New Celebrate Recovery student program starts

KC Bunch
Celebrate Recovery has a program geared to help middle school and high school aged-students navigate the complexities and issues that accompany young adulthood in our changing times. The program is called “The Landing” and the Little White Church will launch its first season of meetings with two separate programs.
One program for both middle school and high school-aged youth will meet starting next Wednesday, Sept. 8, from 5:45-8 p.m. at the church building, and will coincide with the regular youth program meetings. A second and parallel program for high school students only will begin meeting on Sundays starting Sept. 12 from 6-8 p.m.
The Landing is a 52-week, faith-based program designed to be a safe, healing place where teens can be encouraged to live a Christ-honoring life of freedom and hope in trying times. This program is an off-shoot of its parent program, Celebrate Recovery, also a faith-based 12-step program that is used not just in the U.S., but around the world and has helped countless thousands to find hope in tragedy, freedom from addiction and help to overcome life’s many issues. Celebrate Recovery has many, many off-shoot programs, including Celebrate Recovery Cultural Communities, Native Nations and Celebration Place, which is a ministry for children ages 5-12, and many others.
Ben Larson, youth pastor at Little White Church, stated that the  impetus starting The Landing was two-fold. The first was one of the leaders at Celebrate Recovery, Lynn Edwards  and other participants had a heart-felt desire to reach youth in the Hill City area with “hurts, habits, and hangups” as is stated on the Landing’s website.
The second reason was that he and other youth leaders began seeing quite a few youth opening up in smaller groups about issues they were observing or even experiencing themselves. These reasons pointed Larson, Edwards and the leadership at the church to begin these programs to help youth find hope and answers in dealing with the varying problems that plague young people as they mature. These might be problems with bullying, body-image, as well as issues with alcohol, drugs, and sexual abuse and temptation.
Larsen said the encouragement that The Landing offers to young people is helping them to find real truth and not feeling alone in their struggles.
“So many in this day and age are claiming their ‘own truth’ without real authority and The Landing gives teens the truth of Jesus—the source of truth, giving them a firm foundation to build on,” he said.
He also said that being able to open up in a secure, safe, and anonymous environment together helps young people to understand they are not alone, that they each struggle, gives them a sense of security and a sense of being in the struggle together, not alone.
The Landing program in Hill City is the only one in western South Dakota, and Larsen believes the closest one to here is in Wyoming. Some of the many topics that are touched on are not limited to alcohol and drugs, but also include depression, anxiety, body-image, eating disorders, bullying and many many others. The program helps young people get to the root causes of these issues, in order to cope with the struggles and overcome them and live a life of victory
The parent-program of Celebrate Recovery (CR) has been meeting at the Little White Church now for many years and has helped many local citizens as well as visitors to our area, through the pain of addiction and codependency, and many other dysfunctional issues. Some Sturgis Rally attendees look forward to joining the CR group here when they are in the Black Hills every year.
The Landing program focuses on the Beatitudes, the points from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, to help young people breakdown the cycle of dysfunction in their lives and lead them to experience joy and find hope through dynamic worship, engaging study and application of godly principles, and development of meaningful friendships. 
The parent-program of Celebrate Recovery originated in 1991 at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., and has grown to thousands of locations and almost a dozen off-shoot ministries like The Landing. Celebrate Recovery has grown, not just in churches, but in prisons, universities, missions and recovery houses the world over.

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