There are days at Youth With A Purpose when we find ourselves dazed and confused after our efforts to serve youth have failed. This past week there have been several days where we have found some of our YWAP Programs to be numerically anemic (lacking enough people to continue.)
We're fortunate enough to have connections with folks who really want to help young people. Legislator Betty Jean Grant is one of them. She cosponsored an event called "Pathway To Prosperity" with John Elmore, Jack Quinn and Thurman Thomas. It was a great opportunity for folks to learn about getting an education and building a career. We failed to produce a van full of people that would bring to the event. It wasn't because of lack of effort. We did have guys who got called into work, but we still failed. Betty Jean is also the Founder of Buff City Hoops and that program, we are proud to say is an astronomical success!
This past weekend we had a YWAP Leadership Camp scheduled for Rushford Lake. Yes, there were a few guys who had to work at the last minute and another guy who was committed to his church, but we failed again. Nobody went camping this weekend. Two YWAP Directors purchased food, delivered supplies to the cabin and then were left asking the question - "Why didn't anybody show up?"
Several weeks ago we were asked to provide mentors for the Southwest Key Program. Several mentors indicated a willingness to begin relationships with youth from their program. This time it was adults who didn't show up. While we know that the young guys we are forming relationships with now will someday become mentors, that leaves Southwest Key on the short end of the stick now.
WHY DO WE FAIL?
The Directors at YWAP have over 70 years of experience in youth ministry. How could we fail? We know the rules of having to form committed personal relationships. We know that just handing out flyers or giving a speech does not guarantee that anybody will participate in an event. Past successes do not guarantee future success. We have formed many successful relationships at YWAP. Every year we speak to thousands of students in schools all over Erie and Niagara Counties. Our Thursday night BWAP Program has no problem filling the basketball court or filling stomachs with food. The numbers are increasing every week. I wish we could record some of the conversations we have in the middle of a basketball game, during our evening meal or on the ride home in the YWAP Van. Guys are learning and they are appreciative, but why don't they go the extra mile and take advantage of what we offer? YWAP has ventured into new territory. It's the land of the 18-30 yr. old young male. Some of them have never had a conversation with a dad or a committed male role model. Some guys were abused and never had anybody to talk to about it. Some guys have no clue how to treat a lady. Many guys think God is a bearded meanie who looks down from the heavens and says: "I couldn't possibly love you!" I've found that it sometimes takes years to build trust with young guys who've experienced a lot of hell in their short lives. A few years from now, I know that we'll look back on our failures as the launching points of a better future for the forgotten guys in this generation. There won't be as many guys in gangs, going to jail or the morgue. If YWAP failed you in any way, we apologize and we promise to learn from the way that we failed you. We hope you will forgive us and join YWAP as we persevere in a ministry where few dare to go - reaching the young men of a forgotten generation in an era of fatherlessness. If you would like to come alongside YWAP and partner with us, please call 716-830-8240 or write us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for your time. Go do something nice for somebody. #JLYASDW