contribution to each offered selection. The result is a cacophonous crowd sampling various chilis and stuffing dollar bills into voting jars. After the confusion subsides (and the heartburn begins) money is counted and winners are announced. Proceeds go to the youth, and then the auction begins.
A professional auctioneer usually volunteers time to sell off donated goods. This is no white elephant event; there is a high value on desirable, newly purchased or fabricated goods with a heavy preference for home-made baked goods. The auction proceeds snappily without slack time. Smoked hams and plates of home-made baked goods can command in excess of $200. It is great fun to bid up your neighbor and then let him win a dozen sugar cookies for $230…
The entire event usually takes less than 90 minutes from first chili taste to last auction bid and has been a singularly successful fund raiser for youth activities at TBC for more than 20 years.