The journey of one young girl who participated in activities organized by Teens Need Togetherness was shared following a mission trip.
The girl is exploring her faith through TNT. The experience she had after her mother found a way to pay for a trip made her more appreciative of everything she had and all that her mom has done for her, said Shiela Pluchar, a youth minister of St. Julie Billiart Catholic Church.
“This is indicative of the impact that these trips make on the majority of the teens,” Pluchar said.
To raise money to support youth retreats and conference travel, members of St. Julie Billiart Catholic Church are looking to host their second TNT Car Wash of the summer season from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, July 8, right outside the Devine Center.
The Tinley Park parish holds three TNT Car Wash events each year, and they’re intended to offset costs for various activities.
Pluchar said the next biggest thing TNT has planned is the national conference.
Members of TNT will be traveling to Indianapolis, Ind. to take part in the National Catholic Youth Conference November 16-19. It will be held at Lucas Oil Stadium and the Indianapolis Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis.
It features various vendor booths, outreach efforts and guest speakers who share messages of strength and positivity.
“It’s very uplifting,” Pluchar said.
Pluchar said there are so many different takeaways for kids who decide to attend.
The experience provides an opportunity for members of the parish to meet people from all over the country.
The kids can expect to have a wonderful time at the national conference, Pluchar promised.
“On [Nov. 18,] it ends with a Mass at the Lucas Oil Stadium,” she said. “You’re there, and you have 25,000 people, and all of a sudden, it’s quiet. You have deacons who speak. That’s one of the things kids will say was a favorite experience of theirs.”
Likewise, the TNT mission trips provide a worthwhile opportunity for kids to take part in.
“Sometimes you need to be removed from the comfort of home to focus on what’s in front of you,” Pluchar said. “Some are surprised by what they’ve done and absorbed. If all kids could complete one mission trip, I would recommend it.”
The TNT group is slated to embark on a summer retreat to Great Oaks Camp in Lacon from July 9 to July 14. Pluchar said the retreats tend to be a mix of excitement for the kids who decide to go.
“It’s a great way if you’re unsure what a youth group is all about,” she said. “You have a camp experience. There’s a lot of fun to it, and it’s formational. They tend not to use their cell phones, which is kind of nice. They have small and larger group activities where they can get to know one another. The kids like to bill it, ’Fun, faith, food, friends.’”
A group of TNT members recently returned from a mission trip to St. Louis. A third TNT Car Wash is set to take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5, right outside the Devine Center.
“We just try and raise as much as we can,” Pluchar said, noting the parish likes to raise funds that can be rolled over to support future activities.
If interested in supporting the group and unable to attend the next two TNT Car Wash events, donations can be sent to St. Julie Billiart, 7399 159th St, Tinley Park, IL 60477.
TNT Car Wash
When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, July 8
Where: St. Julie Billiart, 7399 159th St. in Tinley Park
For more information, visit www.stjulie.org.