As Youth Sunday approaches, we bring you an interview from Glenn Youth senior, Ben Ladner. Along with 5 other seniors, Ben will give a reflection on his time at Glenn this Sunday. Be sure to join us at 11:00 a.m. for our annual youth planned and led service.
Looking back on your time at Glenn, tell us about an experience that shaped who you are today.
I think the choir tours have played a big role in shaping who I am. Looking back at my first choir tour and comparing it with my last, it's crazy to see how much I've changed and matured. Travel is a big part of my life, and the choir tours have taken me to a lot of different places. They've also provided me with service opportunities. I can't really think of one single experience that's shaped me, but remaining such an active and faithful member of the youth group has tremendously shaped me as a person. It's largely because of the youth group that I've been able to keep my head on straight and have such close ties with Glenn.
Glenn Youth is such a tightly knit community of friends that feel like family. Was there ever a moment when you felt particularly upheld and supported?
The first part of this question is exactly right. I feel upheld and supported by the youth in everything I do. The people in the youth group are always willing and able to listen to anything or anyone. I never feel afraid of sounding stupid or being cast out for something I say. That's part of the reason I'm so outgoing at youth, which has translated to other parts of my life as well. I also feel the support of the youth group even when I'm not the one being supported. Seeing, hearing, witnessing, experiencing, whatever term you want to use, the youth support of others has made me feel equally supported.
You are musically talented and have graciously shared those gifts with the congregation. How has music enriched your life of faith?
First of all, thank you! I always enjoy playing at The Gathering or Youth Sunday. Music has had a huge impact on my faith. I've realized that God can be found in all types of music, not just Christian songs. You can find theology in a ton of music, so worship and prayer can happen through music if you feel a special connection with it.
When you move away to college, a lot of stuff will get packed up with you – ramen noodles, laundry detergent, photo albums, maybe a crying family member or two. What “stuff” will you pack up from Glenn to take with you?
Good question. Kathryn Mase actually did something like this for her senior reflection on Youth Sunday a few years ago. The strong sense of family and community is definitely something I'll take with me. Glenn has instilled a confidence in me that I've made a part of my everyday life and that I'll need to take to college. Glenn has also given me an appreciation for a traditional worship style at a time when many people my age are typically into a more upbeat, contemporary style - which is fine, but it's not really my thing. I love Glenn's style, so it's something I'll look for in a church when I go to college.
Thanks, Ben! Hear more from him and seniors Alex Clark, KJ Falco, Cameron MacKenna, Hallie Lonial, and Mary Katherine Henry this Sunday.