By Mindy Weisbert

The Journey, Calvary Lutheran Church’s youth organization, is making an active showing in the community while providing an inviting opportunity for teens to share their faith in fun, meaningful ways.

Statistics show that fewer than five percent of today’s high school students are engaged in a church student organization, but that is not the case among Apollo Beach’s Calvary congregation; where most teens want to join The Journey. “We provide an outlet for teens to be themselves, have fun with new friends, do some good, and most importantly, grow their relationship with God,” says Calvary Youth Director, Jordan Palzer. In fact, The Journey has become a very big presence with its community work and is quickly becoming an “it” teen organization to join.

All students from six through twelfth grade are welcome to participate in The Journey, even if they are not actual members of Calvary. The group typically meets a couple times a month for both service and play.  It is not uncommon to see Journey members cleaning up yard work at local businesses or making time to stop by a nursing home, but they are also spotted at campouts, white-water rafting excursions and on movie outings. Last summer, several Journey members had the incredible opportunity to attend the ELCA’s National Youth Gathering in New Orleans. “It’s awesome to see this age group fully engaged in their faith,” says Palzer.  “They have a great time together in a positive environment.”

On Saturday, May 11 at 6:30 p.m., a fundraiser for The Journey will take place at Calvary, located at 5309 US 41 N. in Apollo Beach, with a Broadway-style performance of “Miss What’s Her Name” by renowned local actor Ellen Kleinschmidt. The community is welcome and encouraged to attend this fun performance, followed by an old-fashion ice cream social. A free will offering will be taken to benefit The Journey’s youth initiatives.

For more information on The Journey, please visit or find the group on Facebook by searching under The Journey Youth Group.


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Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.