Category: Life at Westview

Blog posts that describe life at WBH

Westside youth group

Sweet sixteen for Westside at WBH

For sixteen years, Brett McKnight and the youth group from the Westside Church of Christ in Norman have been coming to Westview to get to know our young men and to make our campus a better place. Their visits are always one of the sweet spots of our summer.

Perhaps that’s why it’s appropriate that their work on our campus this summer was on our north campus at Sweetwater House. Sweetwater is a great old house, but it was in serious need of a new coat of paint on its exterior. Our campus manager, Terry Owens, had set aside this job for the Westside group because they’ve earned our confidence in them over the years. We know that they can handle tough jobs and do them well.

Brett and Jennifer McKnight brought nine hard-working young people with them this year. They worked hard in the morning (before the heat became its most brutal), had lunch, rested a bit, and then enjoyed time with our young men on campus and at the Wellington Activity Center.

In the end of it all, they enjoyed the sweetness of a job well-done and those of us at Westview appreciated the sacrifice and hard work given by each of our friends from Norman. We are grateful.

Westside painting Sweetwater

Cleaning up with the tractor

Time for the annual cleanup

There is life and growth at Westview: crops sprout, cattle fatten, and boys become young men. This is the season, though, when we have to clear out the wild and weedy. The North Garland Church of Christ from Enid, Oklahoma, recently came to help with that annual cleanup.

The church at North Garland has been friends with the young men at Westview for a long time. They’ve provided things that our guys needed, participated in our grocery drives, and given financial resources as well.

This year they wanted to come and see in person the ministry that their compassion and generosity makes possible. We encourage those visits because nothing is more persuasive than seeing the good things that are happening here on our campus. There is also something extraordinary about hospitality at Westview Boys’ Home.

For several days our friends worked hard to clean up our campus. They also had time to share meals, games, and conversations with our young men. They were a blessing to our young men, and we believe that our young men were a blessing to them as well.

We thank our friends from North Garland and appreciate the memories that we now share.

The crew from the North Garland Church of Christ
The crew from the North Garland Church of Christ
Flagpole at camp

Blazing new trails

Habits and rhythms are positive and powerful things but there is also fun and excitement in getting away from them. Every summer our young men get away to church camp. For some it is their first experience of summer camp: life outdoors, new friends, and new songs. For teens, blazing these new trails is fiercely important because these adventures so often lead them to new possibilities and the discovery of better ways to see themselves.

Church camp gives our young men the opportunity to get away from the “busyness” of the world and to take time to think about their lives–past, present, and future–and their relationships. There is time to rethink and appreciate connections with family, friends, and most importantly–God. The change of pace and temporary change of habits (what some people call dehabituation) open up new possibilities for youths to see themselves and their relationships in positive ways.

Once again, our young men are going to Camp Lu-Jo KISMIF this summer. KISMIF stands for Keep It Spiritual, Make It Fun. At Camp Lu-Jo, the hours spent in worship, in Bible study, and in singing often help teens more clearly understand that they have been shaped in the image of God for the glory of God. Many also come to see their identity as a child of God. For these youth, this is a powerfully healing realization.

Westview is grateful for those who empower our young men to be present at camp this summer. Thank you for the ways that you seek to help their healthy spiritual formation.

Blazing new trails

 

Some of our boys with the crew from Oakdale

When we start working together

For years, the Church of Christ at Oakdale has been a vital part of the work at Westview Boys’ Home. Recently a team of members and leaders came to work side by side with our young men and staff on our farm. We were glad to show them the hospitality for which Westview has become known.

It’s when we start working together that the real healing takes place . . . it’s when we start spilling our sweat, and not our blood.

– David Hume

garden toolsLed by a friend of Westview, Richard Yahola; the pulpit minister, Darrel Sears; the youth minister, John T. Langley; and one of the church’s shepherds, Larry Zeller, our friends from Oakdale worked hard in our vegetable garden. With about two acres in our garden, clearing out weeds and the remnants of the previous crop proved to be a hefty job. The crew from Oakdale got our young men off to a good start.

As this garden matures, it will provide fresh vegetables–squash, cucumbers, black-eyed peas, tomatoes, corn, and okra–to the young men that live at Westview. We hope to have some extra produce for the market as well.

Besides sharing time in the field, our friends shared time at the table and in worship. We had some good meals together; we shared wonderful devotional time together as well. We have much to be thankful for.

We’ve found that working together builds relationships that are stronger and more enduring. Our hope is that our friends at Oakdale will continue to see themselves as important partners in our vital work with at-risk youth.

Graduation ceremony

Landmarks, rituals, and rites of passage

As teenagers move from their high school years into their adult lives, the school hallways they have so recently walked become landmarks in their history and well-known rituals and rites of passage serve to mark a new part of their life journeys.

Brian
Brian

Our seniors have walked down the halls into the auditorium for their last rewards assembly; there they’ve picked up their trophies and scholarships. They’ve worn their tuxes to the Senior Banquet and joined in the skits that are at the heart of the Senior Assembly. Finally, they have come to graduation itself. To no one’s surprise, “Pomp and Circumstance” is the tune of the day. One by one, red robed students line up collect their diplomas–take the diploma with the left hand and shake hands with the right–and take their first steps as independent adults in this world.

This year, two young men from Westview graduated from Hollis High School: Brian Dibrell and Kaden Richardson. Both of them had careers with the football team and the concert band. Both took classes at Southwest Technology Center: Brian in auto mechanics and Kaden in aircraft maintenance.

Kade
Kaden

This fall Brian plans to stay with us so that he can finish his studies in auto mechanics. Once he has completed that course, he plans to work for a dealership so that he can put himself through college. He plans to prepare for a career in sports journalism at Oklahoma State University.

Southwestern Oklahoma State University has accepted Kaden into their pre-pharmacy program. He will work at Westview through the summer and begin classes in Weatherford this fall.

We’re honored to have been a part of the lives of these two young men and look forward to helping them launch well into the future. We are thankful to everyone who has made these success stories possible.

Cemetery near our west campus

Paying our respects

When you live in the country, your neighbors have often been there for a good while. Our west campus is near one of the oldest cemeteries in Harmon County, Number 2 Cemetery. Recently our young men had a service project to get this historic cemetery in good shape.

Service project at the cemeteryIn the normal course of events, the cemetery association takes good care of these grave sites. They contract with a young person every year to keep the grounds clean and in order. Occasionally, though, early rains cause the grass to get deep before local students are out of school and available to do the work.

Because the grass did get tall this year, our young men were glad to pay their respects by stepping up to do the hard work of getting the cemetery in good shape. Westview team members worked alongside our young men for hours.

They picked up trash, mowed grass, worked weed eaters, and raked clippings until these historic grounds were back in good shape. Now the regular maintenance worker will be able to keep these grave sites in order once again.

Our young men were glad for this opportunity to show their respect to the memory of some of the earliest settlers of Harmon County. May they rest in God’s peace.

Cleaning up the cemetery