The Words of the Tardy Family
God's Own (GO), the youth program implemented by youth leaders in the New Jersey (NJ) Unificationist community since 2005, began its fall session for this coming year, on Saturday, September 25, 2010.
With a total of 90 middle and high school aged participants, and 50 staff members from the ages of 17 to 32, GO is held weekly to incorporate community, sharing, education, fun, activities, and a connection to the faith of young Unificationists today.
GO staff members had prepared for the coming season by attending a required, intensive training workshop focused on team-building, the study of Divine Principle, and communication/facilitation skills for youth on Sept. 17-19, 2010. The staff was ready on Sept. 25th, and welcomed the NJ youth to a night of exuberance, dinner, and social interaction through praise and worship held with music.
After a homemade meal shared by 150 staff, participants, and supporting parents, youth gather upstairs in the NJ chapel to hear an education session prepared especially for youth in this age group.
On the night of October 2nd, NJ Youth Pastor David Hunter shared about his personal experience as a high-school freshman entering the doors of what seemed to be a large and overwhelming school building of over 2300 students that he was encountering for the first time 18 years ago. He explained that a feeling of being lost in this chaos of unfamiliarity, social insecurity and fear eventually lead to extreme loneliness, which he explained will happen to many at least once in their lifetimes.
Pastor Hunter explained that what helped him the most, and what has helped many others, step out of this period of loneliness, was first, learning how to reach out to God, thinking of God as a parent who was always with him wherever he stepped foot in his life. If communicating with God was still difficult for some, understanding God through our True Parents, the Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, could help many understand their self-worth as Blessed Children. The third thing he shared was that each of us has available to us our personal, physical parents, who have also gone through these experiences already. However, if youth working their way through periods of loneliness have a hard time feeling that their parents understand them, mentors and counselors in the GO program also are available for youth as sounding boards for their feelings.
After education sessions, each GO participant is able to join a small group lead by several staff members where each can discuss the education session as well as spend time with on other occasions in order to get to know others in their community more deeply.
During GO's 6th year, both staff and participants tell familyfed.org that they are excited for this new year's happenings and the many possibilities for growth due to a supportive community, character education, and personal guidance for life's encounters during the precious time of one's formative years.