Q & A about The Beacon

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

More of the Good Stuff at The Beacon

Just Another Day @ The Beacon

This is a reprint of a news article featured in the Brighton Independent in October.  
Many thanks to the Independent and the other local media that supports us so generously... 

A few more teens trickle into The Beacon in Brighton on a sunny Thursday.  It is 11:25 am and the students from ENSS seem more hungry than usual.  ‘T’ comes first and signs in.  He sits at the lunch table, smiling but quiet and accepts a bowl of soup.  Elisabeth tries to engage him in conversation.  At the door M signs in also and comes to grab a sandwich. He hovers near to the ‘big boy’ pool table; the 8 foot slate-top beauty that was donated last year.  Rick, a volunteer and retired RCMP Corporal and Canadian Armed Forces veteran, waits for M to ask the obvious question: “Play you for a pop?”
“Sure.  You break,” says Rick.   
Teens who can beat a volunteer on the "Big Boy" table win a free pop.
M will always try.  In his family there is very little of free anything.  He works part time but always seems hungry.  Sometimes, if other teens aren’t around, a volunteer will offer him a bag of sandwiches left over from the day’s lunch, or a jar of peanut butter. He stuffs it into his backpack... always says thank you.  

In another corner, Y plays chess with Rene, who sits sideways, splitting his attention between the youths entering The Beacon and Y’s next move. Y has captured Rene’s white bishop and two pawns and lost only a knight in return.  He grins; “you ought to focus better.” 
“I am focused. You’re just better than I am,” Rene says.  He waves at one of the teens just entering the Beacon.  “Hey Colby,” says Rene, “welcome back. It’s been a long time.”  The boy smiles but Y whispers, “his name’s not Colby.”
The crowd flows in. At 11:25 they are asked to stand quiet as Rick prays for the food.  Bless this food to our use, and we also remember the people in Syria without homes and friends struggling with dark stuff, like depression and addictions.  We pray your love for them and for our friends and families. In Jesus’ name. Amen.” 
The noise builds up again and the pool games resume.  Two new kids at the small table stop what they are doing and look at the painted lighthouse and the words streaming from the light beam.
“That’s John 3:16, isn’t it?”
“Yes it is.”
“Cool,” says the taller one and continues his shot.

An hour later the high school students have all left and a troop of girls come in from Brighton Public School.  They giggle more, and sit all together around the lunch table.  More soup is served and they each take a helping. Karen speaks with them and tries to get their names right.
“We were in yesterday and they forgot to pray,” announces A, the more verbal and confident one. “We noticed after we left.”
“So let’s pray now,” says Karen and they follow her prayer with an audible “Amen.” 

On Thursday evening Susan and Jeremy are on duty from 7 – 9 pm.   P and J come from a foster home accompanied by Mike their night worker.  Mike is in his twenties and likes to have fun with the boys. Tonight his cell phone is keeping him busy but the boys have a tournament going and are playing well.  Susan is working on a photo collage of kids at the Beacon.  Many nights she will begin a board game and gradually the kids will be drawn in, with five or six sitting huddled around the table, playing Scrabble or Clue.
Another volunteer enters because a meeting he had planned to attend was suddenly cancelled.  At the same time B, who has a difficult time reading, comes over and wants to know about a certain Bible story.  They open a Manga Bible and together they start to read. “Let’s just read. Don’t ask me any questions,” says B.
Gradually the games end and the clean up begins. The door is locked and the lights turned off as another day ends at The Beacon.   
The Beacon Youth Centre has operated in Brighton for nine years. It is open during the school year from Tuesdays to Fridays from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, and on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 7:00 to 9:00 pm.
Rene and the many volunteers are grateful to the many groups who support the youth centre. 
Those who wish to know more or contribute to The Beacon can call Rene Schmidt at 613-885-1100.

Monday, 3 August 2015

SERVE, SUMMER ARTS CAMP and other stuff

   It's been a busy start to the summer!

Back at the end of June we awarded two graduating youth the “Beacon Youth Centre Respect Award” at ENSS graduation.  Recipients were chosen by ENSS staff; Madeleine Bailey and Caroline Birch. A plaque has been put up and we will keep track of our winners every year.

In July, although The Beacon is not open during our regular schedule, which resumes in September, Colin Maltby has opened the space to local students on Friday evenings.  This outreach is going well. Colin has made many contacts locally and he came with me to the graduation at ENSS and met a number of students that I knew.

click here to find out about Colin's Beacon Squad postings on facebook

Some of the youth Colin invited to our Beacon
The second week of July I helped out at a Quinte YFC summer Performing Arts camp for younger kids.
The camp was held at Bethel Pentecostal church in Trenton. The theme was heroes and kids were all ages! From Grade 1 (difficult for an old guy like me!) to Grade 8, a group of ten or so. I did the drama portion of it, assisted by Quinte Youth Unlimited summer staff Annabelle Schmidt (student intern from Germany - no relation) and Kat (local summer intern).  The girls were a great help in getting the kids into the improvisation sessions.  We learned some basic improvisation techniques, games to reinforce the concepts and the kids had lots of opportunities to be inventive.

Two of our 'Heroes' get a mask layered on.

We made plaster-of-Pairs masks also, and these turned out well.

the masks take about 20 minutes to dry

Annabelle with some of the students
Click here to learn more about Quinte YFC and performing arts

The next week Fellowship CRC in Brighton (my home church) held a SERVE week; the first of three successive years we will be doing SERVE.  About fifty teens from all over Ontario and Michigan joined the teens from our church to do work projects around Brighton and communities nearby.  Many seniors and others, especially those with no present church connection, benefitted from the work these youth provided.  
I have participated in SERVE three times in the past. This year as part of the host team my job was as a site supervisor at the Community Partners for Success in Frankford.  The organization benefits adults and their children with a host of programs and some day care.  
The old building. Notice the peeling paint.
The Community Partners for Success is housed in a former water treatment facility (and it still looks like one) and runs on a shoestring; depending on local volunteers and charity funds to exist.  These people do great work in the community.
      The outside had a 'happy' paint job done by children long ago, but the paint was peeling badly and many interior rooms also were in bad need of a new paint job. As well, the grounds outside also needed a lot of TLC.  Several SERVE teens worked very hard on three different days and the results were really impressive.   Thanks to Vivienne Wu and Rick Hamilton who assisted me with preparing for the new paint job.
The CPS logo was painted on and the original sign placed elsewhere
One of our SERVE team, painting figures

Final touches outside, plus inside rooms were painted too.

Click here to learn about Brighton SERVE 2015
Many other projects were done. Click above to learn more.

Monday, 29 June 2015


Hello all,

The Dutchfather, Rene 
The Beacon Youth Centre is on 'summer hours' since school ended and we will go back to the Tuesday to Friday lunches when school resumes in September.   For any information about programs etc, email me at rene@qyfc.com or phone my cell at 613-885-1100

In the meantime...  Colin Maltby, a summer intern at Evangel Pentecostal church will be opening the Beacon Friday afternoons from 5:00 - 8:00 PM.   Colin has unique gifts in music and sports, plus he is about 40 years younger than most of our volunteers (me included) so he relates well to youth.  Come to the Beacon for more info or email Colin at  Missfit.maltby@gmail.com
Colin as a Halton Hurricane, 2012 
Colin  on guitar

Jeremy with his son and daughter
Also, Jeremy Clark, our newest volunteer, will be operating a summer camp experience for local kids and his own two children during the summer. Some days he will use the Beacon.
Contact Jeremy at (613) 849-9174 for more info.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Ride For The Beacon Motorcycle Rally

Come all ye Bikers...  May 30th 2015 is the second annual Bike For The Beacon Motorcycle Rally. 
Register at 9:30 am, at 10 Alice St. Unit 5, Brighton Ontario, right opposite the Municipal Hall.  
Riders will tour Prince Edward County on a Poker Run. 
First cards issued in Brighton along with maps and instructions. Riders can ride alone or in a group led by local Blue Knights. 
Best poker hands win good prizes. (This is not a speed race!) 
Return in mid-afternoon for T-shirts, Barbecue, prizes etc. 
Rider $30, passengers $15. 

All proceeds to benefit the Beacon Youth Centre in Brighton. 
Stay in touch with this page or go to The Beacon Youth Center on Facebook (and like us)  for more details closer to the date. 

Friday, 6 March 2015

It may be winter but we're not freezing in the dark...

A few weeks ago, during a quiet Tuesday evening, three youths, all from foster care, were at the Beacon and three of us adults were with them. We were playing pool and chess and having fun, but gradually I became negative in my thinking, wondering how we might get more teens to attend, and what a waste it was to have this place open with just three boys there.  My 'bigger is better' side was in high gear when suddenly the youngest boy stopped in the middle of a shot and said; "Isn't this great. Just three of us and we have you guys and this whole place to ourselves..." 
That was a little message from above I really needed to hear. 

This is the article I wrote for Northumberland News last week. (They even used this colour photo on the web page !)
 If anyone has a print copy please save it for me.

Northumberland News  / Northumberland Today  
Articles of Faith 

GOOD PARENTING by Rene Schmidt
We think of the Bible as a book of wisdom, but as an unflinching history of God’s people, there are some examples of remarkably bad parenting found in the pages of The Good Book.
Any loving parent should cringe at the story of Joseph and his Coat of Many Colours. Who would ever favour one son in front of 10 others and expect any good to come of it? Though the brothers were wrong to sell their proud little sibling into slavery, it doesn’t take an abacus to figure out there will be a nasty outcome for Joseph. Luckily God had other plans and Joseph saved them all later on. Eli the high priest was another poor example of a parent. He allowed his sons, as priests of the holy temple, to make a mockery of the gifts brought to offer God. So corrupt were they that God eventually removed them. Samuel, though he witnessed all this firsthand, learned little from Eli’s bad example and spoiled his own sons as badly. King David, Israel’s most dominant king, also had much to learn about parenting. He seldom corrected his royal sons. They became abusive and destructive. Handsome Absalom was so bold as to have horses and charioteers announce his coming and going, while attempting to steal the kingdom away from his own father, David. Absalom, too, came to a humiliating end when God corrected the situation.
Yes, the Bible faithfully reports parental failures in vivid detail, but doesn’t condone them. Quite the opposite; the Bible teaches parents to love God and instruct and correct their children regularly. The Old Testament ‘shema’ instructed; “You shall teach (the laws) diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” The book of Proverbs has entire chapters dedicated to raising and correcting children.
Jesus set an even higher standard. He welcomed children to come to him, (almost unheard of in his day) and used their simple faith as an example for adults to follow. Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son tells the incredible patience the father has in waiting for the return of his wayward son, illustrating God’s own patience with us. Verses in Ephesians and Colossians instruct fathers not to exasperate or embitter their children with harsh treatment, but to raise them in the training and instruction of the Lord.
The truth is, in Bible times or now, good parenting is more time-consuming and difficult than bad parenting. Sometimes our children are born with a stronger temperament than our own. We have to correct our children as we were (or wish we were) corrected.
It is always easier to give in than to hold the line. Children will test the rules and see what they can get away with, just as we adults do sometimes. But children grow up more secure when parents keep consistent rules and standards. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” This is not anything we should put off until our children are a bit older. As loving parents we guide, encourage, lead and correct our children. To avoid correcting them produces sons and daughters unsuited to this world.
More than career, schooling or status, a parent’s most important commitment is raising their child properly; it takes effort and is sometimes difficult – but the results last a lifetime.
Rene Schmidt is director of The Beacon Youth centre and Brighton ministries for Quinte Youth For Christ.


More Learning 
On Saturday February 21st Chuck and Joan Acker and I travelled to Oakville for the Today's Teens Conference.  It was a great day of learning about the stuff teens get into now. Some of it is predictable and some of it is pretty scary.  We split up and attended various sessions. Jim Snyder wanted to come too but the day would be just too long for him.  Unfortunately none of our teen leader types could come along. 
Next time maybe.  

Talk about freezing in the dark, our furnace is acting up and we have had many visits from our landlord to fix it.  Pray for our heat!

Monday, 9 February 2015

Wintery Beacon Events

Chuck, Carla & a couple of dummies
     Although January had a few weeks of bitter cold and kept our teen numbers down to 20 or less some days, it was still a busy month for us at the Beacon. For two consecutive Mondays thirteen of us did First Aid training in Don's basement.  Using dummies brought by Darlene Jackson of the Red Cross, we learned and relearned all sorts of emergency routines for; choking, loss of consciousness, bleeding, sunstroke, stroke, broken limbs,
Rick and his quiet friend
heart attack and breathing emergencies.  This was because Youth For Christ wants staff to have First Aid training. (So all those things might happen to young people? Perhaps we older folks are more likely to need this intervention ourselves.) 
     So listen, if you feel a sudden heart attack coming on, and you're downtown... just step over to the firehall beside the Beacon.  They do this sort of thing all the time.

The Kroesbergen Men cruise to musical excellence
On the 24th of January we held our First Annual Musical Fundraiser for the Beacon with a concert at Fellowship CRC.
   With free use of the church and donated musical entertainment by the Kroesbergen Family, Dan Koets & Shawna Cournyea of the group Wisdom, plus Don Harnden, our own organ-playing volunteer, there was something to hum along to for everyone.
    Despite bad driving conditions, the night was perfect with excellent music, Beacon Bits of information, and a generous crowd shelling out over $1 300 for the evening.

Rene catches a snooze while Lance looks on

    Further along, on the January 30th P.A. Day, four of the Beacon boys (Lance, Dustin, Sean and Jacob) went with me to ski on Mont Ste. Marie in Quebec. I am not a regular skier but went because they asked me (comic relief?).  To make sure we could meet the 4:30 am bus in Bloomfield on time, we borrowed Rick's van and I got the boys from their houses around midnight on Thursday. We slept a few hours at the home of Sami Lester's parents, who went to all kinds of trouble to make us comfortable. Sami is the director of Prince Edward County Youth for Christ, (like us, a satellite of Quinte YFC) and Sami organizes this yearly ski trip. Joining about 25 others, we bussed our way through Ottawa to the resort at Mont Ste. Marie in the Laurentians.  

     The ski resort is worth the long drive, especially with excellent prices for budget-minded youth. The Beacon had also contributed a bonus to those four who signed up for this initial trip, hoping that next year many more will want to come.

   The day was sunny and bracingly cold, but our boys didn't seem to notice and happily skied and snowboarded the day away.

With two large chair lifts and some smaller ones at Mont Ste. Marie, and since their schools had a regular school day, there were few crowds and short line-ups.

Kudos to Dustin and Lance, who stayed with friends who were slower skiers and were good company throughout the day.

We returned home starting at 7:30 PM and a young pastor, David, gave a message during the bus trip back home that was very moving.

The day still didn't end quickly, with a dead battery and keys locked into the van we were trying to boost (guess who?) delaying our departure from Bloomfield by another hour. Returning home late and somewhat sleepy, I also managed to drop my cell phone onto Jacob's driveway while dropping him off. Thankfully it was found intact the next day, good as new. For me it was a long day, but the boys will say they just had a good time. Isn't youthful perspective great?

Spirit Borne, another satellite ministry of Quinte Youth For Christ, visited Fellowship CRC in Brighton last weekend during a road-closing blizzardy day. Too bad for those who missed it; the show was very nicely put together and a credit to Rikki-Anne McNaught, the director and the cast and crew, many of whom are from the Brighton area.

Brighton Youth interested in training to be a Spirit Borne cast member will be able to apply in March for this opportunity. 

Most of our regular Beacon youth just enjoy the place as a safe haven and it is hard to predict how many may be starting a journey to greater faith. But for the few who are developing a deeper belief, there are leadership opportunities coming all the time.  On Feb 22nd, Today's Teens Conference in Oakville will have lots for youth and youth leaders to learn about. Contact me (Rene) or see me at the Beacon for more information.

For anyone considering whether to support us with help, time, prayers or finances, please visit us at The Beacon and see for yourselves what is going on there.  Call 613-475-4064

Tuesday - Friday 11:00 - 1:00
Tuesdays and Thursdays 7:00 - 9:00 pm.

God bless!