Staff Blogger: Lexie Digby, Marketing & Graphic Design Manager

On Tuesday, Aug. 15, the Lakeside Men’s Bible Study Group is hoping to help create connections that could change lives.

The men are partnering with the Ottawa County United Way and their program ‘Til Next Time (TNT) to offer area youth and mentors a day to remember at Lakeside.

The Men’s Bible Study Group, who meets every Tuesday during the summer, collectively had an interest of putting their faith into action.

“This interest we had collided with some things we learned about the area,” said Bob Brymer, member of the Men’s Bible Study Group. “Forty-eight percent of students in Ottawa County are on a free or reduced lunch plan, which to us said that there are great opportunities here to serve and to put our faith into action.”Brymer and Randy Donithan contacted Chris Galvin, Area Director of the United Way in Ottawa County, and discussed options for outreach. Brymer and Donithan took these options back to the group and they elected to sponsor a day for the TNT program.

Lakeside will host approximately 50 pairs of middle school aged children and mentors (which are already paired through the TNT program) and provide them with exposure to the four Chautauqua pillars. The kids and mentors will be broken up into groups that will rotate between shuffleboard, miniature golf and the beach area.

John Willkie will provide a shortened version of his Middle Grade Madness (MGM) program, lunch will be served, and they will all receive a T-shirt as a souvenir from their day at Lakeside. Lakeside will also provide the mentors with a pair of Daily Chautauqua Passes so they can return with their mentees another time this summer.

Additionally, after being introduced to Lakeside by a senior staff member upon their arrival, they will be escorted into Hoover Auditorium for a look around the historic building, as well as a viewing of a Lakeside Symphony Orchestra rehearsal.

“We want to show them that Lakeside isn’t just a summer resort,” said Donithan. “But that we care very deeply about the community we reside in. This is an attempt to build a bridge between the Lakeside and Ottawa County communities.”

Each rotating group will be accompanied by representatives of the Men’s Bible Study Group, as well as a younger staff member.

“We want to provide them with somebody that can really relate to them, since our younger days have passed us by,” said Brymer.

“Somebody that seems more tangible to them can provide a testimony of their Lakeside story and maybe even tell them how they ended up with a job at Lakeside. This could result in real opportunities for these kids.”

Brymer and Donithan said the ultimate goal of this day is to show the mentors and children Christ’s love in a new way, and not just to show Lakeside off as an interesting place.

The Men’s Bible Study Group, which was started by Jim Kettlewell seven years ago, has taken the lead on organizing this project with the support of the Lakeside Chautauqua staff. Lakeside will be covering the cost of the activities, the lunches and the T-shirts.

“Who knows what the impact might be,” Brymer said. “Short-term or long-term, if we can play a role in a brighter future for just one kid, it’s got to be worth it.”