Then & Now: Teen Club to Youth Ministry

by: Al & Carol Ogrodski

When the San Antonio parish was formed, Father Seamus was approached with the concern that a program for the teen community was needed. Frank and JoAnn McGowan, Al and Carol Ogrodski, and Jack and Connie Williams volunteered to organize that program.

Meetings with the teens were held at a local bank community room to define the social, service, and spiritual aspects of what was called the “Teen Club”.

Social activities were important to start with to get the teens to know each other and feel comfortable with the program. Early activities were meetings, parties, and beach trips. Later the activities included dances, hay rides, a broom ball overnight event, horseback riding at the beach, roller skating, skiing, and weekend camping trips to Cedar Lake in Big Bear with Sunday Mass at the Sisters of the Sacred Heart retreat house.

A monthly paper drive service project was decided to provide funding for the program’s financial needs. Support for the San Antonio Fiesta was provided by teens manning game booths. The most popular booth early on was the Dunk Tank where volunteers would enjoy the cool water when dunked. Father Seamus may not admit it but the teens convinced him to sit in the Dunk Tank once! The cost per ball went up significantly. That was enjoyed by everyone. The teens also celebrated Christmas by caroling at several homes for the elderly.

The spiritual aspect of the program included Teen Sunday Masses, participation in the Diocesan Summer Joy programs, and attendance at the Diocesan Religious Conferences. A full adult board was soon formed and teen faith sharing groups in family homes began. The program then developed into the San Antonio Youth Ministry (SAYM) with a paid Youth Minister.