Growing and Going

Date Posted: 11/9/2017

Each summer, students hone their leadership and ministry skills at the Texas Youth Academy (TYA) leadership event hosted by the Texas Annual Conference. This annual “spiritual boot camp” helps several dozen high school students clarify their ministry calling. For Patrick Golden and Barinaale Dube, TYA was a launching pad that prepared them to stretch their leadership muscles in the weeks and years that followed. Just recently, they were both elected to serve as delegates to the 2018 Global Young People’s Convocation.
 
Patrick, a student at University of Texas and Barinaale, a high school senior who attends First UMC Westchase, feel honored to represent the South Central Jurisdiction at the most extensive global gathering of young Methodists. They have individual reasons for choosing this leadership adventure.
 
As a religion and history major with a desire to travel, Patrick enjoyed serving as a delegate to the Convocation in Germany in 2010 and the Philippines in 2014. “In each international location I learn something new about what it means to be a part of the global United Methodist Church,” says Patrick. He knows that participants may practice their faith differently in their home countries, but when all can have their voices heard in this global forum, it richly adds to the experience.
 
Unlike Patrick, Barinaale was initially hesitant about attending TYA in Texas, let alone being a delegate to South Africa. “In both situations, everyone else saw my potential and felt I would be perfect for these leadership opportunities,” she says, “so I finally said, ‘Ok God, I’ll go.’”
 
How did they get here?
Looking back on their leadership journeys, Patrick and Barinaale are quick to credit the Texas Youth Academy as a pivotal part of their spiritual formation. “Texas Youth Academy was the first place I met youth leaders outside of my home church that placed church at the same level of importance as I did,” says Patrick. A natural born leader at an early age, Patrick also served as the president of the Youth Council for the Texas Conference.
 
At TYA this summer, Barinaale began discerning God’s next steps for her life. “Texas Youth Academy was a training ground for me to learn, get answers and connect with people outside my immediate circle of friends,” says Barinaale. TYA helped prepare her for mission work in Haiti that gave her confidence to serve as a global delegate. With family members in Nigeria, Barinaale has additional motivations to travel to Africa. “Some day, I hope to open an international chain of community centers, “ she shares, “so this Convocation seems to be an amazing way to learn the inner workings of my denomination and see the world.”
 
Next Steps
As voting delegates, Patrick and Barinaale will spend time over the next eight months raising funds and getting acquainted with the proposed legislation that will be discussed. “This is uncharted waters for me,” says Barinaale, “but I think it will be exciting to connect with other youth in a meeting that impacts the future of the denomination.”
 
Patrick feels his life experiences in the last few years have made him more receptive to the global perspective of the church. “I will spend the next few months in virtual meetings with other delegates and might even submit my own piece of legislation if I get inspired,” Patrick says. “I’m excited to use the leadership tools I have acquired since my TYA days in ways I believe to be really important to young people across the globe, and the Methodist Church.”