PHOTO: Davis Reform Temple Youth members learned Israeli dancing on Feb. 8 at Congregation Bet Haverim. (Courtesy: Ethan Schroeder)
By Lauren Lee,
As Davis High students seek supportive communities to join, they participate in church youth groups as a way to strengthen their religious faith and build relationships. Various churches in Davis have services directed toward high school students to encourage them in their religious journey.
Davis Reform Temple Youth
The Davis Reform Temple Youth (DRTY) group is a youth program at Congregation Bet Haverim, a community dedicated to Judaism, which aims towards students from eighth grade to 12th grade. The group’s goals include creating community and social networking.
DRTY had a revival of activity a few years ago after a long hiatus at Congregation Bet Haverim. The group is managed by a board of teens who help plan events and programs. DHS sophomore Noa Vinokurov is the Treasurer and sophomore Alexa Folb is one of two communication vice presidents on this board.
They host events varying from visiting the trampoline park, Sky High, to visiting the local food bank for volunteering. They also plan events of cultural significance like Israeli Dancing.
“I feel like it’s a good way to get involved with stuff in the community and give back but also have fun,” Vinokurov said.
DRTY hosts a meeting and an event once a month, and many of its high school members attend the Jewish Student Union club at DHS.
“It’s important to have a community of people who connect with you through the same religion. As nice as it is to be friends with people of all religions, it’s nice to have that strong community of people in your religion to relate to and hang out with,” Folb said.
University Covenant Church (UCC) hosts a youth group called Summit for teens from tenth to twelfth grade. Their goal is to provide a safe space for teens and encourage continued faith in their life.
Summit meets every other Tuesday at UCC and has two groups: “large group” and “small group.” The large group meetings are at UCC and are more for playing games and worshiping God, whereas the small group meets to have a smaller discussion with separation based on gender and age.
Sophomore Tobey Kim was in a different church before UCC and found that Summit was more accepting.
“I feel like I can open up to people more than I could at the other one. It’s allowed me to grow as a person and in my faith. I can be open to people around me in [the] youth group,” Kim said.
Summit hosts many events to build community including a mission trip to Ensenada, Mexico, a week-long house boating trip and a weekend camp.
“I really like Mexico because I can serve a different community. It’s really humbling,” junior Megan Looney said.
They visit six churches in Mexico and receive different task assignments, whether it be fixing a church or spending time with the kids at the church.
“I’ve experienced a new type of community where I can build on my faith. I grew up in a Christian-based home. Having a religious community separate from my family helped me build on my own personal faith in God,” Looney said.
In addition, many Summit members joined the Agape club at DHS.
Davis Korean Church youth group
The youth ministry at Davis Korean Church meets every Saturday and Sunday in a service separate from adults. The group is managed by college leaders and a Korean Church pastor.
Its goal is to help youths from seventh to twelfth grade find their faith in Jesus Christ through worship and activities.
“Our Bible studies give me a lot to think about […] how what I just learned fits into my life. It also caused me to question things I’ve never questioned before, especially since sometimes we talk about controversial topics,” senior Sara Su said.
A major event in the youth ministry is the winter retreat. Where members travel to a retreat site with group leaders and pastor to listen to sermons, study the bible, pray and play games.
Sophomore Grace Mun values her youth group because of the bonds she has made and the community.
“My personality has changed because of the people I’ve met in the youth group,” Mun said.