First, the steady beat of a drum. Then a tambourine. Followed quickly by a cowbell and egg shakers. The sounds lifted through Cunningham's Gerber School on Saturday as youth and adults from six churches participated in our annual Mission Day with Cunningham. It was a chance for them to experience some of the therapeutic activities that are offered to Cunningham youth on a daily basis.
Kyle, the Special Therapies staff who led the drumming circle, encouraged youth from the United Methodist Churches to use different instruments. He led the group in making the sound louder then softer. Adding certain instruments and asking others to stop. After a few minutes of drumming, he asked, "How did that make you feel?"
Some of the youth said, "Great!" or "Part of a team." One teen said, "I felt awkward. I didn't really know what I was doing." Kyle started to talk about those thoughts with the group, helping everyone realize that trying something new can feel difficult at first. Greg, a youth from Cunningham who sat in on the session, encouraged her, "Sometimes you have to be bold and try new things in order to be part of the group. It can be hard, but it's worth it." The group nodded.
Mission Day with Cunningham is all about building community. We invite youth and their leaders to campus to get to know our mission through hands-on activities because we know the benefits of journeying with others who believe in helping those in need. Along the way, we all learn something about each other and find moments to learn about ourselves and grow. Even if that moment comes from within a drumming circle.