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Jake and Carole Parrott Pass the Torch as Youth Advisors

By Susan Shinn Turner

After 10 years and three children in the youth program, Jake and Carole Parrott are passing the torch as youth advisors.

When their oldest daughter, Lauren Miller, came through the youth program, the Parrotts say, there were already strong leaders in place: Steve and Celia Jarrett, Amy Ritchie, Don and Marsha Tucker, Eric and Kathy Norris, and Ron and Janice Raper.

So the Parrotts became advisors when their daughter Caroline entered sixth grade.

They don’t deny it was a trying time.

“Middle school is just hard,” Carole says.

One meeting, Jake remembers, they waited 15 minutes for the rowdy group to quiet down.

But they all survived the middle school years, he adds. “And as the kids got older, it got better. That group of kids was pretty special. They ended up being tremendous leaders.”

When Caroline entered high school, Jake and Carole became high school advisors. By then their twins, Carsyn and Harrison, were in the middle school program. The Parrotts worked with Ernie Kirchin and Corey and Jennifer Gebhardt, before the Gebhardts’ young daughters were born.

As the group grew, it meshed well, the Parrotts say.

“They came into their own,” Carole says. “With the high school, you have more opportunities to go on mission trips to get to know the kids better.”

Over the years, the Parrotts have worked with five different youth ministers, and they’ve all had their strengths, they say.

They always planned to leave when the twins graduated, which happened this past June. The state LYO gathering was Jake’s last event, and Nashville was Carole’s.

“It really has been fun,” Carole says of their time as youth advisors. “When they bless the seniors each year, I love it and hate it, because you do miss them. We saw kids come to youth who were not afraid to invite their friends. And then those friends came back, and we had some of those families join the church. All of these kids have really jumped in.”

“Our leadership has been such that the kids want to come back,” Jake says.

And he’s learned from the kids, too, he says. “They think a lot more than we give them credit. They’ve taught me to think about things in a different way. We’ve had some frank discussions with kids I wouldn’t have had conversation with otherwise.”

That includes meeting kids from other high schools throughout the county, and exchange students from Germany and Brazil.

“Those memories are really powerful,” Jake says.

Thank you to Carole and Jake for 10 years of love and leadership with the St. John’s youth!