Squads is kids’ church in Regent Park. The program involves a large number of children and youth from the community, with children ages 6-12 participating and several teens serving as junior leaders, many of who have graduated from Squads themselves. When 614 started twelve years ago, the demographics of the neighbourhood were overwhelmingly pointed towards intentional kids and youth ministry, as there are more people living in the community who are under the age of 18 than there are adults. Family brokenness and youth violence are acute issues in this neighbourhood. As the church we feel very strongly about ministering to the children when they are young, so that we are able to continue to speak into their lives as they grow up, based on Proverbs 22:6 – Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
Practically, Squads is a huge catch-all night where kids participate in activities of their choice (sports, crafts, rock climbing, specialty programs like photography and cooking, etc.), with a very strong focus on Bible teaching, worship and prayer build into the program time. So, in a night, we’ve done all of these things, plus a meal together. Leaders pick up and drop off children from the program in a sort of ‘walking bus’, ensuring that participants can get to and from Squads safely. This has afforded us the opportunity to get to know several families in the neighbourhood as we are visiting them at their home on a weekly basis.
It takes a huge team of dedicated individuals to accomplish this program each week. Leaders join us from churches all over the city – 614, other Salvation Army Corps, Grace Toronto Church, People’s Church – to impact the lives of our kids in Regent. It’s a great way to meeting people from other church communities who are passionate about youth ministry. Friendships are formed over sharing the joys and challenges of serving together.
If you are interested in finding out more about Squads or how to become involved, please contact us for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-646-2315.