How much money do you think several thousand youth could raise in just 90 seconds? A few hundred dollars? A few thousand? Well how about $16,156? Well that is what 6,000 United Methodist youth did on July 14 and it was as incredible to witness as it sounds.
From July 11-15, over 6,000 United Methodist youth from around the country landed upon Greensboro, NC for the SPLAT Youth 2007 Summit. I had the opportunity to run several Nothing But Nets workshops during the week, and not knowing exactly what to expect, I have to admit I was blown away by the youth.
Each workshop was over-capacity, with kids standing in the back and sitting on the floor. The best part of each workshop was the little competition we ran, challenging the youth to come up with unique (albeit feasible) ideas on how to bring Nothing But Nets back to their hometowns. Some of the winners include organizing a road race using beds on wheels and a volleyball tournament with players in fishnets. The youth had so much energy – we all had a great time!
So back to the $16,000! On Saturday, Bishop Thomas Bickerton from the United Methodist Church and Diego Gutierrez, midfielder for the Chicago Fire, joined us in Greensboro and addressed all 6,000 of the youth at the Greensboro Coliseum. Together Bishop Bickerton and Diego challenged the youth to join the effort to save lives.
Bishop Bickerton turned to Diego and said: “I have $10. How about you Diego?” As Diego pulled out his ten dollar bill, I watched as someone in the front row put a ten dollar bill on stage. And then another person followed. And then more. All of a sudden youth of all ages got out of their seats, poured down to the stage from every part of the Coliseum, and handed their contribution to Bishop Bickerton and Diego. Those who could not get close enough simply threw their money on the stage. Not even two minutes later, we had piles and piles of dollar bills, all donated by middle-school and high-school aged youth!
The United Methodist Youth at the Youth Summit 2007 clearly rose to the challenge to help us send more nets and save more lives, and they definitely went above and beyond all expectations!