Hannah Driscoll loves teenagers.
The Youth for Christ (YFC) youth leader spends most every day building relationships with young people.
“A lot of what I do is coffees,” Driscoll said. “Going to sporting events, shopping . . . living life with students, being real with them, letting them into my life. It’s pretty all-encompassing but I love it.”
The Caronport High School and Briercrest College and Seminary graduate says she found her calling to youth ministry when she worked as a camp counsellor. During her third year at Briercrest she met the director of Stoney Lake Bible Camp at Camp Days, an annual event where representatives from over 30 Christian camps gather at Briercrest to recruit campers and staff.
“He talked to me . . . and then followed up with me a few months later,” she said. “When I was a camp counsellor the next summer I wasn’t going to come back to Briercrest. But it was at camp where I fell in love with ministry. (I thought) ‘Wow! This is what I want to do. I love this. This is what gives me life. This is what the Lord created me for.’ So I came back to finish my degree.”
Doug Arbogast, director of Stoney Lake Bible Camp in Milfort, Sask. remembers the day seven years ago when Driscoll came by his display at Briercrest’s Camp Days.
“We talked and I told her about the opportunity to serve the Lord in a camp setting at Stoney Lake Bible Camp,” he recalled. “The next day she showed up at the display again and we chatted further. . . . When Hannah first came to Stoney I could see quickly that I wanted her to be part of our Stoney family long term. Wherever there is something happening she is usually at the epicentre. She deeply cares for her campers and staff. I see her work ethic as unusual compared to most of her peers. I think of diligence, thoughtfulness, caring, gracious, a gentle spirit and deeply in love with her Lord.”
Some of the campers Driscoll oversaw at Stoney Lake seven years ago are now cabin leaders who work alongside her at the camp. Cassie Vancamp is one of those people who says she has benefitted from her relationship with Driscoll.
“Hannah is one of the most amazing women I have ever known,” she said. “Her love, dedication, and commitment to Christ, as well as youth and ministry are so evident in her daily life, and shine through in all she does. She is just simply, an incredible woman of God and it has been such a blessing having the opportunity to spend my summers working with her.”
Driscoll has a unique contract with YFC that allows her to spend her summers working as the staff and program director at Stoney Lake and then as a YFC youth leader the rest of the year. During the school year her schedule is packed with events she leads in the Saskatoon area which helps her to meet area high school students. One of these public school events is called Gym Blast.
“I have a truck full of equipment and we go and unload it and play these crazy, fun, high energy games that are really great,” she explained.
During the two hour event Driscoll gives a short positive message built on Scriptural principles. Many of the students who experience Gym Blast are interested in more events YFC has to offer.
“(They say) ‘Yeah, Gym Blast was so fun. I want to do this more,’” Driscoll explained. “So then we tell them about our club Dimension Four (D-4) every Wednesday night.”
Besides leading the weekly youth group meeting, Driscoll also heads up a yearly YFC trip called “California Breakaway” which takes four charter buses of Saskatchewan teens to California on spring break.
“It’s awesome,” she said. “We do everything when we go – Disneyland, California Adventure, all the beaches. We serve at the soup kitchen downtown. The staff love mentoring and discipleship and so we start relationships with (the kids) through that. We get to share the gospel with them.”
Driscoll is currently preparing for one of her favourite events. In three weeks, she is taking 12 high school students to Jamaica on a YFC mission trip called Project Serve.
“I took a team last year too,” she beamed. “It was the scariest thing I’ve ever done but best thing I’d ever done too. We built a house for a family in partnership with a church there. We’re going to do the same thing this year.”
Preparing the team members for the trip provides Driscoll with great mentoring opportunities.
“It’s like discipling our kids all year long,” she said. “We start in September. We meet once a month and I have coffee with them every month. We have a seven hour meeting once a month where we do training a whole day. These kids are from all over Saskatoon and surrounding towns a couple of hours away. It’s really great.”
Driscoll hopes that students who participate in Project Serve come back with some important questions about their own lives.
“What has God given me and how am I going to use that?” she asked. “That’s our whole intention.”
Driscoll says her focus on serving others was shaped in Caronport. Her family moved to the village when she was in Grade 8.
“I’m a ‘Port kid,’” she said with a grin. “Caronport’s a really unique community. You’re all here doing this together. I fell in love with Christian community. There are so many people that invested in me – really mentored and discipled me. My high school teachers and even my college teachers . . . were really intentional with me and I honestly can say that’s why I do what I do now.”
There’s one particular word of advice from a Caronport mentor that helps guide Driscoll today.
“Never do anything you can do on your own. Only do the things where God can use you – where you know you’re going to be stretched.”