In this recurring column, alumni of the A/U Ranches and DiscoveryBound programs (including the formerly named A/U Chapters) share why they’ve stayed involved or reconnected with Adventure Unlimited and its programs.
Long before she became a parent, Jessica Dees was looking out for her Sunday School students. “Middle school is a great time for them to know that there are other Christian Scientists around,” says Jessica, who has volunteered as a DiscoveryBound (DB) Outreach chapter worker in Jacksonville, Florida for the last 15 years.
DB Outreach activities bring churches together, and especially the kids, she says. “We have some small Christian Science societies in Florida, and these events are for those kids to meet others not too far away – to have that bond, immediate commonality with somebody. They really want to be with each other, and not just for an hour on Sunday.”
Now with children ages six and three, Jessica sees the importance of DB Outreach activities – such as the annual Jetty Park, Florida camping weekend – as a way to connect younger families, even before going to one of the Christian Science camps. Families from all over Florida came to Jetty Park, with Jessica recruiting from Jacksonville. “Activities like these reach all ages,” she says. “The younger kids played on the beach, and the older kids saw manatees and loved kayaking. They brought back a lot of fruitage.”
Jessica’s original Sunday School students are now in their 20s, so she’s helping them start a peer group. “Those who loved DB Outreach when they were in Sunday School want to keep that experience going,” she relates. “They’re still close friends and really want to see each other, but Jacksonville is very spread out. It’s a nice way to get these young adults together to see each other and bring the churches together.”
Jessica was also involved during the early years of DiscoveryBound’s National Leadership Council, when an 8th grade friend asked her to be her mentor. “I learned about the program – what an amazing gift it is for these kids to be a part of. Camp is in the summer, but this was a year-long program where she could connect with friends all over the country.”
Participating with DB Outreach has blessed Jessica’s whole family, she says. “My husband doesn’t practice Christian Science, and he enjoyed the inspirational talk at Jetty Park,” she explains. “Any time he can see how others are practicing Christian Science and applying it to their lives has been a healing to our family.”
DiscoveryBound Outreach activities are for Christian Science youth, their families and friends of all faiths. Learn about DB Outreach.
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