Sunday, 12 January 2020 10:55

Youth group in Charleston seeing great success

Written by Tony Cerveny

CHARLESTON — Angie Buescher didn’t go looking to be a youth minister. She actually called St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Charleston to see if they needed help with teaching religious education. After being told all the spots were filled, she learned there was one opening: youth ministry. Fast forward 22 years and Buescher would have never guessed she would be the youth minister, and it would become her passion.

“Although I told them I had no idea what a youth minister’s role was, I got the job and was guided by the priest,” she says.

01 12 2020 AxeThrowingCharlestonUnder her leadership, the youth group at St. Charles Borromeo has seen tremendous success, averaging 25-30 high school students and 15-20 middle school students.

A big part of the success are the unique things the students experience. For example, the students participate in the Catholic HEART Workcamp, National Catholic Youth Conference, Passion Play, and go on water rafting and skiing trips every year. Recently, the group went axe throwing. Also, the list includes a Segway tour in Indianapolis. It’s those fun and unique events, combined with learning and growing in the Catholic faith during those experiences, that keep these young people coming back.

When asked about advice for other youth ministers, Buescher says to find good people to help you. Playing a big role with the program in Charleston are Lisa Dallas and Kevin Hussey, who have been a part of the religious education at St. Charles Borromeo for many years. She also mentions “to just keep reaching out” to parents and youth.

“The youth are busier now than ever,” Angie says. “It takes some time to look at the school calendar for planning events. The communication has definitely changed with more text messaging, so information is quicker to get out and get back. Always focus on the youth. Many times, a student will mention the impact that a certain event had on them. A feeling of conversion of God in their life from something as simple as a movie we attended. It all starts with the opportunity to attend these events, which has been possible due to our parish support and parent support at St. Charles Borromeo. I feel as if I have worked with some of the best people that a church has to offer!”

Tony Cerveny is director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries.