The youth are full of energy! When I say full, I really do mean full! Surfing for two hours straight will not tire them out! Playing soccer for an hour on the beach will not tire them out! Throwing a frisbee will not tire them out! Doing all of the above in rapid succession will not tire them out!
This could have been an untapped resource. But not for us. We decided to harness that energy for good; especially since a lot of the youth like to arrive early. What better way to do it than to put them to work doing chores (thanks to all moms ever for that idea)! For certain chores they win a certain amount of points, once they earn enough points they can cash them in for a little item, some cookies, or a trip to the local ice cream store with us!
Every Tuesday our two regular students show up a half an hour early to rake and sweep the yard. The brothers work together as a team and have the routine down pat at this point. You can hear them talking, laughing, and teasing each other from anywhere in the yard; incessant chatter makes the work easier I guess! They never complain about how many leaves there, as there are always more than you would think possible for the short amount of time since it has last been raked. Instead they joyfully start without direction every week, stopping only when the yard looks good and they are satisfied with its appearance. As it is usually almost time for class at that point, they know to come in and find the snack that have already been set out for them.
One of the youth is fascinated by cars, and of course Pixie, the bull-mastif we are caring for at the moment. Every month or so, or as needed, he will come over to wash the car and make it look brand-spanking new all over again! He does not ask for anything in return for this, he has a heart for helping out where he is needed. Not to mention he makes the job fun not just for himself but for anyone in the vicinity! He will also come over at least once a week to walk Pixie; they get along smashingly.
Every Wednesday and Thursday the youth love to use the surf and boogie boards out on the water. We love this! We almost love it more when the boards get put away without us needing to ask! As an attempt to teach them to take care of things that are not theirs we always ask that they clean up after themselves, but every once and a while (when this is not done on its own) one of the youth will step up and get the job done, often cleaning up after their peers. This is so refreshing and is always rewarded when it’s seen.
Sometimes the youth want smoothies. In acts of service they will make them for each other and serve everyone first before making one for themselves. This is such a beautiful thing: to see them come together in community serving one another, and with food none-the-less! One of my personal favourite ways to bond! This is what Casafé is all about, growing a Christian community and empowering these youth to develop their spiritual walk; service is a huge part of that walk.
We love to learn about community from our youth and to see them thriving in the atmosphere Casafé has provided for them! These are all things to be thankful for, to reward, and to encourage.