Bridging the gap between youth group and campus ministry…
This program, called “Osprey Experience,” is focused on faith formation and leadership development for youth and young adults. Osprey Experience will invite junior and senior high school students to experience the daily life of college, including residence halls and campus ministries. The program would involve students spending a Friday evening on campus, spending the night at a local congregation, and spending Saturday on campus.
Although the program will physically be on UNF’s campus, it will encourage students to become involved in campus ministry, and especially Lutheran Campus Ministry, wherever they decide to attend college. It will also encourage mentorship between incoming freshmen and upperclass students. This program will be possible through the partnership between congregations in the area and campus ministry. We are currently in conversation with the ELCA youth organizer for the First Coast Conference, who will coordinate with the various congregations for this ministry.
The campus ministry has established partnerships with on-campus programs and organizations including the Department of Health in Nutrition and Dietetics, Department of Academic Affairs, Department of Diversity Initiatives, Women’s Center, Interfaith Center, and the LGBT Resource Center. Pastor Sarah is working to become the Lutheran chaplain for the Interfaith Center, and has been certified through Safe Space training with the LGBT Resource Center. High school students would have the opportunity to interact with some of these departments and organizations, experiencing different aspects of college life.
The “main event” would be the Q&A and small group discussion with campus ministry students. Some of it would be structured and feature campus ministry students’ “spiritual autobiographies” and encourage students to research the Lutheran Campus Ministry at their “first choice” college (through the LuMin website). Other parts of this conversation would be less structured and provide and opportunity for curiosity. There is also a fantastic outdoor adventure venue on University of North Florida’s campus that would be a great opportunity for bonding and fun for the students.