March 5, 2021
We arrived at the top of the ridgeline and took a moment to be quiet. To pause. To be still and listen. To see what God might have to say from the mountaintop. You could make out a bit of Radnor Lake down below- frozen over in a beautiful sheet of turquoise and surrounded by a pristine blanket of white snow. The tree branches above us were caked in a thick layer of white snow, beautifully contrasted with the blue sky in the background. The sun was slowly melting the snow from the trees, so that all around us you could hear snow and ice chunks falling to the ground. They almost seemed to be shedding an outer layer of cold, bleached bark. There was something intriguing about it. When asked what everyone heard in their moment of quiet, many had noticed the pattering of the snow falling. Some shared how it was a reminder that God makes all things new. That He helps us shed our burdens, our failures, our sin, and our pain that might feel stuck on us. He melts away that iciness and brings forth new life underneath.
"Behold, I am doing a new thing. Do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and
rivers in the desert.” -Isaiah 43:19
This is but a small picture of UrbanTrekkers- one of the newest program components being added to UrbanPromise Nashville. Getting our Street Leaders outside and into green (or snowy!) spaces where they can be both challenged and given the space to reflect may be as important as ever. So much of our time is spent on screens right now- from virtual classrooms to staying connected with friends- it is important we give our students opportunities to live in the unplugged world so there is space for God to speak.
UrbanTrekkers combines elements of outdoor adventure, environmental education, historical perspective, cross-cultural experiences, community service, and leadership & teambuilding to deepen our mentoring and learning opportunities. We want our students to learn experientially, conquer challenging situations, and develop their leadership skills in new ways. We hope to do this through monthly day expeditions- hiking, urban exploration, biking, kayaking, challenge courses, overnight camping expeditions, and eventually some bigger adventure trips, are all just some of the ways we plan on engaging our students in this area. Throughout these times, we provide constant reflection to connect our experiences with life lessons that touch on leadership styles, our relationship with God, and service to others.
One key component to all this work is integrating volunteers who want to connect with students. After just one day of hiking together, I myself felt like I got to know our Street Leaders on a much deeper level than the several times I joined their weekly meetings. Imagine the types of bonds that can form after several of these experiences together with multiple caring adults, committed to helping our kids grow in their walk with God and their personal development.
We are excited to see how God can use the tools of UrbanTrekkers to complement the amazing work our Street Leaders are doing in the after-school program.
Thanks for Trekking with us!