YOKE Story by Stephanie Enger

My seventh and eighth grade years of middle school were critical to who I am today. I was first introduced to YOKE when YOKE started at Powell Middle School – Powell was the eighth club in YOKE’s history. My cheerleading coach, Lee (Fersner) Harms, was one of my YOKE leaders, and she drove me and my sister home from club each Tuesday.

My friends and I also spent a lot of time outside of YOKE hanging out and riding around in Lee’s yellow convertible Volkswagen Cabriolet. We were so glad to be riding with someone other than our parents and thought we were so cool to be riding in a convertible around Powell. Back then spending time with YOKE Folk was called “contact work,” but today we call it Kid Time. I had so much fun with Lee and the rest of the YOKE Folk at Powell that I gave up going to my eighth grade prom to attend spring YOKE Camp. The camp was called “The Hogwood Arts Festival.” It was so much fun, and I was “hooked!”

In high school, I continued my involvement in YOKE as a Future Folk, eventually becoming a YOKE Folk after graduating from Powell. I served as a YOKE leader and Team Leader at Powell for seven years. During that time I got married to my husband, Eric, and we served in YOKE together. After college we moved to Anderson County – where I was teaching – and started the Anderson County club that continues to meet at Norris Middle today. In 2003, I moved from teaching to work at YOKE full-time.

Since then, I have had two beautiful daughters and cut back to part-time but continue to coordinate the Norris and Powell clubs as well as Future Folk, and I serve as the Community Outreach Director. I have learned a lot by serving in and working for YOKE over the years. There isn’t room to list everything, but some of the things I’ve learned are how to make a flour bomb, the best way to pie someone in the face, how to chug a Mountain Dew, and how to perform many of YOKE’s skits.

However, the greatest things I’ve learned are how to serve and love middle school kids, what it means to have a consistent quiet time, how to develop college leaders, how to lead a kid to Christ, how to give a YOKE talk, how to plan YOKE camp, and how to build relationships with middle school kids, college students, Team Leaders, and school staff. My job at YOKE can be summarized by one of my favorite verses, Ezekiel  22:30, which says “I looked for a man among them to stand in the gap…” That is what I get to do every day – stand in the gap for middle school kids – and I love it!