Challenge is a program for girls that builds friendship, virtue and understanding of Catholic faith. The team meets weekly, has the option to attend retreats, and does service projects - having fun and creating a postive impact on family, friends and the world. This year we have a 5th grade team and a 6th grade team. Leadership opportunities are also available for girls in middle and high school.
The Brownie Battle was on. Screams echoed in the gathering space as girls darted around corners and ducked behind furniture.
“I found the butter!” one shouted as another girl swooped behind a potted plant and came up with a container of salt. The ingredients piled in: flour in the parish hall, sugar in the St. Patrick room, eggs carefully hidden on top of the fridge, vanilla in the toy cupboard. The ingredient scavenger hunt was over. It was time to make brownies!
But wait. One important ingredient was missing. “We can’t find the chocolate anywhere!” Their eyebrows went up as they stared earnestly into my face.
“Well girls, can you have brownies without chocolate?”
The answer was a resounding “No!”
“And can you have Heaven without the love of God?”
The lesson had hit home. God’s love is a key ingredient to making Heaven a place we want to visit. Otherwise, it would be hell.
Not everyone has the opportunity to munch on brownies and learn important faith lessons, but Challenge girls have similar experiences every week as they reflect on the Gospel, discuss the question of the week and experience dynamic activities that make their faith real. Gospel “reflections” are often skits they make up on the spot and can often turn from serious to somewhat silly. The questions of the week are centered on themes of character development, faith, and service. Challenge Youth Ministry is designed for girls ages 11-16, and is uniquely structured to complement adolescent psychology. Friendship is an important theme: what is true friendship, how to be a good friend, is it important for everyone to like me, etc. Faith is approached from the questions that often come up at this age: does God really care about me, what heaven is and who are the saints, why should I go to Mass, etc. Finally, service to others is an especially important component to Challenge ministry. Every week the girls discuss and plan an ongoing apostolic project. Their input is key to making the projects matter to them. Visiting the nursing home or food kitchen is important, but I was especially touched by the outcome of this recent meeting that included baking brownies.
The brownies were put in the oven as soon as we collected all the ingredients and found the missing chocolate. But they weren’t finished baking by the time the meeting was over. Instead of being crushed that they couldn’t eat the brownies, one of the girls suggested, “Why don’t we put those brownies in the bake sale we are having tomorrow as a fundraiser for our friend who has cancer?”
or contact Leah Nguyen 913-660-1184 or email@example.com