The Blessings of a Loving Community
A group of Ohio teens demonstrate how DiscoveryBound Outreach is more than just a fun time.
When Nette Bemis and her church – First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Elyria, Ohio – reached out with food and clothing to families in a low-income apartment facility, they also offered to take one of the girls to Sunday School. Soon, this student started to bring her friends. It wasn’t long before Nette and her fellow church members were picking up more than 20 kids each week to take to Sunday School.
About this time, DiscoveryBound (DB) Outreach contacted Nette about connecting these teens with DB national events, and the Key Way Chapter was established. The teens have been attending local, regional and national DB events for many years, and they regularly bring new friends. Their Sunday School is now an active, vibrant place with students enrolled across all grade levels.
In looking back at how her Sunday School grew so rapidly, Nette says, “DiscoveryBound support was the key.” As the teens started to attend DB events, they “saw a practicality to Christian Science,” Nette explains. Working with the church, she says, DiscoveryBound’s activities and fellowship are broadening the children’s experience and opening new doors.
Nette is proud of the progress the students have made in this supportive environment. “Our present soloist is one of the first kids I picked up when she was 12,” she says. “She is now 26 and has been our regular soloist since she was a junior in high school. And one of our first kids from that apartment complex graduated from Principia College and took Christian Science class instruction this past summer.”
The teens work hard to be a part of church and DiscoveryBound. They have no money and no support from their parents, so church members help them attend the DB events. “These kids come because they love it, not because they have to,” Nette points out.
During this year’s national DB event in San Francisco, many saw the effect of this loving atmosphere firsthand. While touring Fisherman’s Wharf, Shawn, a first-time DB participant, approached a group of street performers and asked if he could do a dance. They said yes, and soon he was performing a backflip routine with another DB participant. Before long, the spontaneous activity drew a crowd of joyful cheering and support by others on the Wharf.
The group’s chaperone that weekend, Ali Osborne, was humbled by the teens’ care for each other and their family-like bond. “The brotherhood and sisterhood they shared with each other was magnetic,” she says. “Everyone loved them… they expressed so much joy and open-heartedness.”
“DiscoveryBound is putting into practice divine Love,” says Nette. “It is the Golden Rule in action.”
This spring, six teens from the Key Way Chapter attended the DB national event in San Francisco. A few of them shared what DiscoveryBound means to them:
Juwan, 17 (9 years with DB)
“I love DiscoveryBound because I’m around a whole bunch of people my age who share the same beliefs about God as me,” Juwan says. “It’s like a family.”
Talking with peers about God is important for Juwan. Continuing that experience, he’s become an active member of a Christian Science Facebook community set up by friends he met on a national DB trip.
But his involvement doesn’t stop there. Juwan has felt impelled to share DiscoveryBound with others. He has brought four friends to Sunday School and DiscoveryBound events. All of them continue to attend.
“I am so thankful and blessed to be a part of DiscoveryBound,” Juwan acknowledges. “Over these past four or five years, it has helped me tremendously grow closer to God.”
Bunni, 15 (9 years with DB)
Bunni grew up as a Muslim in a very low-income home, with her family split between Pakistan and the United States. Life hasn’t been easy, she says. But in her words, DiscoveryBound has been “life-changing.”
“DB gave me the courage to be somebody,” she beams.
She says she loves how DB exposes her to many different cultures of people her age. “I meet other people who have had similar experiences to me and we talk about how we worked through them,” she says.
Bunni also says she feels empowered to be the best version of herself through participating in DB events. “DiscoveryBound is an experience everyone should have,” she asserts.
Shawn, 16 (<1 year with DB)
Shawn was introduced to DiscoveryBound by a close friend. He loves everything about it, from the activities to “the fresh insights on Christian Science” he gains. He is polite and inquisitive, and he loves everyone he’s met through DB.
“There are so many new people from all over,” he says. “They’re so welcoming and accepting. You can be yourself without any judgment.”
About DiscoveryBound Outreach
DiscoveryBound Outreach is a community program that provides local activities for all ages, regional retreats and national teen weekends for Christian Scientists and their friends.
Youth Camp at the A/U Ranches
Our experiences change lives. At the A/U Ranches you’ll find a Christian Science atmosphere with staff dedicated to helping you see the role God plays in your life. Each program and activity is designed to help you break through limitations, reach your goals, and see God in action.