Dear Trinity, 

To begin, I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the support you have provided since starting my role as Youth Director. Everyone has graciously accepted me into the Trinity family and helped me in every step of the way. I am beyond blessed to work with such a supportive congregation. I wanted to take this time to update everyone on what is going on with the youth group, Encounter. 

This summer has been nothing but busy so far for Encounter and there are still more events planned! Every Wednesday night the youth have been meeting from 5:00 to 6:00 for our summer Bible study. The youth have come engaged and prepared every time. This Bible study has been a great way for us to gather as a group and grow deeper in our spiritual journey together. We have learned, so far, how to have a healthy relationship with Jesus, and how Jesus can transform us. There is still so much more to learn this summer. 

The girls in Encounter have successfully survived their first trip since COVID. We had 13 girls attend the girls’ retreat to Charleston and McClellanville. For 7 of the 13 this was their first youth retreat! It was a weekend filled with photo scavenger hunts and picnics in Charleston. We also got to tour Bethel UMC and learn about the rich history of their church. After a long, hot day in Charleston, the girls got ready for a spa night! There was an array of nail polish and face masks for the girls to use. We also had a foot scrub/foot washing station and partnered up for hair wraps. To make the hair wraps more meaningful, each girl randomly drew a partner and they had to pick three to four colors based on their partner’s personality and explain why they chose them. It was so nice to see the girls giving such great compliments and affirmations to each other. The second day, we all went tubing for six hours! There was not a second someone was not on the tube. The girls had a blast riding on the boat and trying not to get thrown off the tube, although the last part wasn’t always successful. Everyone was a great sport and ended the day in one piece. For dinner that night, everyone got to make their own pizza. Their creations looked delicious and I would say they agreed due to every bite being gone! We ended the night with games and watching “A Week Away”. The last day, everyone was a trooper and got up early so we could hit the beach for a few hours. After a peaceful boat ride, we docked the boat to look for shells and swim. The girls found a way to make everything fun, even cleaning the house before we left! It was such a joyous trip and I feel even more blessed than before to have these girls in Encounter. 

The boy’s trip is coming up in July and we have just as much fun planned! We will be going to Carowinds and staying in their lodge on the campsite. This log cabin sleeps up to fourteen people and has a pool and fire pit. We will be arriving Friday night and finding a fun activity to do in Charlotte, like bowling or Top Golf. We will spend all day Saturday at Carowinds riding roller coasters and hitting the water park to combat the Carolina heat. This location was at request from some of the boys and because of your support we are able to make it happen. 

While this summer I chose to mainly focus on fun retreats and events to help with relationship building, I am the most excited about Stay-ehatchie. It was heartbreaking the last two years Salkehatchie was cancelled. I know that last summer, Trinity was prepared to take its largest group yet! I believe service and mission work is a very essential part of any ministry, but especially youth ministry. It pushes the youth, and adult leaders, out of the comfort zone and will be something they remember for the rest of their lives. For Stay-ehatchie we are partnering with Sumter United Ministries Construction Program. Our group will be split up into three different work sites, two roofs and a ramp. We are excited to further our relationship with United Ministries during this week. In order for Stay-ehatchie to have more of the Salkehatchie feel, we will be staying at the church from July 27-31st in the Williams-Brice Center. So many people have already donated items we will need that week like Gatorade, trash bags, tons of toilet paper, and paperware for meals. We are asking that different groups of people pair up to provide our group with dinner each night. Carolyn Putnam has graciously volunteered to be the dinner coordinator the week of Stay-ehatchie. There will also be evening programming each night with different speakers from the community and a prayer walk. This will be a time the youth can reflect on the ways God is working in them and around them through the days. Charlie, our music director, will also be making a special appearance each night to help us lead worship. Stay-ehatchie truly is a team effort from everyone. Without the congregation, adult volunteer leaders, and eager youth this week would not be possible. I am so excited to see the ways God will work through Trinity during Stay-ehatchie. 

If you have any questions about any of the events we are doing/did this summer please reach out to me. I would love to answer any questions we may have. I look forward to getting to know everyone at Trinity better as the time continues to move on. Many people have asked what I need or how they can support me. While I am overwhelmed with the support I have been given so far, we still need donations and dinner volunteers for Stay-ehatchie. My phone number is (913) 680-7410. 

Blessings, 

Rachel White

Director of Youth Ministries

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