One of the honors of being the church is that we get to raise up and support our young people. In baptism, Sunday school, pageants, plays, confirmations classes, and youth Sundays we get to celebrate their growth and their faith. While it is always sad to see them go, we send them out with joy as they leave the area for colleges, jobs, families and other adventures, hopeful that their time in this community has fed them and nurtured them into the adults they have become. Some stay local, others return to the area, and still others make their homes in far off places.
Many of us have wondered: “Where are they now?” This occasional blog will serve to help us to continue to celebrate and care for these individuals. We hope you enjoy reading these updates, and if you know someone who would like to be featured here, please let Chris know.
Where are They Now?
Zachary Joyal, Class of 2014. Age: 20
Hey Zach! What have you been up to?
Hey! You know… a lot of stuff.
That’s pretty vague, care to elaborate?
Sure! I live in Concord, NH now as I pursue my associate’s degree in business administration at NHTI. But when I’m not there you can either find me back home in Keene. I try to come home to see my family as much as a can.
That’s great! What else? Do you have a Job?
I have a summer job! It’s at Horton Center, in Gorham, NH.
Horton Center? What’s that?
You haven’t heard of Horton Center?!? It’s only the BEST place on EARTH (in my opinion)! We are a UCC Outdoor Ministries summer camp situated on Pine Mountain in the White Mountain National Forest. We offer programs that may include hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, intermixed with reminders of God´s presence and activity in our lives. We find the presence of God in the beauty and inspiration of the natural world, in community, in scripture, prayer, and within one another.
That sounds like it came straight off a website.
Well, it did. The official Horton Center website where you can learn all about what we have to offer. Click Here to go to the website!
Tell us about your summer.
Of course! I got to live out my lifelong dream of being a Horton Center Staff member where I had the best summer of my life! Our mission is to have fun in a safe way that also teaches our campers about the ministry of God and encourages people to be themselves, to dance like no one is watching while singing songs about a moose that drinks a lot of juice, and to love themselves, each other and God. We started our summer in mid-June and it lasted officially until Labor Day. Every week we get different group of campers and as crazy as it sounds I can’t wait until next year to do it all again. Be on the lookout for Outdoor Ministries Sunday at UCC Keene, February 7, 2016, where Camp Director Mollie and I, and maybe some other staff members, will lead a great service and tell you all about camp and outdoor ministries!
Wow, that sounds great! What do you do during the school-year? Do you have any Hobbies?
As a matter of fact I have started to do some things that I’ve really enjoyed. In my downtime, I’ve really enjoyed reading books! (Who knew that leisurely reading was so great!?) The book that I’m reading now is Into the Wild by John Krakauer. I also taught myself how to play guitar and I’m not that bad actually. Other than that it’s the usual college-kid lifestyle of class, homework, Netflix.
Is there anything that you miss about being involved with the church or Youth Group?
Heck yeah! I always loved going on the mission trips because it was a great opportunity for all of us to broaden our horizons and get to experience something that many don’t have the chance to. I’ve been able to use what I’ve learned in those trips to educate people about situations that they face and encourage them to experience it themselves!
Wow, I really can’t believe how much time has passed since I’ve been with you all. I am so anxious to be back home and leading you all in a service about a place that means so much to me and my family! Thank-you all so much for reading this and I’ll see you soon! Shalom!