Eight youth from the Joseph Clemmons Job Training Program (JCT) stood before parents, pastors, and Conference staff members last week to share insights from their two-week leadership program. They recited inspirational quotes and scripture, offered a video, acted out skits, and told of the new friendships they had developed.
JCT is named for Dr. Joseph Clemmons, retired pastor of the Miracle Temple, Church of God in Christ in Norwalk. As Dr. Clemmons shared lunch with the 2016 cohort in the CTUCC Leadership Studio, he reminded them to strive for excellence in all they do. The youth were also instructed in white collar skills and entrepreneurship while at the Conference office.
JCT youth are members of several UCC congregations: Manantial de Gracia UCC and Liberty Christian Center International of Hartford, and United Congregational UCC in Bridgeport. They also spent a week before the opening of camp at Silver Lake Conference Center, learning blue collar skills and working closely with staff. They became familiar with camp routines and traditions and also attended racial justice training with SLCC staff.
“These confident youth of color live up to the JCT motto “Excellence is the minimum requirement!” said The Rev. Da Vita McCallister, Associate Conference Minister for Leadership and Development and founder of this signature program of the CTUCC Racial Justice Ministry. “Their commitment to initiative, integrity, and anti-racism is inspiring.”
Isaac Monts, Racial Justice Program Associate, is the director of the program. Mr. Monts was assisted by JCT Supervisors Devonte Little and Dajah Jackson.
“JCT seeks to diversify the leadership at Silver Lake by introducing youth of color to our outdoor ministry site,” Monts said. “We want ‘God’s Backyard’ to reflect the rich diversity of all of God’s family. This is our fourth season of JCT and we are delighted that our first JCT alum has now been hired as a full time staff member.”