On the first Saturday in November, 20 Bay Shore Lutheran youth spent the night in cardboard boxes on Bayshore Lutheran’s lawn. The event, called Sleep Out Saturday, was a huge success no matter how you define it. The weather was perfect – cold enough to provide a different perspective on homelessness, but not cold enough to be dangerous. Thankfully, the weather also remained dry!
The youth started the evening with a soup dinner then went outside to build cardboard shelters. After an evening of deep discussion and fun by the campfire, including a question and answer opportunity with former Guest House resident Dan Noble, the youth burrowed in their cardboard shelters, trying to get some sleep. The following morning, the youth had breakfast and debriefed about their experience. During the 10:15 am worship service, they shared their experience with the Sunday school classes. The youth all agreed that they expected to be cold sleeping outside, but the reality was much colder – and noisier – than any of them expected. The youth also recognized that while the experience helped them “walk in the shoes” of the homeless, there were many differences between the Sleep Out and being homeless, like the fact that the youth had sleeping bags, mountains of cardboard and duct tape to use, blankets, thermal wear, etc. The group learned a lot about homelessness in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the United States, including the fact that 1.3 million children are homeless in the United States on any given night. 400 children are homeless just in Milwaukee on any given night.
In addition to their personal experience of sleeping outside, and their broader view of the issue of homelessness, the youth raised $4,571.00 for the Guest House homeless shelter in Milwaukee!
If you’d like to find out more about this event or Bay Shore Lutheran Church, you can contact:
Director of Youth & Family Ministry
Bay Shore Lutheran Church
Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin 53217