Written by Allen Guy.
About 8 years ago, I began two different volunteer projects: First, I became a leader with New Tampa Young Life. I also became actively involved with a ministry for people with disabilities that my church was starting. When I learned about Capernaum, I was very excited. Through these two ministries I was developing a passion that intersected perfectly in Young Life’s ministry to teenagers with disabilities.
With the help of few people with a heart for this ministry, we launched Capernaum here! We had a “built in” population from church, and also used resources to reach into the community. I knew some of our Young Life kids had a heart for that population by their involvement in Best Buddies, Special Olympics and Special Connections at church. I invited them to check out Capernaum and bring friends who might be interested. That is all it took! The YL students loved serving as buddies at Club and camp.
I feel strongly that my relationship with our typical Young Life teenagers gives me the credibility to invite and encourage them to become buddy leaders. I promote Capernaum at typical Club, as well as invite buddies via social media and texts. Our buddy leaders tell me they love Capernaum and the relationships they form with their friends with special needs.
At Capernaum Club, we give students the chance to lead games, songs and – on occasion – even give the talk. Prior to going to camp, our buddies must attend training. We tell our students they will be ensuring their friends enjoy camp and are kept safe. I remind our traditional teens that we have other camps designed just for them to have the “best week of their life,” but our buddy leaders tell us they have more fun at Capernaum camp!
This post first appeared on YL Capernaum Everywhere.