Blue Earth area gets new youth center
The Blue Earth area will soon have a new Christian youth center in operation, thanks to the hard work of Aaron Evenson.
Evenson came to Blue Earth in August to take over the directorship of the Youth for Christ program. One of his primary missions was to find a building suitable to use as a youth center.
That mission has been accomplished, Evenson says.
Youth for Christ recently purchased the former First United Methodist Church building near downtown Blue Earth.
“We bought it from Hope United Methodist Church,” Evenson says. “They sold it to us at a very, very low price, or else we would not have been able to afford it.”
A group of local Methodist churches combined recently, causing the group to put several buildings up for sale, and tearing one down.
“This will suit us real well,” Evenson says. “Although we will be doing a bit of remodeling. We are still evaluating what needs to be done.”
The plan is to employ the former sanctuary as a large meeting room. It will be used for lectures, concerts, and meals.
The fellowship hall, in the basement, will become the ‘drop-in youth center,’ Evenson explains.
“We will have activities such as foos-ball, ping-pong tables and video games,” Evenson says.
The drop-in part of the youth center means kids can come and go as they wish, during the hours the facility is open.
“We have not yet determined what those hours will be,” the director says. “We have not yet set an official opening date, either, although we are shooting for early in 2009.”
That doesn’t mean the building hasn’t had any use yet. In November there was an event which featured nationally known speakers Dave and Mary Jo Nutting. There was also a banquet for local community leaders, to explain the plan for the youth center.
“It was a fundraiser, to try and show what we are doing, and what we need,” Evenson said. Many of the items used at the banquet were sponsored by local businesses.
Youth for Christ is an international organization, started in 1944. They are in over 100 countries, and have 180 regions served in the U.S.
The Blue Earth Area Youth for Christ group is part of the Southern Minnesota region, which is headquartered in Albert Lea. There is a Youth for Christ organization in Wells, Austin, New Richland and Mountain Lake.
“Our vision is to give every young person in every nation the opportunity to make an informed decision to be a follower of Christ, and become part of a local church,” Evenson says.
He stresses that his group partners with local churches and is not in competition with them.
“We try and work with all the local churches,” he explains. “We also want to work with youth throughout the county, not just in Blue Earth.”
Evenson says he is passionate about Christ, evangelism, and youth.
“When I was a kid in Alden my family went to a Lutheran Church – and I hated church,” he says.
Then when he was 15 years old he attended a Youth for Christ event in Iowa. It was there he accepted Christ as his personal savior, he says.
Since then he has felt a calling to help other youth, and feels Faribault County is where he was meant to be.
The future of the new youth center is still being determined, Evenson says. At this point in time he is the only staff member, but the plan is to add more as they are able.
“After we are open I hope to have concerts, Bible studies and prayer and worship services,” he says, “as well as other fun activities for kids.”
The center will be geared for youth between grades 6-12, although Evenson says all youth will be welcome.
As far as for the future, he has plans to get a van and do trips, such as to Colorado and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
“There are so many programs we can do, it is real exciting,” Evenson says. “Next year there will be a lot of new adventures to explore here.”