On behalf of my esteemed colleagues on the Federation Board I am pleased to shed some light on our labors. This operation seems to travel far under the radar; I assume most readers have little or no concept of what goes on behind our closed doors, so I will do my best to interest you with some of the matters we have poured over. It is my hope that the young people can comprehend what a special cause their dues support and appreciate what it takes to keep the Young People’s organization smoothly afloat.
Part of our work is to organize singspirations and mass meetings. These allow for those of different congregations to come together and enjoy more communion of the saints. However, these are only “small scale” compared to the most important topic to the Young People, the convention. Every year a member of the Federation Board acts as a liaison between our board and the convention steering committee. This year I have been the one honored to attend some of these meetings. The time I spend there listening to the committed Faith Church steering committee has instilled in me one feeling about the upcoming convention: I wish I was young enough to go again. The convention is early this year, so all you privileged young people get your acts together and get those registrations in on time!
Our Faith congregation has been working diligently to put together the most exciting convention they can muster. For most of the attendees it is will kick off with an incredible scenic tour of the countryside from west Michigan to central Missouri. As if such a road trip was not enough, the conventioneers will then be treated to a four night stay at the Windermere camp located on the shore of the Lake of the Ozarks. Here, they may sign up for events called The Edge, Aqua Jump, and The Cave, and may at times be able to engage in basketball, volleyball, mini golf, water skiing, pool, among other events such as The Barracuda Challenge. In addition to these physical activities, the conventioneers will be stimulated by spiritual discussions on topics which affect all of our lives. They will also enjoy, and be spiritually satisfied by, a few speeches directly focused on their age group. Highlighting the week will be the annual convention banquet with the theme, “Sunset at the Beach”. Before all is said and done and the second leg of the road trip begun, each conventioneer will have undoubtedly had a lot of fun and will have grown spiritually.
At this convention the delegates will meet on more matters concerning the Federation. This year they will be called upon to make a few extra decisions. The Constitution of the Federation, which is a document designed to keep the Federation’s operation consistent through the years, has steadily lost its impact. Current practices reveal that we have wavered from many of the guidelines. So in the interest of avoiding further confusion, our board has prepared recommendations for the young people to vote on. These recommendations are to revise the constitution to fit some current practices and to clarify organizational standards needed to keep the Federation on a consistent track. Upon receiving the decision of the Delegate Board, the Federation hopes to operate fully inside these bounds and maintain these standards for the years to come.
Besides the convention affairs, the Federation Board operates loosely with the Beacon Light staff and the Protestant Reformed Scholarship Committee. The Beacon Light staff continues to produce valuable material for everyone, but can always use more readers and supporters, as well as people offering articles of their own. As for the Scholarship Committee, the biggest tasks are just around the corner. They are soon to decide on and issue essay topics for future teachers and ministers who would like to obtain this scholarship. To those out there who are interested, take this as your first reminder to take advantage of this excellent opportunity. The committee will be eagerly anticipating your papers and hoping that everyone gives the paper their best shot.
We also deal with issues outside the Federation. One example would be the young adult (post-high) groups. Throughout the country they tend to be a loosely knit group with no rigid structure or principal body to oversee its work. They hold retreats which sometimes run into considerable expenses. At times these groups look to the Federation Board for some help to defray costs in order to create interest and inspire more widespread participation. As a member of the Federation Board I feel compelled to give and give, but this does raise some alarms. Our members are stewards of the money given by our young people around the country as well as that raised by the churches which have held past conventions. There is a substantial amount of hard work and sacrifice at stake here, and we have to carefully consider how we hand out money. Although we are generally inclined to help such worthwhile events for young adults groups there are perhaps better avenues for them. For example, if each young adult group would hold one fundraiser for such events annually and pool their money, this could bring down prices for their retreats dramatically. With so little effort we could enable greater numbers to afford the retreats and make more of these retreats possible. We would like to help organize a way to make opportunities like this happen more easily. Any ideas on how we could assist in making a similar system work for our post high young people would be greatly appreciated.
There are numerous topics I could yet go into, but I believe I have covered the highlights. As always, questions, concerns, and suggestions for the Federation should be voiced. As civil servants of the Protestant Reformed Young People it is our goal to establish a spiritually healthy environment for everyone. We thank you for your constant support and for the support of the other associated groups. We pray that God may continue to bless all of our work together and to allow it to provide spiritual enrichment for our young people.