Rauer envisions summer youth program with a spiritual twist

April 11, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

CLEAR SPRING - Even though a Bible verse comes to Debbie Rauer's mind when she envisions a summer program for the youth of the Clear Spring area, she insists that anyone who takes up her challenge will have a good time.

Rauer is spearheading a summer youth program at the Washington County park in Clear Spring beginning June 21. There will be activities of all kinds for all ages, she said.

"We're calling it The Waters," she said.

Chapter 55 of the book of Isaiah says "Come, come all you who are thirsty - come to the waters."

Some time ago, Rauer said, she was teaching children at a Hagerstown church but felt she wasn't getting anywhere. "I wasn't being served, the youth weren't being served, so I started looking around," Rauer said.

When she started shopping for a new church, she found her new spiritual niche at the first house of worship she visited - Hilltop Christian Fellowship at 9508 National Pike in Big Pool.


"God let me know this was it," Rauer said.

Again the question of working with children and youth came up but this time she was inspired. "A book by Ron Luce entitled 'Battle Cry for a Generation' gave me that inspiration," she said.

After getting permission to use the park every Wednesday from June 21 through Aug. 16 from 7 to 9 p.m., Rauer and Pastor Rick Heines of New Life Christian Ministries began working together on substance.

The first half hour of each Wednesday evening will be devoted to feeding the body with food and beverages provided free for all who come to participate.

"Then for another half hour, we will be feeding the spiritual health," she said.

After that, there will be all kind and manner of physical activity including games such as soccer, volleyball and basketball.

"We will leave in prayer," she said.

Heines is working with Rauer on the project but acknowledges it was her brainchild.

"I'd eventually like to see a Clear Spring community youth center even though we are small in number," he said. "It would be nice to have a place where games can be played, etc."

Heines, a member of the Clear Spring Ministerium, said that group is actively working on that project.

"It is a challenge for us since we have kids coming from Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, which involves six or seven different school districts," he said.

Rauer said there will be no cost to the youngsters who attend. She added that no age limits - how young or how old - will be imposed, since she plans to have something for all ages even though she expects middle and high school ages to be predominant.

"We are looking for donations from the community and other churches to help support this," Rauer said.

No stranger to working with kids, Rauer, 50, has lived in the Clear Spring area for most of her life and has a day-care center in her home that serves about a dozen youngsters. She has two older children and a set of 12-year-old twins of her own at home.

Heines said the need for the summer program is undeniable.

"On the 'Today' show, it said 64 percent of American teens say religion is important, but 38 percent add that it is difficult to relate it to real life."

The Isaiah chapter continues, "Listen, listen to me and eat what is good and your soul will delight." And that is what the program is all about, Rauer said.

For more information or to inquire about transportation, call Rauer at 301-842-3060 or Heines at 301-733-0307.

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