Parents and families from all around the U.S. and Canada traveled to Providence Christian College for Family Weekend, October 15th-17th, to spend time with their children or siblings. Family Weekend is a unique Providence tradition where families have the opportunity to visit their students in their new abode and live a few days in their shoes.
Some parents, like Andy and Brenda Cammenga, parents of sophomore Shelli Cammenga, arrived a few days early to enjoy a little extra time with their daughter. Most parents, however, arrived on Thursday night or Friday morning. They attended classes with their students, then chapel, lunch, and more classes. Kim Postma’s parents, Will and Nona Postma, escaped the hot and humid weather in Missouri and arrived during Pasadena’s cold and rainy weekend. They were able to attend classes such as Children’s Literature among others.
On Friday night, families were invited to attend a time of games inspired by the TV show “Minute to Win It.” Debra Gorter, who was an “orphan” for the weekend, said, “I really liked that it wasn’t just for students whose families came, but everyone was welcomed and could be adopted into other families… the games were very creative!” She was adopted into her boyfriend, Bryan Punter’s, family for the weekend. On Saturday, most families went out to lunch or dinner around the LA area. Teri Lehart, mother of sophomore Christine Lehart, showed her around Pasadena where she grew up. Her parents then took her and Christine’s boyfriend, Mark Hogan, to eat steak for dinner.
On Saturday night, Dr. Aaron Belz emceed a Providence open mic night where students shared music, drama, poetry, and comedy, among other talents, with the Providence Community. Dave Ligtenberg, the men’s Resident Director, started up the night with a comical song written about a well-known Providence visitor, Michael Ligtenberg, who, as David sang, “Ain’t a student, he’s my brother!” Tim Vander Meulen, an English major, read a few of his poems, which received many laughs. The Providence Men’s Quartet sang “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”and Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.” Mark Hogan proved that he could sing higher than any male at Providence during the set. The quartet also offered a fancy prize to anyone who could suggest the best creative name for their group. Dr. McIlhenny boldly (and repeatedly) suggested the name, “Six to Two” alluding to the ratio of women to men at Providence. Libby Barnard warmed the autumn night by theatrically reading, When the Frost Is on the Pumpkin by James Whitcomb Riley. Brittany Sims led a sing along to “Don’t Stop Believing” with the crowd. Finally, Galen Tuggy closed the night by playing a lovely and prayerful song by Jon Foreman called, “Your Love Is Strong.”
After the church services on Sunday, parents were invited to attend a barbecue lunch provided by the staff, closing the weekend on a good note. Diral Tyler from Mesa, Arizona, father of junior Brett Tyler, said that the open mic. night was definitely the most exciting part of family weekend and stated, “Providence has major university talent wrapped up in a cozy Christian college.” Mr. and Mrs. Cammenga enjoyed seeing the new Providence campus so they could have a context for everything Shelli talks about. They also enjoyed going to American Literature, taught by Dr. Belz. In the class, they read some works by Ralph Waldo Emerson who is generally considered quite provocative. However, Dr. Belz looked at it from a reformed Christian perspective and the class analyzed it from there. Teri Lehart conveyed her appreciation of Family Weekend by saying, “What I enjoyed most was seeing the heart of the students. I’ve heard that Providence is very small, but as a parent I see that it is very mighty.”
Family Weekend was a huge success, providing a good chance for parents to check out Providence’s new campus and spend quality time with their beloved children.