Yuma focuses on family

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Corps welcomes community at monthly family nights

by Jonathan Harvey, Captain –

A family works together on a craft project at the Yuma, Ariz., corps family night outreach.

Over 100 people attended a recent family outreach night at the Yuma Citadel Corps in Arizona—led by Captains Jonathan and Vickie Harvey—packing into the small corps facility. The event brings corps members together with people in the community for an evening of food and fun.
The community has shown growing support for the family nights, which offer fellowship, food and events based on a specific theme for that month. Each outreach night is well attended by the corps congregation; 30-40 participate—including the entire teen group—serving families, helping with the crafts, and sitting with visitors and engaging them in conversation.
Most recently, the Cinco de Mayo Family Fiesta began with an icebreaker. Afterwards, guests enjoyed a meal served by corps volunteers, followed by craft time, with an activity that required interaction between the parents and children. The evening concluded with a devotion that captivated the attention of the children and adults and challenged them to trust in God.
One parent remarked how she loves coming to family night because it affords her a “wonderful meal and an opportunity to have fun with her children.” As she left, she asked about service times and other programs we offer!
The idea for family night emerged at a corps planning retreat—in a defining moment for the Yuma Citadel Corps, a glaring reality surfaced and this response was born.
The corps planning team had the task of identifying the common denominators within the corps ministry and how we could capitalize on positive elements as we planned for future growth. What became obvious was that most of the young adults who attend the corps today grew up in the Army and have parents who also attend the corps.
With this realization in mind, the planning team took a new approach to our youth outreach. Instead of placing such a great emphasis on attracting countless children who are often transient and fall away from lack of parental support, our focus would be on attracting families. The goal—through outreach opportunities—is to engage the families in regular corps life. We have not abandoned our youth outreach programs, but we are placing greater emphasis on programs and events that engage the whole family.

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