“Your group was so welcoming to us, and we are the ones that are hosting you.” This was the comment that a fellow youth minister made to me this summer while we were on our choir tour. As I watched our groups interact, all I could do was smile, as I responded, “It’s just a part of who they are.”
It is true, our group is very welcoming and one of the ways that we continue to be welcoming is through our Big Brother Big Sister program. Each of our middle school students is “adopted” by one of the high school students to be their younger sibling. The Big Brothers and Big Sisters check in on the younger youth and see how they’re doing, send them encouraging notes, and teach them the traditions of our group.
Each month we also have a scheduled activity for the siblings to participate in together; we carve pumpkins, build gingerbread houses, have selfie-scavenger hunts, and more. We do all of this because at Smoke Rise, we care. We care for each other when things are going great, but also when things aren’t going so well. Through our Big Brother Big Sister program our youth care for each other across lines of age.