New youth director at First Presbyterian Church

Thursday, April 4, 2013
Loretta George/Tribune photo Holly Samborski is the new First Presbyterian Church youth director.

First Presbyterian Church, Fort Scott, has called Holly Samborski to serve as their new youth director.

Samborski started in her new position on April 1.

Her duties will include "mainly youth but helping to oversee all the Christian education along with the Christian Education Committee. Youth group and Sunday School will fall under my duties," Samborski said.

Originally from Excelsior Springs, Mo., Samborski, 28, comes to First Presbyterian from her position as youth director at John Knox Presbyterian Church in Kansas City, Mo.. She has a bachelors degree in Christian education from Hannibal-LaGrange University, Hannibal, Mo., with an emphasis in youth ministry and missions.

Samborski knew she had a calling to youth ministry while in high school.

"I had an experience while in high school leading a group of middle school kids on a retreat. I left that weekend with a sense of peace knowing that is where my heart is," she said.

Finding the position at First Presbyterian in Fort Scott was happenstance.

"I stumbled across this position when I was on Facebook. I kept talking myself in and out of applying," Samborski said. "The first conversation with Jared I had, I knew. I over analyze everything and I have not questioned this at all. Everything seemed to click."

Jared Witt is the pastor of First Presbyterian. John and Christa Horn are elders of the congregation who serve on the personnel committee. They along with Connie Banwart, an elder who chairs the Christian Education Committee, and Witt, led the search for the new youth director, according to a press release from First Presbyterian.

The mission statement of First Presbyterian Church reads: "Because we have been loved by God, we respond by serving the world, celebrating the life-giving message of Jesus Christ, and becoming the people God created us to be." Samborski will be charged with helping young people and their families live out this mission, according to the press release.

"Holly is the right person for this role," Witt said.

"We interviewed several gifted candidates, but Holly's experience, passion and vision were impressive. She felt like she could really plug into what we're trying to do right now," he said.

Samborski brings years of youth ministry experience, not only at John Knox Presbyterian Church, but Parkville Presbyterian Church, Parkville, Mo., and First Presbyterian Church, Hannibal, Mo. She has also been involved in mission trips to Jamaica; Costa Rica; San Antonio, Texas; and Joplin, Mo. That focus of serving others will be a big part of her new job here.

"She is going to have kind of a crash course beginning," Witt said. "The very first Sunday she's here we're trying an experiment. We're gathering in our work clothes for scripture reading and prayer and then heading out to work on service projects. In late April she is taking our middle school kids to a retreat in Kansas City. Then she'll go with our high school students for a week of mission in New York City in May and to the Presbyterian Triennium, a nationwide event for high school students at Purdue University in Indiana, in July. And all our younger kids will be involved in church camps throughout June. So she'll get to know our kids on the road."

Knowing that there is a difference between living in a city and a small community did give Witt some pause for thought -- but not for long.

"My only concern was whether this Kansas City resident could shift her life to a smaller city like Fort Scott." Witt said. "But she grew up in Excelsior Springs, Mo., so I think she'll do fine. I'm actually looking forward to our kids getting to spend time on day trips and retreats in the Kansas City with her."

"I couldn't be more thrilled to be back in a small town. I like the idea of having a slower pace. I get the feeling from this place it's perfect for that," Samborski said.