This was my very first cabin of campers ever (they are not teens).
Over the years I have worked with hundreds of teens. I led church youth groups, taught classes, lived in a group home for chemically addicted teen boys, brought teens overseas, hosted teens overseas, directed drama troupes, led retreats, counseled, worked as a resident director, tutored, and more.
I adore teenagers.
And I so love watching them grown and learn and become.
Some of these students I have worked with have stayed in touch over the years. Others I am connected to on Facebook.
And sometimes I get to sit with them face to face.
And that is a joy.
I chose long ago to let those students I work with take the lead in our friendship in the years to come. And I appreciate every update I get, every email, every cup of tea.
This week I made sure to have time for two of my “kids,” both now in their 20’s.
I didn’t take pictures. I meant to, but honestly, I was wrapped up in hearing about their lives now. So here they are from days past and today.
I haven’t seen Sarah in years. She is the same authentic and direct person she was when she was a sophomore in high school. Today she seems incredibly self-aware and mature. I adored meeting her for a morning tea.
No student that I have ever worked with has done a better job of staying in touch than Jade. I met Jade when she was in eighth grade. She is a remarkable human being and because she has been so in touch we have walked through a good deal of life together. In the picture on the left she is loving children in Venezuela. The same trip Andrew and I met on ten years ago. And on the left she is beaming after her engagement to Jeremie. They came over for a really nice night of dinner and games this week.
I feel grateful. I am intentional about embracing opportunities to reunite with “students” from my past. My life is fuller because of them.