One aspect of photography that I find so appealing is that the camera can take you places. In the cases of Joe McNally or David duChemin that means incredible locations around the globe. While the location was not nearly so exotic for me, it was a very enjoyable evening. Our youth minister asked if I could be available to photograph the Center Pointe youth and their Battle of the Classes at Niederman Farm a few Sundays ago. I love any excuse that compels me to go out with the camera and shoot, so since my schedule was open, I eagerly said yes.
Of course, after I arrived and began pointing the camera, it became obvious to me that there was more than one storyline taking place that night. The obvious one was the task at hand, and capturing the current youth and their activities. As I saw some of the other volunteer leaders and their young kids, as well as the youth minister and his wife and children, I realized this was a backstory as well.
Prior to our arrival at Center Pointe my wife had led the youth group at Sharonville United Methodist Church. When she first began the position, we had no children, but were in the middle of the adoption process. It was not long before the youth director, and her husband had a little baby girl in tow for all the youth events. I gave that little baby girl a ride to the Battle of the Classes night that night for one of her first full youth events!
While I captured the current nights events, those memories from the past kept flooding in. The day we brought our oldest daughter home from the hospital came after an overnight New Years Eve lock in at the church. The youth training event in Nashville we went to where she was strapped to the front of us sleeping while we participated in training/games. The ski trip to Perfect North where she took her first steps.
Dan, our youth minister, has had this running visual the past few years of marbles in a jar to represent the weeks we have with our kids. As I took pictures of this night, and saw his young kids playing at the event, and then saw my daughter who had a very similar childhood, but was now one of the youth, it drove home how many marbles are gone from that jar!
This past week Sharonville UMC had their vacation Bible School. Our kids have been to every one since our oldest was born. This year, she became a helper, while her sister and brothers took part as campers. I happened to have a conversation about the youth ministry with a friend of ours from SUMC and she mentioned there was a bunch of pictures from SUMC youth over the years hanging on the wall in the youth lounge. I wound up going up and taking a look, and it was a fun trip down memory lane. There were a number of the pictures that were from my wife's time as youth leader. While the quality is not great because it's a cell phone picture of the picture on the wall....and then cropped, it seems a fitting shot to wrap up this post on.