At our church, the confirmation program (that prepares junior high school-aged students to become fully participating members of the church rather than merely other members' children) includes a component referred to as mentor groups. For example, I am the mentor for a specific group of 7th-grade boys. Once a month we meet at the church on a Wednesday night for discussion, prayer, and activities that support what they're learning in their confirmation classes with the pastors. Tonight was our last formal meeting of the school year, and on the agenda was writing a "faith statement"--a sentence expressing what we believe about God and the church, based on words that we jotted down following each monthly meeting ever since last autumn (i.e., we were to synthesize the main ideas from each mentor group meeting into one statement of our group's faith).
I had asked permission ahead of time of each boy's parents to take the guys out to Pizza Ranch tonight so that we could eat and visit in a casual environment while crafting our faith statement. We had a good time (over good food) and ended up with a fine faith statement, especially considering the odd array of words that we had recorded after each of our meetings (example: "butterbraid" . . . which I could explain, if you really wanna know). Suzanna's group has two mentors, only one of whom could be there tonight; and she planned to take the girls out for ice cream. However, they happened to stop beside us at a traffic light, and Suzanna told the others where I was taking the boys . . . and shortly after our group got seated at Pizza Ranch, Suzanna and her group came in and sat at a table across from us! My boys were not impressed with that.
Afterwards I drove around town dropping off the boys at their homes. I might have to think of something fun and informal for us to do sometime this summer just to stay in contact as a group between now and next fall, when mentor groups will resume meeting. At the end of the 8th-grade year, the boys (and Suzanna and everybody else in the program) will be confirmed as church members who have completed instruction and are ready to "affirm their baptism," profess their faith, and serve the church as young adult members. And that will wrap up my two-year stint as the boys' mentor.