For the second summer in a row, Boulder Adventist Church has provided an internship program for teens ages 13–18. The four 2017 interns—Tommy Eickmann (17), Luke Leiden (14), Jonah De Oliveira (13) and Joshua De Oliveira (17)—have worked hard on a wide range of activities over the summer. They ran Café Sanitas, providing light snacks and drinks to hikers, cyclists and passers-by, began an urban garden, refinished chairs, built a concrete cave, supervised games and activities at Vacation Bible School, and prepared the church for worship each week.
The internship was not all about physical labor. Pastor Jessyka Albert, coordinator of the program, places a high value on using the experience to help give the teens greater ownership of the church. “It really gives them a chance to learn more about themselves, about others, and about the world around them,” she said.
The teens attended a church vision board meeting and learned about how their ideas and input can help shape church culture. They also had the freedom to take ownership of various projects, such as Café Sanitas, through strategizing about the effectiveness of different operating hours, developing menu items, and meeting with one local business about the possibility of partnership. They took vocational and personality tests, such as StrengthsQuest and Myers-Briggs, designed to help them learn more about how they can make a difference in the church and the world. They also devoted time each day to prayer and Bible study.
The summer program was rewarding in different ways for each of the teens. Jonah De Oliveira says, “I liked talking to people when we did the café. The internship was fun and I learned how to mix concrete!” Luke Leiden particularly enjoyed the personality tests. “I found out a lot about myself, what I should do with my life, and how I can help the church.” Joshua De Oliveira recommends the internship as “a great summer job” that helped him gain new practical and social skills while doing useful work. Tommy Eickmann says, “It’s a great way to get involved in the local community and I think this is really important.”
Pastor Jessyka recalls some of her favorite moments: “Joshua was so excited when the CEO of Good Spread stopped by to offer us peanut butter to use in our café. Tommy would be reading a commentary in preparation for his upcoming sermon and would often pause to share a new discovery with the group. Jonah reacted to his personality test results by exclaiming, ‘I’m going to such a cool dad someday!’ Luke connected so well with his small group at Vacation Bible School, singing and dancing alongside them with such joy!”
Boulder Adventist Church is located in the heart of historic Boulder. It has a commitment to local engagement and strives for meaningful community outreach.
Photo: (l-r) Joshua De Oliveira, Tommy Eickmann, Jonah De Oliveira, Luke Leiden, and Pastor Jessyka Albert.
Becky De Oliveira is director of communication for Boulder Adventist Church on Colorado.