The following was written by Fayetteville Ozone Director, Ricky Shade.
Working with youth of all ages, I’m accustomed to initiating events for students. However, it was on Wednesday, September 26th that I was able to witness students that care about coming together for a cause and being the ones to take the initiative. The cause? It was the 22nd Annual See You At The Pole (SYATP) Rally. SYATP is a completely student-initiated, student-organized and student-led event where students come together at schools all over the country to pray.
According to www.syatp.com, there were more than 56,000 students on 1,200 campuses in Texas and three other states at the first See You at the Pole Rally in September of 1990. Since then, students all over the country have gathered on the fourth Wednesday of September to pray together.
In addition to student participation, others are allowed to attend if a student of that school invites them. A few weeks ago, Fayetteville co-director, Alyssa Hanson, and I were invited to West Fork High School’s SYATP Rally by one of our Summit students, Baylea Cantrell. Baylea is a senior at West Fork who has been attending Ozone and Camp War Eagle since they began.
Not knowing what to expect that day, Alyssa and I showed up at 7am right on the dot. At first there were a handful of students surrounding the flagpole. Some of them had guitars, bibles and one had a djembe. For a while, they played Christian worship songs, and to my surprise a great deal of the students knew the words. There were no projectors, no speakers to project sound, no cool graphics on a screen. Just kids playing music, singing to the Lord.
As the rally went on, more and more students began to unite. Scripture was shared, and we even divided into small groups to pray for whatever we felt led to pray. Then the buses arrived, which literally doubled the number of kids there. The middle school was within throwing distance, and those students were more than welcome to attend as well. And they did. I was very pleased and thankful that the upperclassmen were setting a great example to kids that look up them. One student counted 175 total students in attendance.
Other cities had tremendous mornings at SYATP too, connecting with several Camp War Eagle campers and Ozone students. Bentonville directors Matt and Ellie prayed with students at Bentonville High School. Rogers directors Cass and Christine attended at Heritage High School. Springdale directors Wes and Erin supported students at Har-Ber High School.
|Some Ozone students at Bentonville High School|
I walked away from West Fork High School that day extremely encouraged and even proud. Proud to see students have a tremendous impact. Proud to see students praying for others. It was incredible to see students giving praise to God and to witness students setting examples for the younger generations. And I was proud to know that God is working in the lives of others.