CROSSLAKE -- Crosslake Evangelical Free Church is ensuring that area teens have a chance to celebrate the New Year's holiday in an engaging and safe way.
"Chalkguy" Travis King will travel from Indiana to Crosslake to lead a lively yet meaningful event this New Year's weekend for area youths. Families are invited to the Saturday event, too.
The site for the event is the Old Fire Hall Teen Center in Crosslake, which opened in June 1999.
"There's a family that's part of Crosslake Evangelical Church that renovated the Old Fire Hall," said April Tappe, Crosslake Evangelical youth advisory committee member. "The church keeps it going."
Participation at the teen center varies, Tappe said. She estimated anywhere from 30 to more than 100 teens come in for the center's open nights.
"It just depends on the weekend and what's going on," Tappe said. The teen center offers teens from seventh through 12th grades a fun place to go every Friday and Saturday night.
All the video games at the center are free. Popcorn is free. And there's free open gym, where the teens can play basketball, volleyball, floor hockey or whatever they choose, Tappe said. Some kids play board games. They can also buy cappuccinos, candy bars and pop at the center's snack bar.
Crosslake Evangelical Free Church's youth advisory committee oversees the center's operations, Tappe said.
"We also have a committee called the Old Fire Hall Committee, which basically makes sure that the place is staffed, and that the candy bars and beverages are there, and that it's clean; and (they also) plan the events. ... There'll probably be at least six adults there (to chaperone at Saturday's event). We have a range of adult volunteers that have to be approved by one of these church committees.
"One night a month we try to have a special event," Tappe said. "This month is the chalk artist."
That's Travis King. A national motivational speaker and performing artist, King is a graduate of De Pauw University in Indiana.
"He's a chalk artist, he's a story-teller and he can turn an ordinary youth group meeting, a camp chapel or a school assembly into a memorable event filled with laughter, inspiration and good memories," write his promoters, who are staff members and management at Living Art. Living Art is an organization that places an emphasis on the use of the arts as a means of sharing God's message.
Living Art is the traveling branch of the Indianapolis based company Road to Damascus. Living Art's staff members, like King, take the agency's itinerary on the road to school assemblies, conferences, banquets, church services, youth groups and camps. And, apparently, to celebration gatherings for youths.
"The Living Art program was witnessed by over 75,000 people in the Silverdome," according to the organization's Web site. "Ben Glenn (who takes the program around the country, like King) was projected on several large screens, which made him visible to everybody present. The program is just as effective for huge groups as it is for smaller audiences.
"Living Art is an inter-denominational organization based on Judeo-Christian principles. Our mission is to share Christ and His Great News! We serve churches, schools and businesses by providing top-notch multi-media presentations for groups of all ages. ... Living Art presenters excel in sharing hope and inspiration in a dynamic and powerful way. ... We seek to educate, motivate, inspire and bless. We desire to MAKE A DIFFERENCE in the lives of others."
The Road to Damascus Web site offers a creative resource page for people interested in drama, chalk art, public speaking and video or animation. It also offers a feature called "Seeds Coffeehouse," with a menu of inspirational thoughts, bios on staff, information on booking Living Art presentations and more.
King will create a large chalk art work-in-progress as the program plays out. "Your group keeps the finished product," the Road to Damascus Web site says. "Pictures have been displayed, auctioned, raffled off, or given away as prizes."
An area band will perform at the Saturday night event. The band's name is a well kept secret at this time. Jeff Jensen, youth pastor, who put most of this program together, was out of town this week and unavailable for comment.
Doors will open at 7:30 p.m. for this night-before-New-Year's-Eve event. The program will begin at 8 p.m. Cost is $3 with a food donation, or $5 per person. The Old Fire Hall is on County Road 66 in Crosslake. For more information about Chalkguy Travis King, check out his Web site at www.chalkguy.com.
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