Today the local schools were out for Veteran's Day. I made the decision in August to do something fun with the High School Youth Group during the day and have the night off. So today we went to the Zoo. One of my chaperone's was a former Youth Group member. 10 years ago, when I started, he was in High School and he was that teenager. The one who lacked a mute button or an edit button. The one who would pull whatever stunt he could to make others laugh. The one who started the trouble and the one who was always getting "the eye" from me. I will admit to being very, very glad when he graduated high school.
The last year former YG member has moved back home and has become a regular volunteer with the High School group. He's grown up but still lacks an edit button at times and likes to pull stunts. Age has mellowed him a little, though, and the stunts are now projected onto the High School youth themselves. His favorite target is the current YG member who, I realized today, is kinda like him. Current YG member lacks a mute or edit button and likes to pull pranks, though his aren't as ingenious as former YG member's were. No kidding. As they punched each other, shared verbal jabs and bonded in the way that boys do, it occurred to me that they are much more like each other than they realize. It made me smile.
But beyond making me smile I felt grateful. Grateful for the opportunity to have been in ministry for 10 years, for the ability to see some of the youth grow into pretty awesome young adults and for the ability to spend a Wednesday in November at the Zoo.
It was a fun day at the Zoo...and a fun reminder that the faces of the youth may change over the years, but there will always be that one guy...what would we do without them?