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 four column by Baeverstad is below.
This week the team traveled to Alamogordo, N. M. This is the only out of state trip that was scheduled and it proved to be an amazing experience. Holloman Air Force Base sponsored the team to come out for the week and their hospitality was incredible. The team was fortunate enough to visit the base on several occasions and get special tours of the base! This provided for incredible experiences in between teaching. We definitely tried to make the most out of our out-of-state trip.
One of the most exciting parts about this week was that the majority of the kids that attended had never been to Totus Tuus before. This allowed the Lord to work in many ways in which we had yet to experience this summer. All of the songs, skits and even a lot of the lessons were new concepts for the kids. The excitement of something new and having a team of “foreigners” (from Colorado) energized the kids on a level that was astonishing. Often, the team had a hard time to get the attention of the group. This was not because of their lack of interest, but rather their genuine happiness and eagerness about practicing and learning their faith. Their passion to learn about the faith was apparent in the way they would go about every day. The first day at Mass it seemed as if not a single kid out of the almost 50 attending knew a single Mass response. By the end of the week, it was as if they were well-seasoned veterans. This was truly heart-warming. It was also apparent at the potluck that the Lord was working with more than just the kids. Several parents came up to us at the end of the days thanking us for reminding them of the importance of the faith. The Lord used this week to call the community to a deeper relationship with him. We were so blessed to experience this transformation.
In our night program, we also experienced great growth. Not only was there a spiritual growth but a physical growth. Every night, the program grew because everyone was so excited about what was happening that they would invite their friends. The spiritual growth we witnessed was incredible to watch. Throughout the week, the teens began to start seeking out their faith. The questions they would ask of us became much more than surface level and it was obvious that they were beginning to search for the truth. I was so impressed by the development I observed in them this week and it was a true blessing to be a part of their journey.
Heading into our weeklong break, there is definitely a feeling of exhaustion but also a sense of accomplishment of assisting the Lord in his mission. The first half of Totus Tuus has been nothing short of amazing and I am looking forward to what the Lord has planned for the second half of the summer.
Brett Baeverstad is a native of Fort Collins who is studying biomedical engineering at Colorado State University. This is his first summer teaching Totus Tuus. When he’s not studying, he enjoys spending time on the golf course, shooting hoops, skiing and doing anything outside where he can enjoy beautiful Colorado.