Our youth get messages from so many directions – and many are unhealthy or destructive.  A natural tendency at this age is to separate oneself from one’s parents, and look elsewhere for answers – for hours a day, that’s at school.  Conversations beyond things like who is more popular, or best at some sport, can be few and far between.  Most kids have concerns & problems that are common …but without open communication of their true feelings, many feel alone in their suffering.   Enter SPY: a safe environment away from their parents, where kids can socialize for a couple hours a week, with good role models at hand.  That in itself is a wonderful reason for SPY to exist – but that’s not all!

After a decade or more of learning from their parents, adolescents begin to make up their own minds.  Some of the things they have been told, they take to heart and carry into adulthood; others they don’t connect with so well – eventually they’ll decide their own course, as they become their own person.  Building on the basis of the morality that is in each and every one of our children, guided discussions address the type of things that most of us face at one time or another.  “At the school dance, a girl you are interested in comes right up to you, and asks if you want to go for a walk outside – that’s out-of-bounds for the dance.  What are your options? What might the consequences of your decision be? What would you do?” is just one of the hundreds of questions that get discussed. Thinking these things through and discussing with others, before a situation is thrust upon you, can make a real difference in how you make a decision – in how you live your life.

Worship in the sanctuary develops and strengthens the customs of worshiping together, without all the trappings of Sunday morning.  The youth may take turns leading a short formal service, or we may use the time to practice a song for the SPY talent show.  Those who have not served as acolytes become more familiar with the sanctuary, and feel more at home there after these intimate worship times.  A couple of times a year, the older youth design and execute their own liturgy service, complete with Eucharist, music, multimedia – whatever they plan!