CAA Experiences the Rhythm of Giving

June 28, 2019 | Education | Larry Hiday

Music trip: noun 1. reward for hard work put into practices and performances by band/choir members, often entailing a few performances and lots of entertainment (e.g. Six Flags, Disneyland or somewhere exotic); 2. an enticement by a school to convince students to join band and/or choir classes. 3. a service-oriented trip, designed to use God-given talents of music and a love for people, to make the lives of others better.

This year Nita Yuros, Columbia Adventist Academy (CAA) music director, chose the third definition and headed to Paradise, Calif., with the band and choir to help victims of the Paradise Camp Fire. “This year I wanted to begin a new tradition of service on our music trip,” she explains. “Students would still have the opportunity of performing and sharing the quality music that hours of practice brought and, in addition, share the focus of giving instead of getting. Complaints from previous trips were about the lack of food and entertainment time, but you know that every person on this trip experienced the incredible blessing of sharing and serving when the only complaint was about not getting to return the following day to the place where they had served and felt needed. In the end, many more people were rewarded — both students and community members — and I’d do it again in a heartbeat … or maybe even a drumbeat.”

Chad Carlton, staff member and boyhood resident of Paradise, participated in the trip. “Seeing the church where I was baptized and preached my first sermon reduced to a pile of rubble caused my heart to ache. I am thankful we were able to bring encouragement and hope to people I know and care about,” he says. He expressed joy in witnessing students providing relief and assistance to victims incredibly grateful for teenagers willing to help them. One relief worker in the community told the students they revived his hope in their generation.

CAA’s musical mission was a partnership between the school and constituent churches who helped fund the trip, including hundreds of dollars in gift cards from Paradise businesses for Camp Fire victims. David Smith, Meadow Glade Church youth pastor, helped organize the trip and was impacted by “the victim’s stories of devastating loss and miraculous survival.”

In addition to the work performed in the community, several students interviewed victims. They plan to release a short film with stories and testimonies on CAA’s website,