Monday, September 22, 2008

Working with Students - Campus Life

One morning as I was walking passed Principal Ken England's office, I saw a young boy sitting inside his door and overheard Ken tell him that this was the last time that he would be able to stay in Harding High. I motion for Mr. England to come out and ask him the boy’s name which was Keith Massey. He shared that Keith was so mean that he was going to have to expel him for the rest of the year. Something told me to take him in my bricklaying class and so he could give that a try. Ken agreed and said that I could have him for one week and I had to keep him all day which was alright with me I said that I would try. The first two days, Keith was very unhappy and would not cooperate at all. I talked with him and ask him to work with me for just one week and at that time if he was not happy I would turn him back over to Mr. England and he would send him home for good. I started working with him and found out that he was very bright and could learn quickly. After two weeks he was able to lay a pretty good brick; I took him out where construction workers were building some apartments near the school and got the foreman to let him try working. I stayed with him all day and at the end of the day the foreman said that he could use him to back up the walls. We agreed on a price to pay Keith and for the next several weeks I would take Keith out to the job as soon as he got to school and bring him back to school just in time to ride the bus home. When school ended, I gave him a full set of mason tools. I told him how good he was and that he could get a job with almost any mason contractor and that I could be a personal reference. Keith did well from that time on and every Christmas he would come by my house and wish us a Merry Christmas. When we moved to the beach I lost contact with him.

While working at Harding High School and going to church at Mulberry Baptist, I got involved in working with Campus Life, a Christian group of teens working for God which led to working with the senior high students at the church. It was a new experience for me and one that I really enjoyed. We would have all of the youth over to our house every Sunday night after church, most of the time we would have about thirty or forty. We would have sandwiches, drinks, popcorn, and other things for the kids to eat. It was a great time of fellowship with other good Christians. This was the time of the hippie movement and was easy for many of the youth to get involved in that lifestyle. With the students able to gather with a good Christian group, it let them to know that there was a better alternative. The Sunday night meetings lasted until the group was so big that we did not have enough room for everyone and had to move to a larger building.

I became a member of the board of directors which meet for breakfast to make plans for the next month. We made plans to take all of the youth to Jekyll Island, GA. for a winter retreat for the week between Christmas and New Years, We had 500 to sign up for the trip and when we tried to make reservations we were turned down by all of the hotels. Each manager said that 500 youth would tear up there hotels, so we put up a $ 5,000.00 deposit to take care of any damages. We took the youth to Jekyll Island and had a great week with not one complaint, after returning to Charlotte we got a big rebate on our hotels charges saying that each of the hotels did not have damages and we could come back any time that we wanted to stay.
The next big trip was to Tacoah Falls, GA. We took about the same number of youth and had a great week of Bible study, preaching, entertainment, and much fun; this trip was trouble free, not one time did we have to discipline someone. Listen to me tell this story.

As time passed, due to my back problems I could no longer be with the students as they met weekly. I had to take a back seat in Campus Life for a while. We had many youth called into full time service for God and many are still in full time service in and around of Charlotte. Working with the youth of Campus Life I learned many thing that helped me to raise my own children, I know that I was never easy on them but tried to let them know that I had much love for them and that I would always be there for them.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Dad states
"...I learned many thing that helped me to raise my own children, I learned that I was never easy on them but I tried to let them know that I had much love for them and that I would always be there for them."

I remember those times where you were "never easy" on us, but what made those "teaching lessons" important and valuable, was the care and love you showed us, and that will never be forgotten.