Two young adults—Brett Baeverstad and Summer Swisher—who are working as teachers in the youth summer program Totus Tuus being offered at parishes across the Denver Archdiocese, are writing a weekly blog about their experiences for the Denver Catholic Register. The week three column by Swisher is below.
As we travel throughout all of Colorado, the Lord continues to show my team and me the beauty of the Church. After leaving Boulder, we headed to Denver to Blessed Sacrament Church. There, God revealed the beauty in the small things in life and the beauty of simplicity. The week (June 16-20) was full of little blessings that touched my heart in huge ways!
The daytime program was exciting. About 25 kids—a smaller group than previous weeks—attended and it was wonderful getting to know each of them a little better. Although we thought the energy would be hard to maintain through the week because of the smaller group, the kids proved us wrong. We had so much fun teaching, performing skits and singing with them.
The curriculum for the programs each week remains the same—the Ten Commandments and the luminous mysteries of the rosary—but class is never mundane. At some points I wonder: are these kids learning anything or are they listening at all? Each day, however, they surprise me by asking profound questions. This is one of the many beauties of a child’s heart! Their desire to know and search for truth, and the profound trust they have in us to impart the truth about God, are beautiful.
The evening program with the middle school and high school kids was great, too. On the first night just three kids attended. This was different from what we were used to. But once again the small group allowed us to receive big graces. Our team was able to build a closer relationship with the teens. We approached our talks in a different manner, which enabled us to get to know the kids better. These conversations were really beautiful and helped each of us teachers to understand ourselves a little better, too. Games we played brought us back to our childhood—games like groundies, knock out, signs and foursquare. On the last night my teammate Charlie turned away from the basketball hoop, basketball in hand while standing midway down the court, and said that if he made the basket, we would go get ice-cream. He shot the ball without looking—and he made it! It was so sweet and led to much laughter.
These conversations, games and being with one another brought much joy. In this littleness and in having childlike hearts we discovered a deeper intimacy with one another and with God.
Summer Swisher, 21, is a recent graduate of the University of Colorado in Boulder. She earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology with a minor in dance and a minor in religious studies. She loves Jesus, people and dance. This is her first year teaching Totus Tuus, for which she feels honored and blessed.