WEMO Youth’s MissionPalooza this year helped out at Wayside Waifs, Nourish KC, Operation Breakthrough, Habitat for Humanity Restore, Synergy, and Unleashed Pet Rescue.

Taylor Mansfield Five-minute read.   Resources

MissionPalooza. Supplied image

As always, MissionPalooza was a great success. We attended six work sites, Wayside Waifs, Nourish KC, Operation Breakthrough, Habitat for Humanity Restore, Synergy, and Unleashed Pet Rescue.

We had a group of about 30 youth and adults who were split between the six worksites to volunteer at for 3 days. When everyone registered for this event they were able to choose which worksite they would most prefer to volunteer at and almost everyone got one of their top two choices.

The group that attended Wayside Waifs was also the same group that volunteered at Unleashed Pet Rescue. The group that went to these two worksites baked homemade dog treats, walked the animals at the shelter, and did some laundry and housekeeping chores around the shelter. Despite how tedious some of these tasks may be, the youth could not have been happier to complete them. Every day, I was greeted with a big, happy smile from all of these youth who had spent their afternoon cleaning up after animals.

MissionPalooza. Supplied image

The Habitat for Humanity Restore work site required a lot of hard and physical work from everybody in the group. This group spent the majority of their day outside in the sweltering heat and when they weren’t outside, they were inside digging through piles of locks. Habitat for Humanity Restore is probably one of the toughest work sites, because at times it can seem like you are only completing busy work and not making an impact on the community. The youth and adults did a great job at toughing out the hard times and realizing that no matter how little the job, it still can make a huge impact on someone and their life.

MissionPalooza. Supplied image

Synergy is a shelter for women and men who have led tough lives struggling with domestic abuse, addiction, and many other things. At this worksite, the youth and adults helped to clean up some old apartments that the men and women staying at Synergy would eventually live in as a way to get back onto their feet. The youth from this work site came back telling me about cockroaches crawling out of mirrors, cleaning out expired food in the fridge and getting bleach on their shirts all with big smiles on their faces.

Operation Breakthrough is a day care type facility for low income families. These families can send their children to Operation Breakthrough throughout the summer, on holiday breaks, and any other days that school is closed so that the parents can still work and don’t have to worry about finding childcare. The group that attended this work site were split up into different classrooms, and got to play with the children throughout the day, and also had to complete some cleaning chores.

MissionPalooza. Supplied image

At the close we heard from three people about their time at MissionPalooza. We heard about their desire to go out and love the world as God taught us to, we heard about the times throughout the week when God’s love was so obviously present, and we heard about the love that these youth have for each other, God, and everyone around them. MissionPalooza left everyone feeling empowered, loved and motivated. I can’t think of another group of people who would be able to go out and complete several days’ worth of volunteer work in just one day. It was a huge success, and everyone is ready to go out and be the Lord’s hands and feet in the world.

Taylor Mansfield is an intern with the diocesan youth ministry.

Youth Ministry

A look back at my first year as diocesan Youth Ministry Coordinator plus an introduction to this summer’s interns.

Josh Trader Five-minute read.   Resources

The end of June marks my one-year anniversary as the Youth Ministry Coordinator for the diocese. As I look back and reflect on my first year, several things stand out.

Youth Network Coordinator Josh Trader addresses the Diocesan Convention Image credit: Gary Zumwalt
I have given my first State of Youth Ministry address on the convention floor, worked with our incredible team of adult leaders to put on several amazing youth events, journeyed to Charleston for the FORMA conference, bid farewell to the North Central Metro Network Coordinator for youth, Mother Megan, as she started her journey as rector of St. John’s in Ithaca, New York, and began working with our Interim Network Coordinator, Alexandra Connors. I also want to thank all the adult leadership, the Youth Ministry Commission, the youth of our diocese and their parents for all of their support as we have journeyed through this change. As fantastic as the first year was, I am looking forward to the many years and new adventures to come.  

A few months ago, myself, Kim Snodgrass (The Bishop’s Assistant for Christian Formation) and Bishop Marty began looking at what my official job title meant and how it could be perceived. After a lot of discussion we came to the conclusion that a change was in order. The result is that my title is now The Bishop’s Assistant for Youth Ministry Development. What does that mean? Our hope is that it gives a better indication of my role in developing youth ministry. I am here to help and work with all churches in our diocese as they develop their youth ministry programs. When a church is beginning the conversation of how to start, build on, or thinking about youth ministry I am here to be a resource for them.

I am working with Kim to finish our Ministry Handbook, a dream that started two years ago, at a diocesan youth leaders’ retreat. The dream was to have a resource that helps churches and individuals through the many processes involved in establishing ministries. Some of these processes are; how to begin developing a philosophy of ministry, strategic planning, youth ministry, integrational ministry, risk management, and the various tools and resources available. We hope to have the final copy available by the end of 2018. 
In May we began looking for two part-time Regional Youth Ministry Coordinators to coordinate network events and to help build relationships on a regional level. With the new positions every church in our diocese will have a Regional Youth Minister to bring the youth across our diocese together when we are not at a diocesan event. We plan to make the announcement of the new coordinators in July.  

I am also pleased to announce that we have hired Katie Mansfield, Hayley Cobb and Taylor Mansfield for our summer intern program. They will work in the WEMO Youth Community for nine weeks, learning from all the people in youth leadership and beyond. They will learn how to plan and facilitate events, formation planning, assist in strategic marketing and grow in their relationship with Christ.  

Find out more about our new interns below.

Josh Trader is The Bishop’s Assistant for Youth Ministry Development for The Diocese of West Missouri and a member of St. James’ Episcopal Church, Springfield.

Hayley Cobb

Hayley Cobb
Hello! My name is Hayley Cobb and I’m from Ozark, Missouri. I am currently in my first year of college at Drury University and attend Christ Episcopal Church in Springfield, Missouri. At Drury, I am majoring in Strategic Communication. I am the Vice President of Episcopal Campus Ministry in Springfield which I have been regularly attending through my freshman year of college. Growing up I was very involved with the diocesan youth program therefore it holds a special place in my heart. During my time as a youth, I was a member of the Youth Ministry Commission and a youth delegate for the Southern Deanery. I have been eager to have the opportunity to be an intern and give back to the program that gave me so much. During this summer internship program, I am excited to get to spend more time working alongside the other adults and youth. I love getting to see the youth grow in their faith and foster relationships with one another. I am also looking forward to getting to spend time working on my own faith with the other interns, and developing lots of important skills.

Katie Mansfield

Katie Mansfield
Hello, my name is Katie Mansfield. I am currently 19 years old and I am studying at the University of Missouri – Kansas City. I am studying Accounting and thinking of adding a minor in Human Resources. I am originally from Carthage, Missouri where I attended Grace Episcopal Church for the past eight or so years. Even though I may never attend Grace Church on a regular basis ever again, I will always consider it to be my home church. Moving to Kansas City has been such an exciting new adventure and is unlike anything I’ve done before. I have been presented with incredible opportunities. In August of 2017 for example, I was asked to be the youth intern at Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, and earlier this month I was accepted into a position to be an intern for WEMO Youth. I am so excited to be able to continue working with the youth I’ve grown so close to this past year, and also continue my relationships with the youth and adults whom I’ve known since my early years as a youth. I am most looking forward to getting to really make an impact on people’s lives through my work as an intern this summer. Ever since I’ve been a youth, the summer interns have been people I’ve looked up to and aspired to be like. Because of them, I’ve been looking forward to this opportunity for so long and now that it’s here, I can only hope to have the same impact. 

Taylor Mansfield

Taylor Mansfield
Hi everyone! My name is Taylor Mansfield and I am so excited to have been chosen to be an intern this summer! I am 19 years old and am from Carthage, Missouri and attended Grace Episcopal Church. I am currently a sophomore at Missouri State University and plan to major in elementary education with a minor in Spanish. Since being in Springfield, I have been going to St. James Episcopal Church on Sunday mornings and on Tuesday nights I go to Episcopal Campus Ministry at Christ Church. I absolutely love working with kids of all different ages, so I am really looking forward to having the opportunity to help the youth along on their faith journey and to be here as someone who can help with whatever they may need. I am hoping that coming out of this internship I will have deepened my relationship with God and have found a greater meaning of what my faith means to me. I believe that being surrounded by, and having the opportunity to work with, like-minded people will be something that will really help guide me in figuring out who I am as a Christian individual. I can’t wait to see what is in store for this summer!