Youth Ministry

Meetings

Middle School Youth Group - Sundays at 10:15am in the Youth Lounge
High School Youth Group  - Sundays at 7:00pm in the Youth Lounge

Please contact Tobey Aubert, Youth Director, for meeting times for specific Sundays.

Mission and Vision

The Youth Department exists to inspire our young people to discover their immense, God-given value so they can fully live and fully love. We call this our “Why.”

How we fulfill our "Why" is through values categorized as Social Wellness and Spiritual Wellness, packaged in five specific words: Inquiry, Acceptance, Impact, Authenticity, and Discovery.

What flows from these values evolves from Sunday night hangouts and discussion, or cleaning up the shoreline and serving those experiencing homelessness, to beach house hangouts, leadership development sessions, and exploring faith in various expressions. But why we do these things is to inspire our young people to discover their immense, God-given value so they can fully live life and fully love others. A simple expression is: “Find your goodness, be happy, and change the world with love!”

As we fulfill our "Why," wherever our teens go they will combine compassion with the confidence of knowing they are valuable and loved, bringing a brighter, kinder future with them and inspiring others to do the same. There are many non-profits, community organizations, and churches that provide a program for young people to connect with each other and do social work, but our goal is for AHCC to be a place where young people discover their true self with all its God-breathed goodness, live well, and change their world with love.

Middle School Youth Group

We create weekly lessons with a specific purpose: to provide Middle School students with tools to better understand faith in the context of their everyday life. We emphasize a basic reason for being a Christian, “To Learn How to Love like Jesus.”

We work toward those goals by encouraging basic navigation skills regarding the Bible, called “Bible Hacks,” to find the stories of the life of Jesus that emphasize loving others in practical ways.

We create fun hang out opportunities for them to establish closer friendships with other students who they may only see during class time. Things like amusement park outings, silly games like “Knockerball,” and making meals together begin to establish friend connections.

We provide simple service opportunities to broaden their perspective regarding their ability to care for others through gathering turkeys for Thanksgiving on behalf of Foodshare or helping decorate the Easter cross for the families of our church.

These are beginning steps on a journey of faith, connection, and service intended to lead into a greater journey through Confirmation Class and High School Youth Group.

What can a Middle Schooler expect on a Sunday morning?

Our usual format begins with a two minute explanation of what we are doing that day. Then we do an ice breaker game together. We follow with a 15-minute interactive lesson usually taught within the context of a team building game. After that, we will take a few minutes to provide a simple way of being still with God (personal prayer). Then we do a 20 minute active game time. We wrap up with a snack and hang out until parents come to pick them up. On some occasions our format will be different, but that is the general pattern.

We do include candy prizes and breakfast snacks, so if there are allergy concerns, please let us know. Any other questions, please feel free to contact the Youth Director, Tobey Aubert.

High School Youth Group

We base our High School Youth Group program upon our values of Inquiry, Acceptance, Impact, Authenticity, and Discovery. Currently, there are three main activities that flow out of these values, a weekly Youth Group Meeting on Sunday nights, Service opportunities, and Special events.

Within our weekly Youth Group Meeting, our five values are felt in short bursts throughout our gatherings. It is a relaxed time of hangout, discussion on current events and life, and planning for future leadership opportunities. This is a time that we consider sacred as we practice acceptance without the drama often associated with school and social media. There is usually some type of food and a lot of laughs, while also searching for meaning and purpose together. We meet from 7:00 to 8:30pm on most Sundays throughout the school year.

Service Opportunities flow from our values of Impact and Acceptance. We chose service projects for Hartford and for places outside our community. The goal is exposure to those in need from backgrounds different than our own, and awareness of issues facing people of backgrounds similar to our own, but perhaps unseen. We work with churches and non-profits in a variety of opportunities. We have served those facing temporary or chronic homelessness in the three capital cities of southern New England, helped protect the planet through shoreline cleanup, aided children and senior citizens through play and care packages. Future service opportunities include working with young people and adults who have experienced physical trauma, and in working with suicide prevention non-profits. We believe our students can be people of influence, changing stigma into acceptance and impacting different communities with kindness. The long term goal is for our students to have established a habit of being involved in serving others wherever they go in life.

Special Events emphasize the values of Acceptance, Authenticity, and Discovery. Game nights, activities like laser tag or rock climbing, or overnight lock-ins provide trust building and acceptance. One new highlight has been the development of a multiple night “Leadership and Service Retreat.” It combines personal development, service opportunities, and a cool location (like a beach house)to create an environment for rapid growth in discovery of oneself, acceptance of others, and authenticity in establishing a habit of positive influence. Mission trip opportunities are encouraged during Spring break and the summer through our department or other groups in the church.

We believe Authenticity and Acceptance are vital to the growth of High School teens in our current society in which social media creates an overwhelming comparison of image over reality. Having a safe space to be genuine, open, and caring is our method of inspiring our teens to discover their immense, God-given value, so they can fully live and fully love.

Confirmation Class

In the 8th grade students join the Confirmation Class, where they are invited to develop friendships within the church and explore their faith more deeply. By participating in some amazing experiences held from September through March, Confirmands will begin making their own conscious choices to:

· Receive a big picture understanding of Christianity and the AHCC expression of it.

· Develop friendships within the class as another group of caring friends.

· See life as an adventure where they can make a positive impact in the world together.

Those choices will lead many of the students to “confirm” that they want to continue growing in those three areas as members of AHCC. There is interactive class time to ask questions with our Senior Minister, think through their own life, and experience the practices of faith, service, and community at their level of understanding. We visit other faith traditions, serve a meal for those in need in Hartford, and write a Statement of Faith reflecting on their belief and self-discovery. Confirmation class is the launching pad for students to grasp a hold of their spiritual journey and continue that journey into High School Youth Group and daily life.