Friday, August 26, 2016

Tyler Knight - Valedictorian

Dear Future Qwanoes students, I hope that you know what kind of life changing adventure you are getting yourselves into! The most important adventure you will get to face during this up and coming year is seeing how God will reveal Himself to you and grow in your life! It is a year of amazing growth and community that makes me wish that I could have stayed and never left.

When I was in your position last year I remember the anxiety of all the preparations. I remember the fear for challenges I thought would come up in academics, faith, and community. However, all the fears that I had going in either turned out to be amazing moments I can cherish, seeing how God was at work in my life, or non-existent when the program started. This is true for the experiences I had throughout all aspects of the program. The aspects that are key for this program are: Community, Academics, Leadership, Ministry, and Adventure. They may seem simple but there are some key ideas to remember with each one.

To start, be ready to find a new family within the community that will be made this year. It is not always easy to be totally invested into the community all the time, but it plays a huge role in the year as a whole. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and step out of your comfort zone in order to get the most out of the community there. You will begin to see a family that you wont be able to let go of after this year is over. 
The next aspect that is crucial to work on is the academics. Though it seems like the least appealing aspect, due to its intensity, it is the one that you will profit from the most if you invest into it. There will be times of chaos and stress, but all this can be cut down extremely with time management and discipline. I advise to start working on projects, essays, and readings as soon as you can, so to avoid last minute crams. The academics will reveal so much of who God is and they can be completed through time management, prayer, and help from your peers. 
Another aspect that is a main push in this program is leadership. You will be stretched and put out of your comfort zone at points in order to teach you new lessons and stretch your abilities. Don’t be scared of new opportunities of leading discussions and activities around the camp and at the partnering churches. Embrace them and stay out of your comfort zone in order to see growth come from God enabling you to accomplish tasks set before you. 
Next is the ministry aspect of Kaléo. This is an amazing thing to be a part of throughout the year. You will experience the chance to lead in chapels, discussions, local youth groups and on your short term mission trip. Keep an open mind in order to learn from the leaders who are working with you in order to help you in the ministry for Christ this year and as you leave. 
Finally, the adventure aspect is another key component to this program. It may be the big draw for many of you, as it was for me, and they hold a mass amount of learning in them as well. You will be pushed more than you have before, so be ready to stick it out (you can make it through if I could). It is a joy to take time reveling in the Lord’s creation with your community as you accomplish a goal for the adventure, big or small. Don’t be afraid to seek out prayer and encouragement through these adventures as some of them can be a lot or work, but you can do it!
As you continue to get ready for this coming year I encourage you to remain excited for what God will do, and push aside fear and anxiety for God has an amazing plan for you this year which is something to be in hopeful anticipation for! Good luck to you all as you embark on this adventure together! May your focus be on the Lord throughout all the adventures you come to face this year and for years to come!

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