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The voice of the student.

The Wave

The voice of the student.

The Wave

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Why You Should Join CCN Youth

Students from Marco Island Academy at CCN Youth Group (Jasmine Reese)
Students from Marco Island Academy at CCN Youth Group (Jasmine Reese)

When Christ Community of Naples Youth first began, it consisted of 3-5 students who met in different houses in the community. As the church has grown, the youth group has also grown. Currently, CCN Youth hosts over thirty-five students weekly, and there are new faces at every meeting. On Wednesday nights, students from high schools all over Naples and Marco Island come together for an evening full of fun and fellowship.

CCN Youth is an excellent opportunity to spend time with others. It is also a great way to keep your faith in check during the week, aside from church on Sundays. The youth group helps high schoolers learn more about God’s Word in an interactive and engaging way, whether they’ve been attending church their whole lives or are just beginning to learn about their faith. At the end of each lesson, the students break into small groups, where they discuss the message with their peers and youth leaders.

“Small groups allow us to open up and express our feelings about the message for the day. It provides us with a nonjudgmental environment in which we can ask for prayer requests and share life’s troubles with trusted adults and friends.” – Collette Combs, a senior at MIA

MIA students after winning the turkey bowl at Mackle Park (Kacie Swanson)

CCN Youth is centered around community. Students support each other, hold one another accountable, and push each other to grow in faith. Students engage in games and eat snacks before each lesson. The youth pastor and leaders arrange theme nights, such as the yearly “cereal night.” Students especially love the holiday activities, such as gingerbread house competitions, ugly sweater contests, snowball dodgeball, pumpkin carving fest, and the turkey bowl flag football tournament. They also enjoy the pickleball tournaments, youth group olympics, wearing the CCN Youth t-shirts, and going out for pizza or Chipotle after meetings. The girls at CCN Youth have also engaged in fun activities outside of the church, including charcuterie board nights, Valentine’s Day brunch, and coffee dates with small group leaders.

“When joining a church at my age, youth group was an amazing place for me to figure out where I belong and a prime opportunity for me to take the next steps in my faith. It has provided me with a community and a healthy Christian environment to grow. I am now serving in other CCN Youth ministries on Sundays and helping younger kids learn about God’s Word.”- Jenna Golec, a senior at MIA

MIA students at youth group, listening to the youth pastor preach (Jasmine Reese)

Kyle Rahtjen, the youth pastor at CCN, describes CCN youth as a safe space to hear about God‘s Word and learn about faith. “My goal is to create an environment that encourages students, and gives them the ability to have fun. I want everyone to walk away from the meeting, feeling like they are better equipped with the tools to continue to grow and develop in their own faith.”

Kyle shares how he loves working with students, a passion he has pursued since graduating college in 2010. “One of my favorite things about CCN youth is when you can see a student start to make decisions for faith on their own. Faith is often passed down to children from their parents, but once they grow older, particularly as a high school student, it is important to find and discover faith in God on their own.” Kyle also works with students at FCA on Thursday mornings at MIA. He appreciates the opportunity to start the school day by encouraging students with God’s Word.”

MIA students announcing events at Sunday church (Jasmine Reese)

CCN youth has participated in many service projects in response to the call for help in the communities of Marco Island and Naples. These projects include hurricane cleanups, packaging Christmas gifts for Operation Christmas Child, and preparing meals for struggling families. Students also choose to serve at Sunday services, whether it be through taking photos, controlling the slideshow, greeting people at the door, serving in children’s ministry, or maintaining social media.

Come join CCN youth at their next meeting! For more information, contact the youth pastor, Kyle, at 630-945-0145.

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About the Contributors
Isabella Kakaty
Isabella Kakaty, Opinions Editor
Isabella Kakaty is a senior at Marco Island Academy and the Opinions Editor for The Wave. In her free time, she enjoys reading, going to the beach, and hanging out with friends. She also loves traveling, listening to music, and going to concerts. After graduating from MIA, Bella hopes to attend college at a university in Tennessee and pursue a career in communications.
Collette Combs
Collette Combs, Staff Writer
Collette Combs is a senior at Marco Island Academy and a Staff Writer for The Wave. In her free time, Collette enjoys cheering, dancing, and going to the beach with friends in her convertible. She loves anything to do with music, traveling, and clothes. After high school, she plans to study business entrepreneurship to become a CEO or own her own business and get rich. 
Kacie Swanson
Kacie Swanson, Staff Writer
Kacie Swanson is a junior at Marco Island Academy and is a Staff Writer for The Wave. In her free time she enjoys going to the beach and spending most of her money at Starbucks. She loves Taylor Swift and Zach Bryan and spends 99% of her time listening to them. After high school, she plans on attending a college in Florida and later going on to nursing school.
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