Christine (Pamas) Coners

Garden City Campus Life, '73-'77

I grew up in Garden City and attended Campus Life/YFC from 1973-1977 (yikes!). My older brother Steve was very involved and my parents supported and opened up their home for Campus Life meetings and events. I was so excited when I was finally old enough to be a part of Campus Life. My memory is a bit fuzzy lately, (hmm, wonder why?) so I can't recall the order of my leaders, but I know that Stan DeLaCour (affectionately known as “Stash”) and Peter Paternostro were two of my leaders, with others like Jan and Carol Cole helping out.

I grew up in a Christian home, went to church, Sunday School, Pioneer Girls and youth group. Even with that grounding, I remember how hard it was to be in high school. As a Christian, I felt so lonely, I knew I didn't fit in with the "world."  YFC and the Campus Life meetings were like a wellspring each week, where I could gather with other teens, have fun and be encouraged as a Christian. Our club was in Garden City, so there were other kids from my high school and I was also able to invite my friends. Finally I didn’t feel so alone, and though most of the kids at CL were not believers, it was a comfortable place I could be a Christian, where the Bible could be opened and God could be talked about and where I did not feel like I was from another planet. Unlike a church youth group, CL gave me the opportunity to model my Christian faith and love for the Lord in an atmosphere outside of church, with my peers who did not believe like I did.

The Campus Life leaders were wonderful role models to me, giving me the confidence to stay strong as a Christian in a secular world. I lived for each and every YFC event, whether it was the weekly meetings with crazy games, the winter weekends at Frost Valley, Ice Cream Bashes in my back yard, rallies at The Cathedral House in Garden City or going down to the Jersey Shore for a week in the summer. Perhaps the most unforgettable memories were the Haunted House and the bike trips. I remember how much time we invested in getting the haunted house ready for Halloween and the presentation of the Gospel at the end. I absolutely loved being a part of getting them together.

Campus Life bike trips were another significant milestone in my life.  I went on at least two in the Summer, and to this day I hold dear the memories and the accomplishment of biking for days and days, being pushed to the limit physically, but being able to do it!  Though it's been over 30 years since I went, I still talk about those bike trips with great pride!

Though most people think of YFC/CL as a ministry to reach young people for Christ, for me as a strong but shy Christian, it was a ministry that walked beside me, fed me, affirmed me, and gave me some significance throughout the 4 years of high school. The leaders were my role models, my mentors, and my friends. They modeled what it meant to love Jesus. These leaders and the YFC programs filled a void in my life. They left an indelible mark on me, which to this day, I am eternally grateful for. My story is not about radical change, but about a ministry that faithfully taught me what it means to be a follower of Jesus, how to love Him, and stood by me at a critical time of my life. That is why YFC means the world to me and I am so thankful for those years and for what YFC continues to do today to reach teens and introduce them to Jesus.

I still live in Garden City with my husband Bruce where we have raised four kids. My youngest is a senior in high school so we technically are winding down this stage of parenting, although I am not quite sure that it is any easier to be the parent of four young adults!  I met Bruce through some friends the end of my high school years. He too was raised in a Christian home. He has been running his own building contracting business for over 25 years. Now, after many years as a happy stay-at-home mom, I recently returned to my teaching profession and work as a special education teacher

We are members of New Hyde Park Baptist Church (me for 43 years!).  My four kids have all been a part of the youth programs and Bruce and I have been a part of many of the church ministries there as well.