Phil Parsons serves as the Community Director of Club Beyond at Ft. Stewart in Airfield, GA, alongside his wife, Amy. The following is an excerpt from their monthly newsletter.
During the last Club of the semester, our students had the opportunity to share about the impact of Club this past year. Here is what they had to say:
"The definition of Club: an organization dedicated to a particular interest or activity. Beyond: at, or, to the further side of. Together, Club Beyond is an organization that is dedicated to God and we go way further than before. In seventh grade, I came to Club on and off and I didn't get the full meaning of Club Beyond. But now, in eighth grade, I get it. Club is for us. They have become my second family." - Isabella C. - Stewart MS student
"At first I felt it would be the same as any other youth group with cliques, popular kids, and so forth, but here everyone is the same. They love you regardless and accept you for who you are no matter what. No matter your faith we all come together regardless of your denomination. Originally I thought I would not fit in and get odd looks or treated differently because I was Catholic but quite the opposite occurred. We all work toward growing in our faith backgrounds right where you are. Plus, I don't know how he does it, but every week this year, I felt like Mr. Phil's talks were directly for me. It was like he could reach my mind and talk into what I was going through." - Riley O. - Stewart HS student
"I am more inclined to read and dig into God's Word regularly because of this year's talks and Bible studies each week." - Nico G. - Hunter MS student
"Until Club, I had been bullied for a long time based on how I looked[. I] tried to fit in and even my family didn't really understand me. Club gets me and accepts me for who I am and I love it here." - Kenzie W. - Hunter MS student
"Because of my time here and with Club, I have become the young woman God has inspired me to be. My experience with the passing of my grandpa and then attending summer camp the first time brought me to the place to forgive myself and removing regret of not spending enough time with my grandpa before his passing. Club this past year has shown me a new way of God's love[. H]ow can we not be moved by a God that loves us SO much that he sent us His Son?" - Melissa G. - Stewart HS student
"A year ago, I was drinking heavily and in the past year, I have stopped from that way of life because of Club." - Christian H. - Hunter HS student
"When I first started coming, I didn't really want to be here. I remember first meeting Mr. Phil when I came for the first time. I ended up missing a lot of weeks but still Mr. Phil was there and he remembered my name from the time I first came. He still treated me as I am loved and that I belonged here. Who does that kind of thing!?" - Hasaan W. - Stewart MS student
"Club Beyond has helped me in a lot of ways. It has helped me better with understanding the Bible and the basic stories. Club has taught me how to display virtues in real life scenarios. Another way Club Beyond has helped me is with deployment. Right now my dad is stationed in Romania and Club has helped me stay calm and not worry so much about the days when he is gone. Lastly, Club has helped me meet new people around [my] age that understand what I am going through!" - Ella W. - Hunter MS student
"At Club, Mr. Phil and the other leaders care about your interests and you personally, instead of forcing you to be interested in what they are interested in. This place leads us to do what we are passionate about - that's home. The leaders love to see God's talents of who you are supposed to be." - Matt M. - Stewart HS student
"Until coming to Club, I always thought I was doing worship wrong. I felt like I couldn't ever get it right. Now I know I am worshipping God in the way He desires for me. I used to doubt myself and who I was until I came to Club and now I am not afraid to be who I am." - Shelby H. - Stewart HS student
To say that we were speechless would be a desperate understatement. Our teens have been impacted and feel as if they're part of a family. It's God's family to them. It's home. Just as many teens have shared with leaders and others:
"Somehow Mr. Phil just knows when life is crumbling and he can look past it all and show you that you matter to someone and God."
Our teens matter. Although this part of the year is a sad one with farewells and memories of the school year together, they gathered in a place and shared how their lives have changed. Each one of you who are ministry partners through your prayers and your finances are a part of this change. We thank you. We are humble to hear what God has done in and through this past year. Continue to pray for us in the next season of summer and for the next harvest of teens to call this place - home.
~ Phil & Amy