Reaching Out to the 'Sundial Kids' in Oshkosh

OSHKOSH, Wis.
A most unusual gathering took place in Oshkosh on the last Tuesday night of December, 2009. The polished floor of the gym smiled silently as tables and metal folding chairs were set up and boxes of food, games and prizes were dropped unceremoniously on its face. Oh, the stories that old floor could tell. Days of basketball games, dances and other recreational activities have carved memories into each wooden board.

But that night was different and there was an excitement that hung in the air. That floor was about to offer its service to a group of young people whom God, Himself, had called to be there.

It all started months ago around the downtown sundial landmark. A place open to the public. A place right in the hub of things. A place just begging for young people to hang out.

"Build it and they will come," they say. And so they do! Pink hair, green hair, red streaks and plenty of skin piercings. Baggy pants or tight jeans. Bare midriffs and cleavage. Tattoos, heavy eye makeup and still more piercings! This is the look of the young people, ages 12 and up to 20-something that dominates the scene at the 'sundial.'

Tuesday nights draw the largest group of young people from Oshkosh and surrounding areas to meet at the sundial where they "hang," smoke and share brief discussions about their lives. The group is "family" for many of them. Dysfunctional home lives have certainly played a major role in the need for most of these ki ...

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