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Pam’s Story

In the fall of 2013, my grandson Aaron Willard and Colby, his best friend from First Baptist Church of Stilwell, started earning money towards their church camping trip for 2014. The campsite was Youthfront West. This was going to be their first time to attend.

The first weekend of April 2014, Aaron and FBCS youth went to St. Louis to attend a huge rally. When Aaron returned home, he told me that was the best weekend he had ever experienced. He loved the music, the people, the sermons, and all the projects they worked on. He also shared with me that he got really close to God.

On April 13, 2014, Aaron became unresponsive and was rushed to the hospital. He was put on life support until Tuesday, April 15.

Aaron had contracted a non-contagious bacterial meningitis. We had no clue that his little brain was swelling inside. He never complained of any pain. This was a complete shock.

Our whole community met 3 different times for candle vigils. The neighborhood children and his school mates were having a very hard time dealing with this incident. I felt the children needed something to connect to with Aaron. The thought of a memorial bench came to mind–a place where the children, adults, and family could go to sit and reminisce about the times they spent with Aaron.

In November 2014, our family hosted a fundraiser at The United Methodist Church in Louisburg. We had a pancake breakfast supplied by Chris Cakes, a bake sale, a cake walk and a 20 item raffle. The items for the bake sale, cake walk, and raffle were donated by our friends, neighbors, church members, and our neighborhood businesses. We also had a private donor who promised to match funds up to $1,000. At the close of the fundraiser, the dollar amount tallied to………exactly $1,000. Needless to say, Aaron’s memorial bench was placed in the Lewis Young Park in Louisburg.

I received an email this Spring from Youthfront LaCygne asking for volunteers to serve in various areas. One of the areas mentioned was helping serve in the kitchen. I felt led to answer the email and they accepted me. This particular camp caters to students in high school and Youthfront West caters to students in middle school. I wasn’t sure I could handle the place that Aaron would have attended, but I wanted to get the feel of what he would have experienced spiritually.

My experience was a tremendous lift to my spiritual life. I enjoyed talking with the young adults, doing projects with them, and sharing experiences with them. It did my heart a world of good to listen to them have discussions about Jesus, His life, and the impact that has had on their own life. It is a wonderful program that Youthfront has to offer to young adults and children.

We had a good amount of alone time to meditate; I now realize that everyone needs to turn off the cell phones, and with no distractions, see how amazingly God will clear your mind. Then get out your Bible for reference and a journal and see how the words flow onto your paper; this is known as inspired writing.

On Saturday, August 13, at 6:30 p.m., our family and friends gathered to release balloons to honor Aaron’s birth 15 years ago.

Pam Poore, Volunteer at Youthfront LaCygne

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