As hundreds of teens from all over the province gather this weekend at the All Ontario Youth Convention in Waterloo, five young people will be attending on LOVE dollars from the 2012 convention.
Five-dollar bills stamped with LOVE were placed beneath a cross at the 2012 convention.
At last year’s convention, teens were each given a five-dollar bill stamped with the word LOVE and told to use it to make a difference for Christ. Teens from Maitland River Community Christian Reformed Church in Wingham, Ontario, decided to multiply its effect by pooling the money and holding a baked goods auction. The proceeds—over $1,300—made it possible for five unchurched young people to attend this year’s convention.
The idea came from student leaders of the youth group, who reasoned that it would be hard to do a lot individually with five dollars and wanted to grow it into more. They used it to buy ingredients; all of the young people were encouraged to bake something for the event.
The congregation supported their efforts by donating baked goods and kitchen-related items such as aprons to be auctioned off as well. “Those people there tonight, they were not bidding on baked goods,” said one youth. “They knew that their money was going to help youth build long-lasting relationships with God.”
The five spots have already been booked for this year’s convention, and youth leaders are in contact with several young people who are interested in going.
Youth leader Bill Cooper believes that by giving each young person a five-dollar bill, the convention leadership backed up its challenge to make a difference, no matter how small. “[The auction] likely would not have happened without the LOVE money from last year,” Cooper said. “It was tangible and made them think, ‘What can I do with this?’ They were less likely to forget or ignore the challenge.”