The youth program at St. Francis is in transition as we evaluate our current curriculum and look to reinvigorate social and service opportunities. Teenagers at St. Francis may participate in Rite 13—a program for current 7th and 8th graders that recognizes increasing responsibility and maturity—and then, the Journey to Adulthood (J2A) program for 9th and 10th graders, which culminates in a summer pilgrimage trip.
Teenagers are invited to participate in confirmation classes in the second year of the J2A program.
Older teens are encouraged to take on leadership and service positions, such as helping to work with younger children in Christian education and youth service and social activities.
Christie – Great Falls
I attended St. Francis for almost half of my life before I went to college. For me, St. Francis was a community where I always felt welcome and made many enduring friendships. One of the most important avenues for me to meet people at St. Francis was the music program- I was in several of our musicals and always performed at the Shrine Mont talent shows. St. Francis helped me to come out of my shell as a musician; but more importantly, as a young woman.
Emily – Great Falls
St. Francis gave me a real sense of belonging while I was growing up. At church everyone was so nice, and it made me a much happier kid! St. Francis is where I started singing and where I met my first voice teacher. Singing is now the most important part of my life.
Chandler – Great Falls
I am a lifelong Franciscan and have many great memories of our church. Rising through the different stages of J2A, I’ve had lots of opportunities to serve the community in a uniquely personal and social way that I never thought would be possible. With St. Francis I've found a fantastic, close-knit group of peers that I will cherish forever.
Elliot – McLean
Although my family has only been at St Francis for four years, we were welcomed into the St. Francis family as soon as we arrived. Between acolyte shifts and J2A programs, it was so easy to become involved in such an amazing environment where everyone is able to love and support each other in their journey with God. For example, during my J2A pilgrimage to Quebec, I was able to get to know other kids of the same age who were also striving to become closer to God. We were able to help each other in our growth and understanding of what it means to be Episcopalian. I also found that coming to St. Francis on Sunday mornings makes my weekend better because I am able to spend it with not just my immediate family, but also with my entire St. Francis family.
I realize that even with all of the stress in our lives, especially with school, sports, and all the extracurriculars that come with being a teenager, St. Francis helps me take a breath, find peace in the moment, and remember that it will always get better, no matter how bad it might be, because there is hope. What has St. Francis meant to me as a high schooler? It’s given me a chance to ask questions and grow in my relationship with God.
Wesley – Great Falls
My experience on the Dungannon Mission trip with the other Region V churches is one that I will remember for a long time. Our team built two new decks and repaired holes in the roof of a local church. Every day I would go to my worksite with my new friends, tools in my hands, and a smile on my face—and after working, we retired to the Dungannon community service center where we played frisbee, played cards and bonded. On our day off, we hiked to a swimming hole with a waterfall. Every night we would have our Call to Worship where we reflected on the great experiences of the day, sang songs, and grew closer together.
Kevin – Herndon
My family joined St. Francis while looking for a preschool for our then-infant son. Discovering the St. Francis Crèche was a real pleasure. Our son attended, then I became active—serving on the Crèche Board—and my wife began teaching there after our son graduated four years ago.
Both of us truly believe that our community’s youth is a top priority. To that end, I’ve led two cohorts of Journey to Adulthood, and I’m in the middle of my fourth year with these remarkable 14- to 16-year-old young men and women. We’ve had music nights, homemade spaghetti dinners, photography scavenger hunts, and a pilgrimage trip to Quebec in 2013. Witnessing the revelation of Jesus Christ to and with our youth has been a constant blessing. I can hardly wait for our mission trip to Dungannon and our next pilgrimage this coming summer!
Lori – Vienna
I’ve been an active member of St. Francis for about 40 or 50 years and my wife, Lyn, about 20 years. Lyn and I participated in many programs, but the one I’m most proud of is my past involvement with teenagers in the EYC program.
A while back we used to have work camp trips all over the U.S. One I remember most vividly was with the Oneida Indians in Wisconsin. The things we learned—like how Native Americans lived early in our nation’s history—left an indelible imprint on all of us.
All of our work camp activities were based on service to others—and we need more of these mission trips. Even on our 10th anniversary trip to Hawaii to visit with our former St. Francis Rector, John Millen, we worked to help a native Hawaiian parish. The 17 who went to Hawaii will never forget that trip because they were not allowed to receive any funding from their parents! They had to earn the money for that trip. I can't remember how many car washes we did, but I was proud of all our young men and women.
St. Francis is a great place to teach values—the importance of hard work—and while having fun too. It’s a reward for spending time in service to others.