Capernaum is Young life for kids and young adults with special needs. Young life has been around since the 1930's, and Young Life Capernaum started in the 1980's.
I got involved volunteering for Young Life two years ago after my husband had been volunteering for about a year. We fell in love, and it has changed our lives! When we first started, Capernaum was in major need of volunteers. Luckily, in the last two years we have gained seven amazing leaders! My time with Capernaum kids is when I feel most alive.
WHAT I DO - As a Capernaum, Young Life group, we meet up with the kids every Tuesday night during the school year. The leaders meet early to get a bunch of games ready. We often try to do group activities to get everybody involved, and then game stations where they can switch games when they want. At the end of our time a leader does a club talk. As a leader, I help with preparing for these nights, as well as sometimes doing club talks. I either run a game station, or go around to get kids involved. My husband, Josh, is also a leader as well.
A large issue among the special needs population is not having a job or anything to do after they are done with school. Often times they will just stay at home all day and get really bored. Many are put in front of the television for hours. Josh and I try to help this issue by hanging out with our Capernaum friends outside of Young Life to get to know them better and help them experience more things. Many of them love to bowl, so that's one of our favorite things to do with them as well. Some of our Capernaum friends like to message us when they get bored. In these times we like to encourage them to do an activity, like go on a walk. The young adults that are employed love to talk about their jobs, and we try to go visit them while they are working, which they absolutely love!
WAFARA CAMP - WAFARA stands for Washington Family Ranch, which is the young life camp that we take our Capernaum kids to each Summer. We take between 22-25 kids. All year, the kids won't stop talking about how fun camp is and how excited they are for it. WAFARA is in the middle of nowhere, and there is no service, which is very refreshing. There is a pool with two diving boards, a giant gym with 3 courts, a rock wall and many other games, a pond with paddle boards, 3 zip lines, a ropes course, a go karts course, a giant swing, and much more! Our capernaum group loves getting to experience all of this fun, as well as meet new people that are at camp. This camp really helps them step out of their comfort zone in many areas while having tons of fun. It also helps us leaders get to know them better and understand them on more of a personal level.
WHAT NOW? Now that Josh and I have gained personal relationships with many of the Capernaum kids, we can get even more involved in their lives and help them out where needed. Another huge issue in the special needs population is the unemployment rate. There are quite a few of our Capernaum friends that have jobs, but many of them don't because they either just don't want to or their parents don't think it's safe. Josh and I have been talking about how we would love to help people with special needs get jobs. The way we can do this is by helping improve social skills and by talking to businesses that are possible for people with special needs to work at. It is a dream of ours and a few friends of ours to start a coffee shop and employ a bunch of people with special needs. It is definitely in the dreaming stage, but we are hoping we can make it happen one day. This wouldn't even be a dream of ours if it wasn't for getting involved with Capernaum Young Life!