“There is nothing new under the sun,” teaches Solomon in Ecclesiastes 1:9. Every generation finds fault with the generation that follows it. It’s an old story, frankly. T.S. Eliot, in 1948 wrote about declining standards from one generation to the next when he wrote, “We can assert with some confidence that our own period is one of decline; that the standards of culture are lower than they were fifty years ago; and that the evidences of this decline are visible in every department of human activity.”
But it’s hard to find fault in a group of BCHS Generation Z-ers who, on their own, formed a student club dedicated to service and volunteerism in their community. As was noted in a previous article about the Interact Club, if this is an indication of the values of the next generation, then perhaps our only concern might be, is it too late for them to clean up the mess they’ve inherited?
The Interact Club was formed last year under the guidance of Athletic Director, LaShawn Wells. “Summer is always a good time to serve others,” says Ellie Derevere, a junior and founding member of the Interact Club.
On Saturday, June 26 a group of ten teenagers headed out to Rockway Beach in Pacifica. Instead of surf boards and beach chairs they carried trash bags in their hands. They weren’t there to party or surf; they were there to pick up trash.
They found some pretty weird stuff on that morning. “There was a watermelon and an old doll’s head,” says Derevere. The group also found plenty of throw-away masks.
For several hours these students walked along the beach picking up discarded socks and forgotten shoes – not a Saturday that most teenagers would choose over other social activities. But the members of the Interact Club take their responsibility as stewards of the environment seriously.
“We’ve seen the effect that trash has on animals, fish, and birds who live in and near the ocean,” says Aislinn Fernandes (BCHS Junior). “As Christians, we’re supposed to be taking care of the environment and our world.”
Kaitlyn Kimura, also a junior and founding member of the group, recalled a message from Joe Little, the keynote speaker at this year’s student retreat: The world is divided between watchers and workers. Both groups clearly see the problems around them, but only the workers have the courage to step in and take action to make things better.
"That’s why we started this club,” Kimura says. “We want to be the workers.”
While many of us get stuck in the defeatist attitude that the world’s problems are too big for any of us to really make a difference, these students favor action over despair.
“It’s all about taking that first step,” says Derevere. “You never know what will happen until you try.”
In a time when the world’s problems are more visible because of the internet, this generation is not waiting for an invitation to act. They are taking action now. This should give us all more hope for our future as we see young disciples tackling the problems that previous generations created, all while naming God as their motivation for doing so.
The changing climate poses an alarming problem for our way of life in the not-so-distant future. But as Derevere puts it, “It’s our job to clean up our own mess.”