A Night of Art and Music


“Art is the window to man’s soul.”-Lady Bird Johnson

With art programs being trimmed in schools, we decided to hold our annual Art Show and Open Mic Night as a way to support and encourage youth to develop their creativity. This year, 9 winners from the art show will be spending a 3-hour group painting lesson with world known, local artist Karl Eric Leitzel.

Open to the community, the art show displayed art work by 18 teens in a variety of mediums such as drawing, painting, and photography. Friends, family, and people from all over Penns Valley came out to support the young artists. The talent was amazing!

Along with the art show, we joined with the Old Gregg School Community Center for their monthly Open Mic Night. After everyone admired the artwork, they loaded up their plates with food and sat around the gym listening to performers on the stage. Many of the teens took a turn at the mic.

Check out photos from the evening on our Facebook page! We can’t wait for next year…so get painting!

Christmas Workshop 2014…


This year’s theme for our Christmas Workshop was “Get a little. Give a lot.”. The teens started out the day with “Get a little” by decorating their Gingerbread House with a vast array of assorted candies. Each house was very unique and three of the teens won a gift card for their design. Later in the evening, teens did a White Elephant gift exchange and it was hilarious to see some of the gifts they opened!


The teens had opportunities to “Give a lot.” as they made fresh evergreen swags to give to their mothers or family member, baked and packaged cookies, and filled jars with dry soup ingredients to be given out in food baskets throughout the community. The grumbles of disinterest soon gave way to teens wanting to make more.




The Sunday following the workshop, PVYC teens joined Penns Valley Community Church to fill baskets with donated food items and the cookies and soup jars they had put together during the workshop. The  42 baskets were given out to families in our community, some of whom were families of our PVYC teens.

Teens Bring Joy to Wynwood House…

Every month, we have a “Get In The Van” Tuesday. Our December outing was to the Wynwood House, assisted living, in Centre Hall. The teens were told ahead of time that we would be going there to sing Christmas carols and they were excited to do so! We had seven teens take time out of their day to share joy with those who might not have such a joyful holiday. We walked up and down each hall way, singing our set of carols. One resident asked us if the teens were a choir that sings together regularly because they sounded beautiful.  Residents sang along with us, smiled, and shared stories of Christmases past. One lady shared how she used to take a group of teens around caroling when she was younger, and hoped that we didn’t mind her standing next to us to sing.

Before we left, we noticed that it was one of the resident’s birthday. Since it was dinner time, all of the residents were in the dining area so we asked an aide to point out who’s birthday it was. We gathered around her and sang “Happy Birthday.”

We, the leaders, talked after we left about how the experience impacted us and hoped that the teens left that day with  a little bit of joy in their hearts, as well!

Bringing our community together: Thanksgiving Dinner


For the second year, Penns Valley Youth Center and Penns Valley Community Church joined together to to provide a Thanksgiving dinner for our community. This year, despite the 5 inches of snow that accumulated through out the day, we served over 200 people in the gym at the Old Gregg School Community Center and packed up over 50 to-go meals. The gym was full of delicious aromas and the sound of friends and neighbors greeting each other. What brings people together better than food?!

The day began around 9am with setting up the tables and organizing the place settings. Once that task was complete, the preparations for cooking began! Soon the kitchen was all a bustle with volunteers making stuffing and all of the other delicious foods that were to be served that evening.

The calm before the storm (although the literal snowstorm was still in effect), came at lunchtime when the volunteers had a break to eat lunch and tell stories of the olden days. It was an amazing time of fellowship as multiple generations sat around the table and shared.

Once 4pm rolled around, it was back to the hurried work of finishing the food preparation, cutting deserts, and filling drink dispensers. Teens from the youth center helped with this work, and made signs for the entry way, as well. Everything was set and the doors were ready to be opened. A few people showed up early but we were happy to welcome them. Once we gave thanks to God for the food, the line for the food formed and the rest is history.

We are so grateful for all that was provided for this meal by the generous people of Penns Valley. We had a little left over and blessed the volunteers who worked tirelessly that day. Thank you to everyone who was involved and we look forward to doing it again next year! We love Penns Valley!

New Activity: Quilting Club with Christine Hurd


Do your remember the amazing quilts that were auctioned off at our Fundraising Banquet this past April? Christine Hurd, the maker of two of those quilts, is volunteering her time to teach teens at the youth center to make a quilt that will then be auctioned off at the banquet this coming spring. Teens will use room 104 to cut, organize, and sew the material on Wednesdays at 4:30pm. We are excited to auction off an item made by the teens!

Fall Retreat: What’s Your Label?


We have all experienced a time where we wore a “label” that someone placed on us or that we let our circumstances define us as. Teens struggle with negative labels every day. We took 26 teens on an overnight retreat to Kamp K to talk about their labels and what is really true about them…that they are beautifully and wonderfully made. We also had a great time growing closer as a group through an outdoor challenge course and then cheered each other on as we participated in a zip line. It is during events like these that the teens open up about their struggles in life and real emotional healing begins.  We love to have fun but we also love to grow closer as the PVYC family!

Check out pictures from the retreat and other events on our Facebook page!

Harvest Fest: Pumpkins, Pies, Apples, and Sling Shots


A fall party wouldn’t be complete with out pumpkin carving, pie eating contest, and apple bobbing! Those are just a few of the activities the teens and staff competed in during our Harvest Party! After we carved our pumpkins and enjoyed an amazing dinner provided by the Grace UCC Ladies of Grace group, we piled onto a hay wagon and went for a ride down Sinking Creek Road to a nearby farm. Then the festivities ensued! A favorite of the night was our version of the Pumpkin Chunkin….we painted little gourds with glow-in-the-dark paint and the teens took turns using the sling shot to try and hit a target out in the corn field. By the end of the night, our faces were wet from apple bobbing and our stomachs full from the pie eating contest. We rounded out our night hanging out around the bonfire drinking warm apple cider. We were so glad not to get rained out this year!

Tailgate 2014:Let’s Go PV Rams!


What is one of the biggest traditions at any football game? A tailgate party! We love to show our support for PVYC students who participate in sports so this year we set up a tailgate at the homecoming football game for the Penns Valley Rams.  We had lots of great food and games! Not to mention, we got to meet so many new teens and community members! We hope to continue the tradition next year!

Back to School Bash!

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What better way to celebrate the start of the new school year than with our Back to School Bash! This year we did a Photo Scavenger Hunt around Penns Valley. Teens and staff drivers were broken up into four teams and given a list of places or things they needed to get a picture of their group with. Points were awarded based on the difficulty of acquiring the picture.20140903_190838

The list included things like: Picture on railroad tracks, picture with a farm animal, picture with PSU Coach Hand, or everyone in your group with a different color tongue. Groups raced around the valley (obeying the speed limit and all wearing seat belts, of course ) and the team with the highest points won!

ServeCamp 2014: Armed and Dangerous


If you were given the option during your summer break to go to a camp with the word “Serve” in the name, would you be excited to go?

Our teens were! For the third year in a row, we lined up service projects around Penns Valley and got our teens’, and staffs’, hands (and clothes) a little dirty. ServeCamp, as it is aptly named, is an opportunity for teens to give back to our community by serving in various ways. Our group this year consisted of 22 students and 8 of our mostly-volunteer staff, spending four days pulling weeds, painting, cleaning, mulching, and just as importantly, building relationships.

The theme for this year was “Armed and Dangerous”.  We wanted to encourage teens to discover the gifts and talents that they have and then equip them to use those gifts to impact the world.

We spent each day at different job sites around the valley. Teens cut down brush along Penns Creek at Corburn  Park and cleaned the playground there. Another group cleaned the picnic areas at the pool in Millheim. Other projects included painting the ballfield buildings at the Old Gregg School Community Center, stacking straw bales off of wagons, painting hay wagons, mulching trails and seating areas, and moving firewood at Krislund Camp, among other projects.

In the evenings we went back to Krislund Camp for dinner and then each night had a guest speaker challenge the teens to be “armed and dangerous, and reiterating to them how loved and important they each are individually. After a long days work, we closed out each night with a fire, s’mores and mountain pies.

Something new we did this year was rock wall climbing. Our group had to hike 1.5 miles up a OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAmountain to get to the wall and that was a challenge in itself that a few of our teens had to overcome. We were so proud of them when they did! Many teens made it to the top of the wall, but even the ones who didn’t at least tried and gave it their all. The teens learned how to encourage one another and this activity really strengthened the friendships of everyone in the group.

Despite the occasional groans about how tired they were, we heard teens talking about how they didn’t want the week to end and how they can’t wait for next year! Check out more pictures on our Facebook page!