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Adventure Awaits: Camp Tekoa 2018!

Adventure Awaits: Camp Tekoa 2018!

WATERSHED SUMMER CAMP AT CAMP TEKOA

Watershed is excited to announce our second year of summer camp experiences for children and students ages 7-17!  Your child is invited to spend a week (or half week depending on age) with us at Camp Tekoa, a beautiful camp nestled in the mountains of Hendersonville, NC. This camp is a beloved summer camp of some of our Watershed GreenHouse/Shed Student leaders not only because they attended the same camp as children, but because they have been sending their own kids there as well for the past few years. We have tested the waters and we know you will love this place!

This Watershed summer camp experience is sure to be unforgettable for your child. Children will get to experience God in the context of nature and enjoy community with their fellow GreenHouse and/or Shed Student friends. Plus they are going to have a ton of fun given all the amenities and activities at Camp Tekoa. From arts and crafts to ziplines, swimming and campfires, adventure awaits your child!

Are you new to the whole camp thing? Never fear! Camp Tekoa offers ways to send your little campers email during their time away and they even have secured photos posted throughout the week so you can follow along with your child's journey!

Although registration will be done directly through Camp Tekoa, we ask that you respond to Watershed Children's Pastor Becky Santoro before registering so we can keep track of which Watershed families are also taking part in camp and help resource you with possible carpooling/transportation and child roommate request opportunities. Fill out this form to express interest and get in touch with her!


WATERSHED CAMP TKO WEEK 8: JULY 29TH-AUGUST 4TH, 2018

MINI CAMP (Ages 7-9): There is an option for first time and young campers to spend just half a week at camp. These shorter sessions give your new camper a taste of everything and might be more cost effective. Cost is $270.
FULL WEEK CAMP (Ages 8-17): This is the classic camp experience. From the thrill of the zipline to various lake activities and other adventures, your elementary student is sure to have an unforgettable experience! Cost is $570. 

A minimum $50 non-refundable and non-transferable deposit by electronic check, Visa, Mastercard, Discover or American Express is required online to reserve a camp session. The full balance for camp must be paid by May 1st, but payments can be made between February and May to make it less of a financial strain.
 

The Potting Shed: Thermostat vs. Thermometer

The Potting Shed: Thermostat vs. Thermometer

By Kristy Yetman, Child Therapist and GreenHouse Volunteer

I believe for every kid who is about to lose it, there’s a parent who is about to do the same.  Some days are beautiful and others can feel brutal.  There is nothing certain about a day with a kid except that you are certain to not have certainty!

All parents know those scenes:  

  • You’ve almost successfully made it through the checkout line at Target without a meltdown when your child reaches for one of the chocolate bars.
  • You have spent the past three hours at the playground and, after giving the 5-minute warning, everything seems to be going according to plan and you might just make it back to the car without issue... but because his brother took his last goldfish your tired and dirty toddler is now a tired and dirty toddler who is also having a tantrum. 
  • Your child is teary-eyed while sitting at the kitchen table because he’s not understanding the science project instructions and it’s due tomorrow.  

I’m sure you could add your own stories with your kid, at any day, and any moment.  One of the things I work on with parents is to help them pay attention to themselves during these moments and notice what is happening inside of them.  Is my heart beating fast?  Is my jaw clenched?  Am I using physical force?  Am I raising my voice in that frustrated tone?  Am I starting to blame my spouse for what’s happening?  

One of the most valuable things I have learned from the research of Dr. Gary Landreth, and something I share with parents all the time, is the metaphor of being a thermostat verses a thermometer.  A thermometer reacts to the temperature around it.  When the temperature goes up, the thermometer goes up.  Thermostats on the other hand respond to the temperature around them and when the temperature changes a thermostat responds in a way that is helpful to the situation.  

Yes, it is one of those things that seems easier to say than practice. There are definitely skills to learn and practice.  When we are able to recognize what is happening inside of us, though, we are able to interfere with the tendency to let the emotions of others dictate the emotions in us.  Just because your child’s emotional temperature is rising, doesn’t mean that your's has to.  You can respond in ways that help regulate your child’s emotions. In other words, your child’s feelings are not your feelings.  

What’s one of those skills for staying calm?  The easiest thing to do and the easiest thing to forget to do:  breathe.  In through your nose and out through your mouth.  Once, twice, however long it takes for you to feel in control of yourself.  

With a calm body, you can respond with a calm mind.

There are lots of other things you can do too. During The Potting Shed series in GreenHouse, the When Big Emotions Can Cause Big Problems session will explore some of the reasons why kids escalate into those big emotions and how parents can respond in the ways that are most helpful. With a few new techniques – and maybe some crossed fingers – when your child comes back to the shopping cart with a Kit Kat bar, you can help them regulate their emotions and understand that it’s almost time for dinner.


THE POTTING SHED

Our next Potting Shed workshop will be a repeat of the topic When Big Emotions Can Cause Big Problems, taught by Kristy YetmanThis session will be held on Sunday, June 25th, from 9:15-10:45AM. Space is limited to 20 participants and the cost is $15 for GreenHouse volunteers/$20 for non-GreenHouse volunteers.

Read what GreenHouse parents are saying about the first session of When Big Emotions Can Cause Big Problems...

This was worth our time. The content was spot on, interactive, and Kristy provided meaningful practices/nuggets of wisdom. Let's do it again soon.
-Rich Robles, GreenHouse parent of 4

Kristy balanced Q&A and presentation of material really well without getting into too many kid-specific situations. It was perfect. Well done!
-Chris Hartter, GreenHouse parent of 2

Volunteer Friday #15

Volunteer Friday #15

WELCOME TO VOLUNTEER FRIDAY!

Every other Friday we take a moment to introduce you to someone in our community who serves in one or more of Watershed's many volunteer areas: GreenHouse/Shed StudentsSunday TeamsCatapultBloc Leading, etc. The featured volunteer will then select someone he/she would like to see highlighted next.

This week, meet David!

DAVID HARRIS

Volunteer Area(s): I play in the both the regular worship band and the GreenHouse band. 

Why did you choose to volunteer in each of your areas?

Before Watershed I was playing in a couple of bands that had broken up. I was complaining one day to Greg Lilley, the drummer in one of those, about not having anywhere to play anymore. He said that had been recruited by this new "church plant” and suggested I give that a shot. Before I really knew what happened I found myself on stage at Actors Theater for the second Sunday of Watershed’s existence. I think I called Matt "Scott" and Scott "Matt" for the first year but eventually I got that squared away. Lots of things have changed since then but I still enjoy playing music here every chance I get. It is a blessing indeed to share the stage and listen to all these wonderful and talented people.  

What has been one of your favorite moments as a volunteer? 

Back in the early days and sometimes even now the band will put itself out there a bit and really showcase our many talented members. Usually as a performer I am too focused to just listen and enjoy. The best moments for me are when I am sitting out there in the crowd watching my friends bring the house down with something unexpected and awesome. Sorry, I really couldn’t pick just one. 

If you could use only one word to describe our Watershed community, what would it be

Family.

Describe your perfect day in Charlotte:

I enjoy Charlotte most when I can get outside and enjoy the great weather. Also, no day can truly be great without good friends and live music. Mix all that up and that is about as good as it gets for me. 

 

NEXT I'D LIKE WATERSHED TO FEATURE ELIZABETH BENFIELD WATSON BECAUSE... She has been quietly serving for Watershed for a quite a while as A Bloc leader, Greeter, and Cafe volunteer. She is a great example of what makes our community special and deserves a little time in the spotlight. 

Volunteer Friday #13

Volunteer Friday #13

WELCOME TO VOLUNTEER FRIDAY!

Every other Friday we take a moment to introduce you to someone in our community who serves in one or more of Watershed's many volunteer areas: GreenHouse/Shed StudentsSunday TeamsCatapultBloc Leading, etc. The featured volunteer will then select someone he/she would like to see highlighted next.

This week, meet Ashlee!

ASHLEE JONES

Volunteer Area(s): Greenhouse (Sprouts!) & I co-lead a Women's Bloc

Why did you choose to volunteer in each of your areas?

I jumped into Sprouts after going through Preface about three years ago to really dig into the community that I was calling home! Being around kids has always been something I enjoyed so it was an easy transition. I got thrown into co-leading the Bloc a couple of years ago with Monica McGuire and it's been quite the adventure!

What has been one of your favorite moments as a volunteer? 

I absolutely adore being in the Sprouts room! That age group is so fun because they are so active and inquisitive but they also just want to snuggle up at times. It's so fun to watch as they grow through the year and we get to be apart of that!

If you could use only one word to describe our Watershed community, what would it be

Comforting.

Describe your perfect day in Charlotte:

Spending the day at the White Water Center! I love that this amazing outdoor space is so close to the city! I love going through the different ropes courses, the zip lines and ending with paddle boarding and relaxing by the river.

 

NEXT I'D LIKE WATERSHED TO FEATURE COURTNEY CRAVEN... BECAUSE SHE'S INCREDIBLE! SHE CO-LEADS A BLOC I AM APART OF AND JUST INSERTS HERSELF INTO THE WATERSHED COMMUNITY WHOLE-HEARTEDLY. PLUS, MANY PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW THAT SHE'S A PRETTY AWESOME SONG WRITER AND VOCALIST. ;) 

POUR OVER: The Next Step

POUR OVER: The Next Step

What would each of our staff members share if we had the chance to sit down with you one-on-one over a cup of coffee? What is God doing in our lives, and how are we personally experiencing transformation and awakening? Pour Over is a blog series by our Watershed staff members answering those very questions. Today we'll hear from Becky Santoro, Watershed's Children's Pastor.


I guess it’s always been there. Always in the background, though. I’d pass a poster with a sign on it or I’d have student in my class who would identify as it. I’d talk about it, try to imagine it, and try to dismiss it. But a few summers ago, the voice got louder and my heart kept saying, “if not you, who?”

So I brought it up over dinner on our tenth wedding anniversary. 

Becoming foster care parents. 

We had just started a full-time business, we had a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old, and I had recently transitioned to a full-time position at Watershed. Our house is tiny… 1,000 square feet. We are still paying off student loans, our family lives thousands of miles away. I could list literally 50 more reasons at least about why this just wasn’t the “right time” for us on paper. But he agreed and a few weeks later we decided to take just one step forward. Just one. And we set a rule for ourselves: if at any point we decided “not now” or “no”, we’d give ourselves a ton of grace and turn back. 

Just one step at a time. That’s it.

So we went to an informational class. And we didn’t talk the whole time. And then we sat in the car and we were still silent.

“Well?” I finally said.

“It’s time to take another step, don’t you think?” he said.

“Yep.”

And that’s how the next 10 months went. 

One step.

Then the next one.

It was the classes, the paperwork, the conversations, the inviting of our closest friends to bear witness to the process and give their perspectives, the background checks, and the home inspections.

In all of it, we didn’t move away from that “next step thinking”. Each time we tried to live just in that step… not overthinking or forward planning too much. It allowed us to just be where we were and to stay mentally present. When a new decision needed to be made, we wouldn’t think beyond that one decision.

It was really freeing in a way. Our “next step thinking” took the pressure off knowing all the answers and we found that it allowed us to stay grounded and rooted into what we both felt was best with the knowledge we had at the time. It took six months until we found ourselves fully licensed foster care parents.

Maybe there’s something inside your heart or gut that keeps coming up. It might not make any sense to you on paper and you can easily sweep it under the rug, but in the quiet spaces of your mind, it lives. 

There is so much power that exists in taking just one step… especially when you can figure it out as you go, allowing yourself to take your time and live within each new step fully. Maybe today is the day you finally take that step. Don’t overthink it. Just one step, friends.

Or maybe you’ve taken a step… several, even… but that next step would mean you’d have to let go of something. Perhaps to the known, secure, comfortable way of life, or even a past belief. You’re not sure if you’re ready for that quite yet. Grace upon grace, friends.

On July 21st, 2016, our next step was the final home inspection. Less than a hour later we received the call (side note: If you ever wondered if there was a need for foster care parents here in Charlotte, I believe you just found your answer).

“Baby girl, one year old. Local to Charlotte. Will you take her?”

Our next step was saying yes. 

Literally overnight we became a family of five. Now we’ve been saying yes for 258 days and counting. It has been redemptive, exhausting, transformational, frustrating, beautiful, disruptive, fulfilling, complicated, joyful, and messy all at the same time. But it has also shifted. We no longer have the power to take a “next step.” We’re on the same step with no clear timeline or outcome in sight.

We are waiting.

It’s hard to stay in the “next step thinking” when you don’t have control over it, right? 

Maybe there is something that has you in a holding pattern… you’ve been there for awhile and you feel frozen. It’s out of your control with no “next step” in sight. There may never be if you’re honest.

Or maybe you are faced with taking the next step knowing there is a real possibility that it won’t breathe the outcome you hope for, and you’re wondering if it’s worth the risk.

Or maybe the next step was decided for you.

I’m there too.

We aren’t sure if or when she will leave us. We’re not sure if a day in the future will include us packing her bags for uniting/reuniting with members of her family, or if it will include joining our family permanently. Either way, it will be a celebration. Either way, there will be bittersweet tears. But right now, there is no next step. It’s just the waiting. 

And so I wait on this step and I am trying to learn how to become more self-aware in this season when my mind and soul are weary for answers and outcomes. I try to visualize myself physically planting my feet down and dwelling within this step, JUST within today, in this moment, in this tiny house as a temporary or permanent family of 5.

So… What is God doing in my life, and how am I personally experiencing transformation and awakening? 

He’s teaching me that He’s in the “one steps” with me.

He’s in the waiting and we’re co-creating this story together. 

He's showing me what real living looks like… it’s not in the huge shifts but in the everyday, right-now life.

It’s simple, it’s holy, and it’s hard work to stay put in a moment of time. So I dwell there, with Him. 

These days I’m taking notice of my breath, my habits, and my triggers, trying to become more aware of myself and His presence when I want to jump off of the step or rush ahead to find out how this story will end. And I’m reaching out to my people, the ones standing there with me, reminding me that this story is all of ours, too.

Today, may you take a step forward into your life and discover more of your true self in the process. May it include walking into someone elses brokenness and finding that this was meant for the redemption of your own brokenness as well. May you have people around you who can root for you and remind you that they’re standing on the step with you. 

And may you feel His presence and Spirit in the waiting like you’ve never felt before.

 

P.S. If we actually did sit down for coffee there are five things I could promise you:

  1. There will be smashed goldfish crackers in my coat pocket. 
  2. I’ll have a random sock in my purse.
  3. This will be my 4th cup of coffee.
  4. There'll be snot on my pants… exactly at the height of a 3-year-old.
  5. I won’t do small talk very long. Let’s get right into the heart. 

Now that we've got that out of the way, welcome. Let’s chat.

In case our journey to foster care spurred some questions about the process, maybe your first step is to just click HERE and learn more about it: http://charmeck.org/mecklenburg/county/dss/adopt/howto/Pages/FosterHomeLicensing.aspx 

Adventure Awaits!

Adventure Awaits!

WATERSHED SUMMER CAMPS AT CAMP TEKOA

Watershed is excited to announce our first SUMMER CAMP experiences for children and students ages 7-17!  Your child is invited to spend a week (or half week depending on age) with us at Camp Tekoa, a beautiful camp nestled in the mountains of Hendersonville, NC. This camp is a beloved summer camp of some of our Watershed GreenHouse/Shed Student leaders not only because they attended the same camp as children, but because they have been sending their own kids there as well for the past few years. We have tested the waters and we know you will love this place!

This Watershed summer camp experience is sure to be unforgettable for your child. Children will get to experience God in the context of nature and enjoy community with their fellow GreenHouse and/or Shed Student friends. Plus they are going to have a ton of fun given all the amenities and activities at Camp Tekoa. From arts and crafts to ziplines, swimming and campfires, adventure awaits your child!

Are you new to the whole camp thing? Never fear! Camp Tekoa offers ways to send your little campers email during their time away and they even have secured photos posted throughout the week so you can follow along with your child's journey!

Although registration will be done directly through Camp Tekoa, we ask that you first respond to Watershed Camp Coordinator Tracy Strickland before registering so we can inform you of which other Watershed families are also taking part in camp on the same dates and help resource you with possible carpooling/transportation and child roommate request opportunities. Tracy is an experienced Camp Tekoa and GreenHouse parent and is happy to answer your questions! Fill out this form by February 1st to express interest and get in touch with her!


WATERSHED CAMP TEKOA WEEKS FOR ALL AGES

  1. WEEK 1: June 25-July 1
  2. WEEK 2: July 30-August 5

ELEMENTARY STUDENTS

AGES 7-9:  CHOICE OF WEEK 1 OR 2

MINI CAMP: There is an option for first time and young campers to spend just half a week at camp (either Sunday-Wednesday or Wednesday-Saturday). These shorter sessions give your new camper a taste of everything and might be more cost effective. 

Cost of mini camp is $270.

AGES 8-11: CHOICE OF WEEK 1 OR 2

FULL WEEK CAMP: Session runs Sunday-Saturday. This is the classic camp experience. From the thrill of the zipline to various lake activities and other adventures, your elementary student is sure to have an unforgettable experience! 

Cost of full week camp (called TKO for Tekoa Overnight Camp) $540.


MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS

AGES 11-14: CHOICE OF WEEK 1 OR 2

This full week (Sunday-Saturday) camp experience will engage your middle school student and activities will include a slip-n-slide, canoeing, a waterfall trip, a mud pit and lots of adventure. Currently we have two students from MSB Bloc signed up for Week 1 in case your middle school student would like to join in with that group! 


HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS

AGES 14-17: CHOICE OF WEEK 1 OR 2

This is full week (Sunday-Saturday) camp experience will engage your high school student and activities will include ziplines, mudpits, canoeing, rafting, campfires, a service project and much more adventure. 


To learn more about Camp Tekoa, visit the Camp Tekoa website.

Volunteer Friday #4

Volunteer Friday #4

WELCOME TO VOLUNTEER FRIDAY!

Every other Friday we take a moment to introduce you to someone in our community who serves in one or more of Watershed's many volunteer areas: GreenHouse/Shed StudentsSunday TeamsCatapultBloc Leading, etc. The featured volunteer will then select someone he/she would like to see highlighted next.

This week, meet Adam!

ADAM DESAUTELS

Volunteer Area(s): Greenhouse: currently in Redwoods, but I have served in every area except Sprouts. Former Rove leader and Bloc leader, but having kids and going to grad school, I have had to step back from those areas for a time!

Why did you choose to volunteer in your areas? 

I believe that there are many expressions of faith in our community and providing opportunities to meet God in unexpected places has driven me to go where I am called.  

In Rove, people new to Watershed have often sought to experience nature and have a communal experience that isn't as focused on the core doctrine of a church. There are opportunities to see who we are in action without being super committed to a weekly Bloc full of people you've never met.

In leading a Bloc for men, I found a calling to come around some brothers and study our faith and challenge each other to grow. I think it is important for people to experience a relational Bloc or two before really getting into the nuts and bolts of how you personally can strive to be a better steward for Jesus.

Finally, Greenhouse is something I have done since before I had kids. It provides me with joy to see our kids having a faith experience that is truly special and different from what I knew as a kid. We have a lot of great people who want these kids to know they are loved by God and their community. I typically want to go where I am needed most, now that I have kids I actually want them to experience what our volunteers offer without it coming from mom or dad. I feel like this reinforces the good news that they are so loved!

What has been one of your favorite moments as a volunteer? 

I can only pick one?! I would have to say I have been floored by many of our kids as they find their voices and let us into their worlds. Just last week, there was a brother and sister who helped demonstrate Jesus' servitude by washing his disciples feet. They did this despite other kids calling it gross! It gives me such hope to see that kind of character in our kids.

If you could use only one word to describe our Watershed community, what would it be?

Nomadic. Seriously, we move more than someone in the military (if you can't tell by now I am a jokester!). Fruitful. The kids keep piling into GreenHouse and they ain't comin' from storks!

That's two words, Adam! But we love you, so we'll let it go! ;)

Describe your perfect day in Charlotte.

Sundays are family days for my family. We try to do things together with intention. I am always down for Watershed (of course), chores, hanging out with friends, the next honey-do project, or some crazy parental activity like Carowinds. Sometimes, I get to go out Saturday night and catch a band and hit up the diamond for a burger. I'd say that's probably the perfect lead into a Sunday because good music can recharge your soul.

 

NEXT TIME I’D LIKE WATERSHED TO FEATURE TONY SANTORO BECAUSE… HE'S ALWAYS BEHIND THE SCENES VOLUNTEERING 40 WEEKS IN A ROW SO YOUR KIDS GET LOVED ON. I ADMIRED HIM STEPPING UP THIS SUMMER TO GIVE SOME VOLUNTEERS A BREAK AND I BET WE'LL LEARN SOMETHING WE DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT HIM... 

Volunteer Friday #3

Volunteer Friday #3

WELCOME TO VOLUNTEER FRIDAY!

Every other Friday we take a moment to introduce you to someone in our community who serves in one or more of Watershed's many volunteer areas: GreenHouse/Shed StudentsSunday TeamsCatapultBloc Leading, etc. The featured volunteer will then select someone he/she would like to see highlighted next.

This week, meet Mary!

MARY SHELBY

Volunteer Area(s): Greenhouse (Evergreens & Redwoods), Catapult (Girls on the Run Coach at Byers)

Why did you choose to volunteer in your areas? 

I always feel more connected to a community when I'm actively participating in it. When I first started coming to Watershed, Greenhouse seemed like the perfect way to do that. Plus we have great kids, who are so much fun to teach! I became involved with Girls on the Run on a whim, after I received an email asking if anyone had any weekday afternoons open. Since becoming a coach 2 1/2 years ago, it has easily become my favorite part of the week. It also opened my eyes to a part of Charlotte that I was ignoring. Being thrown into this new environment has given me a whole new perspective on this city I call home.  

What has been one of your favorite moments as a volunteer? 

My favorite moment probably has been the relationships I've developed as a GOTR coach. I have a couple students who I've coached since 3rd grade, that are now in 5th. It's been a real privilege to get to know these girls and walk beside them as they grow up. I had no idea that I would feel so changed by this experience, and I'm so grateful for it.   

If you could use only one word to describe our Watershed community, what would it be?

Generous. I feel like the Watershed community is so generous with their time. I love meeting new people at Watershed and hearing about all the different ways they are either plugged in or giving back to our community. It's really refreshing to hear about all the different ways people are owning our church.  

Describe your perfect day in Charlotte.

My perfect day in Charlotte would be a sunny fall day, in the 70's, where I would walk my dogs to Freedom Park, meet up with friends to watch the Panthers win, then head to a couple breweries, eat dinner on Sir Ed's patio, and be home in bed with Netflix on by 9.  

 

NEXT TIME I’D LIKE WATERSHED TO FEATURE ADAM DESAUTELS BECAUSE… OVER THE YEARS I'VE BEEN ABLE TO SEE HIM POUR INTO THE KIDS IN GREENHOUSE AND SEE THE IMPACT HE'S HAD ON THEM!

November News From GreenHouse

November News From GreenHouse

GREENHOUSE DESIRES TO PLANT SOLID ROOTS FOR WATERSHED'S KIDS.

Our GreenHouse kids ministry has several pieces of exciting news this month! Scroll through below to learn more about the next teaching series for our elementary schoolers, an awesome new addition to the GreenHouse webpage, and daily serving opportunities designed to help your little ones cultivate gratitude and compassion throughout the month!


NEW SERIES: POEMS, PARABLES, & ME

In the same way that our adults follow a sermon series upstairs, our elementary school students are learning thematically downstairs as well! Last month our kids wrapped up the MADE series, and now they're moving on to a study called Poems, Parables, & Me. 

Stories. They Inform us. Inspire us. Change us. Teach us. Join us in GreenHouse (K-5th grade) for a new unit where we explore the stories of the Bible using the beautiful poetry of the Psalms and the metaphoric truths buried within Jesus' parables. Through the exploration of these stories our hope is that kids will grow in their awareness of God's story and the one they are co-creating with Him. Weaved into our experience together will be discovering new ways to pray and reflect as we build a deeper connection within our small groups. 

Sunday Mornings throughout November & January
December lessons will focus on Advent & Christmas
Service Times: 9:15AM & 11:00AM
Click Here for Location


ONLINE LESSON PLANS

We are so excited to announce that GreenHouse lessons plans are now available online for every classroom! Lesson plans for the upcoming Sunday should be posted by Friday each week, and older plans will be archived. 

Click the icons below to view lesson plans for each age group: Seedlings (6 weeks-24 months), Sprouts (24-36 months), Diggers (3-5 years), and Evergreens & Redwoods (K-5 students).


#GIVETHANKSGREENHOUSE

Follow GreenHouse on Facebook and Instagram for a daily service idea each day throughout the month of November! Use the #GiveThanksGreenHouse hashtag to capture your family's moments of serving and follow the journeys of other GreenHouse families as they cultivate gratitude and show love around our city! 


Learn more about GreenHouse's vision for our community's kids here.
Email Children's Pastor Becky Santoro for further information: becky@watershedcharlotte.com. 

Volunteer Friday #2

Volunteer Friday #2

 

Welcome to Volunteer Friday!

Every other Friday we take a moment to introduce you to someone in our community who serves in one or more of Watershed's many volunteer areas: GreenHouse/Shed StudentsSunday TeamsCatapultBloc Leading, etc. The featured volunteer will then select someone he/she would like to see highlighted next.

This week, meet Hannah!

 Hannah and her husband, Will

Hannah and her husband, Will

Hannah Rice

Volunteer Area(s): GreenHouse, Catapult

Why did you choose to volunteer in your areas? 

Service is a really important part of how I feel connected to Charlotte. It's so easy to feel disconnected in such a big place and serving allows me to connect more deeply with people. So, serving at Watershed seemed like a great way to get involved and get to know people in our faith community better. I love the controlled chaos of the Diggers classroom and am constantly inspired by their creativity and imagination!  

“Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” - MLK Jr. 

What has been one of your favorite moments as a volunteer? 

One of my favorite moments was when I was helping coach Girls on the Run several years ago. I told a girl that I ran so slow I might as well be walking backwards. The girl looked at me and said... "Ms. Hannah that's a hyperbole, you run just fine!" That's what GOTR is all about - building each other up! To this day I call all sorts of stuff hyperboles when I'm faced with self-doubt or negative talk in my head. Just further proof that I get more than I give when I serve. 

If you could use only one word to describe our Watershed community, what would it be?

Embracing

Describe your perfect day in Charlotte.

First I would have a nice leisurely breakfast at home in the backyard. Then a bike ride to Inner Peaks to do some rock climbing followed by some lunch and a beer at Olde Meck. Then ride to Freedom Park where I would take time to read and take a nap in my hammock. Dinner at Macs Speedshop. Dessert is S'mores on the fire in the backyard. This of course is all taking place on that perfect Charlotte crisp fall day. 

 

Next time I’d like Watershed to feature Mary Shelby because… she is a rockstar! Not only does she lead in Greenhouse but she also coaches girls on the run! Such commitment and she does it all with a smile and positive attitude! She brightens the GreenHouse hall!

GreenHouse Training Day

GreenHouse Training Day

GreenHouse exists to plant seeds and cultivate hearts through the lens of Jesus. It’s our hope that by the time a child leaves 5th grade they have a firm sense that God created them, that His spirit is everywhere, that we are connected to Him and others, and that justice is the heartbeat of humanity.

In order to plant these deep roots of identity, awareness, connection, and justice it takes a special group of volunteers who know how vital GreenHouse is to the growth of our littlest Watershedders!

To say that Children’s Director Becky Santoro loves her team of GreenHouse Volunteer Leaders would be an understatement! Gathering together a few Saturdays ago for a training and celebration, the team kicked off with an epic lip-sync battle (Jimmy Fallon would be so proud) and ended with pizza and a healthy competition of who knows which child developmental phase the best.

Sprinkled throughout the three hours were conversations of the new and continuing initiatives in GreenHouse. The time also allowed for reflection about how the way we viewed God as children has shaped us as adults today.... and our hopes of what a future GreenHouse graduate would say when faced with the same question one day.

When 30+ people take 3 hours out of a Saturday to learn and grow together we know we are in for an epic year. Thank you volunteers for all you have done and continue to do for our community’s children!

To learn more about GreenHouse, Watershed's Sunday morning experience for kids ages six weeks through 5th grade, email Becky.

 

Volunteer Friday #1

Volunteer Friday #1

Welcome to our very first edition of Volunteer Friday!

Every other Friday we're going to introduce you to someone in our community who serves in one or more of Watershed's many volunteer areas: GreenHouse/Shed Students, Sunday Teams, CatapultBloc Leading, etc. The featured volunteer will then select someone he/she would like to see highlighted next.

This week we're kicking it off by breaking the rules... we'd like to introduce you to TWO volunteers instead of just one! Meet Kristy Yetman and Stephanie Costas. Kristy and Stephanie have served in GreenHouse together for EIGHT YEARS. This year they moved up to co-lead the Evergreens Classroom (K-1st Grade) to support GreenHouse's model of small groups and continue deepening relationships with the kids they've grown to love. GreenHouse Director Becky Santoro says, "Kristy and Stephanie have written curriculum for us, continually support families, and embody the mission of GreenHouse so well!" 

Without further ado, meet Kristy and Stephanie!

 Kristy (left) and Stephanie with Stephanie's daughters

Kristy (left) and Stephanie with Stephanie's daughters

Kristy Yetman

Volunteer Area(s): Greenhouse Evergreens Team Leader, Bloc Leading, Catapult Tutoring at Byers

Why did you choose to volunteer in GreenHouse?

I remember the adults who poured into my spiritual development as a child and chose to spend time in a classroom teaching us their understanding of the scriptures.  I love being able to foster such an ancient act of passing on what has been learned from the generation before.  

What has been one of your favorite moments as a GreenHouse volunteer?

My favourite moments are when the apprehensive new kids come for the first time and end up not wanting to leave because they had such a great time! :)

If you could use only one word to describe our Watershed community, what would it be?

Open

Describe your perfect day in Charlotte.

Any day I can spend with my husband Des. 

 

Stephanie Costas

Volunteer Area(s): GreenHouse Evergreens Team Leader, Catapult Staff Pal

Why did you choose to volunteer in GreenHouse?

I started volunteering in GH after my first daughter was born.  I wanted my daughters to grow up seeing their dad and me giving of our time to our church community.  It has since become a steady rhythm in our lives.  There are so many adults investing in my kids' lives, and I am willing to invest in other kids' lives as well.  The kids that I get to work with in GH are amazing and so much fun!

What has been one of your favorite moments as a Greenhouse volunteer? 

Oh man!  There is no way I could choose one moment.  Every week there is something that happens... a conversation where a light bulb goes on, a comment that makes me laugh, a new connection formed, or a hug with a kid... all which make serving in Greenhouse filled with lots of favorite moments.

If you could use only one word to describe our Watershed community, what would it be?

Big-hearted

Describe your perfect day in Charlotte.

With my kids or without them?!  The perfect day would start with yoga and a juice, then involve some outdoor time working in the garden, food from Viva Chicken or Luna's Living Kitchen, going to the park with the kids and hubby, and end with laughs and conversation with my family and friends around a campfire. 

 

Next time we'd like see Hannah Rice featured because she has done a awesome job in the Diggers classroom (3-5 year olds) of Greenhouse this past year, and she recently stepped up to fill the Diggers Team Leader role. She also volunteers her time as a Byers tutor!   

 

 

A Place Where the Ground Can Hold Us

A Place Where the Ground Can Hold Us

By Becky Santoro, Watershed Children's Pastor

On Sunday I shared my stories of a childhood place I call my Green Pastures (named after Psalm 23). My Green Pastures was a place where I was so intricately connected to my soul and to God’s presence. I talked freely to Him and danced with Him in the wind. It was my magical place. My secret place. My safe place. Until one day…

I lost my child-like eyes.

If you weren’t in the audience, it may be helpful to stop reading and listen HERE for some context before your continue on. 

My hope is that, as a community, our lives can be an attempt to regain child-like eyes in a messy, broken world. To turn cul-de-sacs into places of worship and to physically be the Green Pastures in the injustice you see around you.

Some days are harder to see Green Pastures than others, but it’s the best place I have known where to be planted. Come with me. Spend your days catching glimpses of the softness of His spirit within your everyday moments and be reminded that God can meet you anywhere.

Even in the getting older. 

Even in the pain. 

Even in the anger. 

Even in the injustice.

Even in the mundane. 

Even in the transition. 

Even in the brokenness. 

Even in the deep grief.

These things can swallow you up and disillusion you, can’t they? They can make you turn everything into a cul-de-sac or they can ground you and root you into real living… where you notice the Green Pastures in the simple things around you and you find chances to be a part of creating the Green Pastures for others. It can make you rise up from the ashes and be a part of heaven on earth. The here and not yet.

What I’ve come to realize is when I stand on my broken Green Pastures filled with grief or when I embody Green Pastures for others, it allows me to carry someone’s grief-stricken heart inside my own.

When I don’t rush past the pain, I am able to be a guide because I’ve honored and walked on that Green Pastures before.

 I chose to sit down.

 That allows my heart to break all over again.

And I’ll do this again and again as many times as I can…as long as I have this breath.

This is real living.

Find your real and metaphorical Green Pastures. Embody it for others. And sit down in your broken ones. Grief is holy ground. Your Shepherd is safe.

Your stories will become the most sacred place and holy ground for others along the way if you bring them to the light. It is the fertile soil of a Green Pastures.

And above all, I hope you know deep in your soul…

You are not forgotten. 


 PS - What I didn’t know is that the exact DAY I sat down and wrote the first draft of my talk… my mom had written about my Green Pastures 25 years earlier in her journal. May 17th. She sent me pictures of the diary recently and I almost fell out of my chair. Reading her words now as a mom myself and after just putting pen to paper to these memories is beautiful and priceless to me.

May 17th, 1991

Dear Becky,

Last night you took me to the “Green Pastures”…this silly cul-de-sac in our neighborhood. At this time of your life, you are showing me that you share my intensity for life and for the Lord. A part of me wishes you won’t have to experience the intense pain that you will ultimately have to feel. But, I know that you’ll feel the joy in your life just as intensely and I believe that its God’s way of making it up to us. I pray you will always have such a fierce devotion for God… You talk to God about everything. Thank you for that.

So, I’m not surprised that you find “Green Pastures.” You need them as much as I do. A place of rest and peace- a time of reflection on God and His beauty, a “hiding place.” It’s so comforting there, you’ll bring others. Some of these others will love it as you do- most will fail to see its merit. It’ll break your heart that they’re missing out- that they can’t see the value. But, oh little one, allow no one to steal your vision! Hold onto your Green Pastures! Experience it to its fullest. Eat and lay down satisfied as the Psalms say. I’ll go with you. I understand. Thank God, there’s you. I love you, Mom.