Q&As with Youth Leader Scarlett McCaw
Scarlett McCaw is a hair artist. After graduating from Cascade Christian High School in 2008, she attended Southern Oregon University for a year before enrolling in Oregon Institute of Cosmetology (now called Northwest College School of Beauty) in Medford. There, she studied nail technology, aesthetics and hair design. Eventually that led her to opening her own shop, Colorful McCaw Salon on Baker Street in McMinnville.
While Scarlett never envisioned herself serving as a youth leader—God had other plans. Recently she answered questions about True Vine’s youth group and how it came to be.
How did the group get started?
One day I was talking with [True Vine’s pastor] Dennis and the subject of youth ministry came up. There are not a huge amount of kids in the high school age group at out church but there still needs to be something for them. So after we talked, I prayed about it for three weeks. I was pretty much 100% sure that it was something that God was telling me to do. Even though I never thought of doing something like that. About a month and a half later, we had our first youth meeting.
What is the vision of the group?
To be open to all. “Everyone can belong to the Kingdom [of God].” It doesn’t matter if you are a misfit. The group is a place that all can be a part of and feel like it’s a safe place. Some of the youth come from fractured homes. I want it to be a place that they can call home, that they belong.
Who are we to turn away somebody? I don’t want a kid to feel like they are rejected because they are dealing with stuff. The teen years are hard,” she said.
What is the name of the group?
We are called the Voyagers. Our logo is going to be a compass. We are “voyaging” for biblical truth.
Do you have a theme verse?
I Timothy 4:12 is the group’s theme verse. “Let no one despise you for your youth but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith and in purity.” I asked each of the youth what the verse meant to them. The kids said that we need to be more aware of how we are acting and treating people around us, even if we are young and sometimes do stupid things…our actions make an impact on other people.
For one girl, anger can be a problem. She said she lets it get out of control at times and has realized that if she checks herself and takes a breath, what was bothering her isn’t as big a deal as it seemed to be. Another student said the verse brings to mind the importance of her showing kindness and the spirit of love for other people.
As youth, they realize that they do not have a lot of life experiences, but that it doesn’t mean they don’t have anything to share with others. We all have different experiences, different ages give us different perspectives.
Who can join the group and when does it meet?
High school students, including anyone entering high school in the fall and those who recently graduated are welcome to be part of the group. Right now, we meet on Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the church. And yes, masks are required.
What are some of the fun events and activities the group takes part in?
As a group we have gathered at a local pizza place after football games, visited the Joy Sticks Arcade on Third Street, held a movie night, and spent a night locked in the church where the students enjoyed playing board games, shooting pool and Karaoke.
The youth group collects bottle and cans to raise money, but that is not all we do. We have had a spaghetti feed at the church as well as a cocoa bar at the church’s annual talent show.
How many attend the group?
The group averages about eight each week. Most of the youth attend McMinnville High School.
What does a meeting look like?
Games and prayer. A lot of the kids are not Christians, so we focus on sharing prayer requests and focus on praying for each other. On occasion, we talk about serious issues. Many knew someone who committed suicide last year so we sat down and talked about it, how we were feeling and how we can help other kids to go forward. Wounds are sometimes the best place to witness. I shared some of my history, my struggles with thoughts about suicide as a teen. I talked to them about moments in high school that seem horrible at the time but also gave them hope that things will get better.
What do you love most about the group?
I love that they are all so unique and have a different perspective to offer. A lot of times teens feel like they don’t belong. They come here and they don’t even have to think about that They get to be who they are and hangout and love each other. That is childlike faith, hanging out and loving people. They are all so caring.
“I love that they are all so unique and have a different perspective to offer.”
What is it you believe God wants to accomplish through the group?
These kids have so much hope to offer, they just don’t know how to offer it the right way. They can’t think beyond themselves sometimes. But if they can tap into the hope that God has for them, they will be an unstoppable force in our country, our community.
What do you see going forward?
I would like to expand our ability to help the community, in some way, with more youth programs. In McMinnville, there is a bit of a gap for things for young adults to do, outside of sports at school—what do you do with those kids? One Wednesday night a month we do an art class. We give them a biblical theme and ask them to interpret it with their art. We help them develop a vision for that piece. They don’t have to be crazy good; they can do it just because it’s fun. There is a great need for more youth high school things in the community. It would be cool if we could be part of bringing that to fruition.
For more information contact Scarlett McCaw at 541-326-9307