What a great weekend we had for Panther days. Lots of high school students checking out the school as well as alumni here for the President's Council. This year's Songfest was a phenomenal show and a great success.
This semester at the President's Council, we asked a few students to come and informally answer questions and interact with alumni. The intent was to show alumni that the "York Experience" was still intact, in spite of a different current culture and much more diverse student backgrounds.
Today I was able to eat lunch in the caf with a couple of the students who were at the PC meeting. I was surprised at the emotional impact meeting with alumni had on them. While they know they love YC now, they were impressed that alumni who have been gone for 10, 20, 30 years or more still have the same passion. It encouraged them to know that what they feel now can stay with them long after they leave and the friends they have now will be there for a lifetime.
One of the students, a transfer, said she really enjoyed the school she went to before and was satisfied with the experience. But then she came to YC and her life was changed. It was the comparison of the two experiences that made it even clearer to her about how the YC experience transforms you.
The sad part that we all talked about then was how to relate that experience to others. They just don't get it unless they have been a part of it. I guess that is our ongoing task.
During the PC interaction, one young woman was asked about her experience here. She indicated that she had never shared this, but had a horrible situation last year that was impacting her in ways she was not sure she would recover from. She said at one point a faculty member noticed she was struggling and asked her over to the house for a grilled cheese sandwich. That grilled cheese sandwich changed her life. Not because it was a magic sandwich, but because someone cared.
She got over the hurt and trauma of her situation eventually, but she said it started with that sandwich. It actually started with a lot more and long before that incident. It started with someone, not a relative, who loved her and had her best interest at heart and who is dedicated to living out a commitment to Christ.
How do you explain that to people who don't experience it. I think Jesus expressed it best in John 8:31,32 when he tells the Jews that expressed belief in him, live the life I am telling you about, then you will realize it is the best way to live (the truth), then it will set you free (extremely loose Eckman translation). You experience it first, then you understand it.
It is amazing to live and work among these young people who will change the world during their lifetimes. And it all starts because God is part of a small college in a small town in Nebraska.