Crockers serve ‘youth family’

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 28, 1999

Last year, Letta Crocker was thinking of stepping down as an active volunteer with Jefferson Street United Methodist Church, letting someone else fill her role there.

Then church officials called her bluff, asking her what she’d rather do with the church. &uot;And I thought, ‘I couldn’t think of a thing I’d rather do,’&uot; she said, laughing.

So she and her husband, John, still serve – along with a number of parents and volunteers like Youth Court Judge John Hudson – as youth coordinators with the United Methodist Youth Fellowship (UMYF). Or, as they call it at Jefferson Street, &uot;the youth family.&uot;

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The couple’s involvement with youth groups began more than 40 years ago when they started helping out with youth activities at a church in Mobile, Ala..

Then, when they moved to Natchez in 1984, they visited different churches and let one of their three children, Rachel, she which one she liked best. She chose Jefferson Street because of its active youth group.

So once again, the Crockers gravitated toward what they loved – working with teens. Now they spend 10 to 30 hours a week on coordinating youth activities, depending on the season.

&uot;It’s almost a full-time job – but one we really enjoy,&uot;&160;John Crocker said.

Youth activities at Jefferson Street include:

n Several retreats and youth conferences a year. The youth are now selling fruit to help finance a trip to Atlanta, Charleston, S.C., and Myrtle Beach, S.C., this summer.

n An annual dinner theater.

n Numerous community service activities, including a week-long missions fest, a clown ministry and Martin Luther King Jr. Service Day.

n Weekly activities such as UMYF fellowship on Sunday nights, Bible study on Wednesday mornings and recreation on Wednesday nights.

The Crockers can often be seen attending the school activities of their youth family.

&uot;You’re sitting there at a game, and it’s like half the football team and half of the cheerleaders are your children,&uot;&160;Letta Crocker said.

The most rewarding thing about working with youth, they said, is getting them involved in church and closer to God, and watching them grow up to be successful.

&uot;That’s where the real reward is,&uot;&160;Letta Crocker said.