To be held at the church’s Family Life Center, 100 W. Church St. in Cartersville, the benefit will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 8. Along with dinner, the event will feature Trudy Cathy White — daughter of Chick-fil-A founder, S. Truett Cathy — as the guest speaker.
“We’re doing a fundraiser to raise money to offset the cost for students for both summer camps and summer mission trips,” said Sam Jones Memorial UMC Youth Ministries Director Lane Gilbert, referring to the youth attending Student Life Camp at Covenant College and high schoolers working with Urban Nations Outreach in New York. “Summer camps and summer mission trips are our two largest things that we do that contribute to the spiritual growth of students. Of course, obviously, it’s expensive to go to camp and because of that there’s a lot of kids that can’t pay what it actually costs to send them. So this is to offset that cost. [The] Cathy family has been involved a lot with WinShape camps and stuff like that. So we kind of felt that it was really ... at the heart of ... what they really care about.
“... The mission trip to New York will actually be something kind of new for [our youth]. The area that we’re going to be ministering in is an immigrant community. So almost all of them will be English second language and the biggest majority of them will not be Christian. So I’m really excited because it’s going to be a lot different than what kids are usually used to when they go on a mission trip with their church because our goal is to go and show a side of Christianity that a lot of these people haven’t seen.”
Along with helping the youth experience these offerings, a news release promoting the Youth Fund Raiser Dinner, said event attendees will be “touched and inspired” by White’s message.
“First and foremost, I am a wife, a mother and a grandmother,” White stated on www.cathyfamily.com. “Outside of my relationship with Christ, those are the most important things you need to know about me. My husband, John, and I cherish our opportunities to invest in the lives of others, and we have been seeking out those opportunities together for the last 33 years. John and I are co-founders of IMPACT 360 — a gap-year program designed to equip young adults to be Christ-centered servant leaders. I also serve as Girl’s Director of WinShape Camps, a summer camp program started by my mom and dad in 1985.
“My life goal is to obey God’s leadership, nurture family relationships and promote godly character in the next generation. At the end of the day, I try to live my life by following these few simple, but powerful reminders: Live life with open hands (give generously) and a grateful heart (express gratitude) as you climb (strive for excellence) with care (respect others) and confidence (trusting in God) each and every day.”
Helping nurture their spiritual growth, Gilbert said, camps and mission trips provide opportunities for youth to focus on their walk with God.
“When we come back from camp, [the youth] say, ‘Oh my gosh, that was amazing — this speaker or that speaker.’ But the biggest thing is that it’s a whole week where they’re not on their phones all the time,” Gilbert said. “They’re spending time with peers and friends, but they spend time in worship services. They spend time doing team building.
“They spend time in small groups and that’s not interrupted by cellphones and having to run out for practice or ‘I can’t be there because of practice.’ [Because] during the year, there’s so much stuff competing for their time. So this is a time to kind of quiet the noise and they can really focus on their relationship with God.”
Tickets for the Youth Fund Raiser Dinner are $20 each — tables of eight also are available if requested — and can be purchased by calling Sam Jones Memorial UMC, 770-382-4772.