Wilshire Student Ministry shines in summer

by | May 31, 2024 | Feature

From Tuesday Missions to Study & Swim, Choir Tour and Camp, summer is a busy and meaningful time for Wilshire’s youth group. We asked a parent, a current student and some alumni to share their thoughts. Contact Associate Pastor Darren DeMent to get plugged in.

Summer events build faith

By Jason Woodbury

Paula and I have seen two of our kids go through the Wilshire Student Ministry and are blessed to have a third currently participating. A large part of WSM focuses on summer programming. We believe the participation of our kids in Youth Choir Tour, Youth Camp, missions projects, Study & Swim and just hanging out is such a formative part of their spiritual journey.

Not only do they strengthen bonds with other youth, but they also grow their discipleship in new and exciting ways. The stories they tell after trips or weekly events make it evident that they are having fun while learning, growing and maturing in their faith. We’re so thankful that Wilshire, and Darren especially, put so much effort and focus on summer programming.

We encourage any parent wondering about getting their kid involved to make it a priority. You won’t regret it!

Jason Woodbury and his wife, Paula, are parents to Kathryn, a rising sophomore at Lake Highlands High School. Jason and Paula’s other kids are Garrett, who attends Baylor University, and Sher Moo Ku, a student at Austin College.


Camp is the heart of WSM

By Joshua Brown

It’s about that time of year where the youth mysteriously disappear for a week and return either very tan or very sunburned, and smiling in either case. It’s almost time for Youth Camp!

The thing about camp is that it is the embodiment of the heart of the youth group. It is all about finding God’s handiwork in the people you love and the world God created. There is nothing as incredible as walking out of a service to find a rainbow gracing the sunset, surrounded by your closest friends — or seeing the stars dance to the song y’all sing. Music is all around you at camp. From the songs you sing along to terribly as you walk from place to place to the songs you cry to even years later — those memories never go away. The memories of belly-flopping in the pool, making bracelets in the shade, reading heart-melting notes and building the volleyball dream team.

It’s the memories you’ll never forget. It’s the people you’ll know the rest of your life. It’s the loving support you’ll have through every beautiful and terrible moment. It all starts at camp, where even the outsider is welcomed with open arms.

Joshua Brown just graduated from DISD’s School for the Talented and Gifted and will head to the University of Houston after one more WSM summer.


Youth group alums give back

From Melinda Thompson:

WSM summer is one of the very best times of the year. While the whole year is full of great programming, summer is such a fun time because we get to see the youth come together without the stressors of school and busy schedules and make incredible memories together. Whether it is basketball in the pool, pickleball tournaments or making bracelets together, there are ways for each student to join in the fun and make stronger connections with the group.

Coming back as an adult to support the youth group over the summer is not only a whole lot of fun, but also a great opportunity for me to help give back to a space that helped shape me into the person I am today. I get to contribute to the creation of an inclusive, loving environment, which was so beneficial to me as a young adult. Youth summers were some of my favorites, and I hold so many great memories from all of the summer activities.

I’m so, so thankful for the time I got to spend as a member of the WSM and am grateful to have the opportunity to support that work for the students in WSM now!

Melinda Thompson, a 2017 graduate of Lake Highlands High School, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Oklahoma and now works in marketing in Dallas. This summer she will be an adult leader at Youth Camp for the second consecutive year.

From Joel Spreier:

I spent my summers at church growing up, and WSM shaped who I am as a person. I feel it’s my responsibility to show up for the current youth the same way the adults of the past youth group did for me. That’s why I’ll gladly fly from Colorado to spend a week with them at camp!

Joel Spreier (Lake Highlands High School, 2012; Texas A&M, 2017) will return this summer for his fourth time as a Youth Camp leader. He lives in the Denver area and works as a mechanical engineer.