Mission Statement : What is the Gate?

The Gate is a network of people committed to creating a place for young people in this community. A safe place to be known as individuals, to be encouraged to grow and learn, and to encounter Christ’s love. The Gate Youth Association is a 501(c)(3), non-profit corporation whose mission is to demonstrate Christ’s love to the youth of our community through academic, social, and spiritual activities. Our hope is to bring youth into a relationship with Christians who can share their faith. Our vision is a community where future generations experience, follow, and serve Christ.

Vision

Our vision is a community where future generations experience, follow, and serve Christ. Considering that Tuesday Church Lunch as been in existence for 30 years and our afterschool programming has been in place for 15 years, we are currently seeing our vision come alive.We see past Gate students already reaching various stages of adulthood from high school graduate to midlife and many are living proof of our mission statement.We see our past students serving as influential men and women of faith and goodwill in our community, our nation and our world. They are now making certain that those around them are known, encouraged and encounter Christ’s unconditional love just like they did while participating at The Gate.

Frequently Asked Questions

We try to anticipate questions you might have about our programs and provide the answers here. If you need additional information, please feel free to contact us.
 
  1. What is The Gate?
    The Gate is a network of people committed to creating a place for young people in this community. A safe place to be known as individuals, to be encouraged to grow and learn, and to encounter Christ’s love. The Gate Youth Association is a 501(c)(3), non-profit corporation whose mission is to demonstrate Christ’s love to the youth of our community through academic, social, and spiritual activities. Our hope is to bring youth into a relationship with Christians who can share their faith. Our vision is a community where future generations experience, follow, and serve Christ.
  2. What ministries does The Gate offer?
    Currently during the pandemic we are limiting the number of our participants in order to carefully and safely execute covid protocols.Presently we are open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 1-3 for quiet study and wifi access.We offer gym access, gaming of all kinds, crafting and cooking opportunities plus snacks and dinner every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons from 3 to 5:30. Volunteer staff interacts with the students as they socialize, seek advice, play games, get help with homework, use available computers, and hear a short inspirational talk.
    Currently during the pandemic we are limiting the number of our participants in order to carefully and safely execute covid protocols.
    ACCESS youth group is from 6-8 on Thursdays.
    All activities are free for 7th-12th graders and masks are required.
  3. What is Tuesday Lunch
    Every Tuesday during the school year, community volunteers prepare a lunch of “teen comfort food” for 150 high school students and staff. Students walk across the street from Central High School, eat together, and hear a short inspirational talk. The program, now in its 31st year, is funded through donations and small fee charged to participants.The program is on “pause” until face to face classes resume.
  4. When did The Gate get Started?
    Chris Robertson, First Baptist Youth Pastor at the time, brought the idea to the Youth Board who got excited about it and presented it to the Deacon Board in late 2003. The idea was presented to the community and the excitement for it has grown since. The Gate Youth Association was formed as an Oregon corporation in April of 2005.
  5. What influence will First Baptist Church have over activities at The Gate?
    Although The Gate Youth Association is a separate 501(c)(3) non-profit, the Board of Directors must have 5 of 9 members who are members of the church and 1 of the 9 must be an officer or elder of the church or on the staff of the church. This provides representatives of First Baptist the “majority” position on the board. The by-laws of The Gate Youth Association also specify that if “may not take actions or solicit funds, the acceptance of which would require action inconsistent with the Statement of Faith of First Baptist Church of Independence.” Otherwise, The Gate is free to operate as it sees fit to meet its objectives. 
  6. Will any other organizations be able to use the facility?
    Although the focus of The Gate is on youth, it will be available for many other uses. Small Groups might hold a banquet. Seniors might host a potluck in The Gate. The YMCA will most likely take advantage of gym space when it is available. Church league basketball is certainly a possibility. Rentals for private events are also possible within the context of the mission of The Gate.
  7. How do I stay informed about The Gate?
    You can always talk with one of our board members who would love to talk about The Gate. We also publish a quarterly newsletter that we would be happy to mail to you. Just Contact Us. Also follow us on FB, Instagram and Twitter.

Staff

Joyce Wahl
Executive Director

“I believe it takes the whole community to fully raise a child. Community collaborations working together to help all youth maximize their potential excites me!”

 

Joyce has lived in Independence over forty years. She was a professional educator for 35 years serving as both a middle school teacher and a high school administrator. She spent equal time serving in youth ministries at her church. Joyce has assisted with The Gate in various capacities over the last 13 years and still finds it a joy to serve alongside the board and the gracious Gate volunteers as well as interact with all the students.

Donn Wahl
Development Director

Donn grew up in McMinnville, Oregon and has worked as an engineer, business manager and small business owner. He is now retired and an original board member and officer of The Gate Youth Association. He serves as a Financial Secretary for First Baptist Church and volunteers with the Awana Clubs and the YMCA in addition to his service at The Gate. He has served on the Central School District Board since June of 2013.

Seth Halligan
Program Director

“I am so excited how The Gate will change our town, our community and impact our world. It is so encouraging to see how the community is willing to invest in the future by pouring into our kids.”

 

Seth grew up in Monmouth and is a Central High Grad. He taught overseas for years with a Christian teaching organization in various countries. He has recently returned to the area with his wife and two children and is excited to be a part of the team leading The Gate to its next steps.

Board Members

Ben Bobeda
President

The Gate provides a place for youth to be safe and have fun while connecting with adult mentors who can encourage them and guide them in their journey through life. Serving at The Gate is the most meaningful thing I do outside of my own family.

 

Ben was born and raised in Polk County where he has gotten to know both Monmouth and Independence well over the years. He has been involved in youth ministry in various capacities as well as managing a small local business throughout his working career. He has volunteered weekly at The Gate since its inception, coordinated the building of the youth center and now serves as chairman of the board of directors.

Chris Robertson
Vice President

“Fifteen years of working in youth ministry has given me a deep passion to see youth develop healthy relationships. The Gate is exactly what Polk County needs to give all youth a positive place to grow up.”

 

Chris grew up in Independence and Dallas, Oregon and has worked as a youth pastor, concrete finisher and small business owner. He is now lead pastor at Way of Life Fellowship in Salem. He served as the youth pastor at Independence First Baptist Church where he built the vision for The Gate. He is passionate about collaborating and championing the mission of The Gate.

Mike Ainsworth
Secretary

“I am invested whole heartedly in this community, I always want to be the lead cheerleader. Kids have purpose. I want to help them find it and pursue it.”

Dustin Cotton
Board Member

TBD

Pastor Mike Parks
Board Member

“My hope is to have a safe place like The Gate for youth to enjoy enriching activities, hear the good news of Christ, and grow in maturity and wholeness with Him.”

Mike and his wife have lived in the Monmouth/Independence area since 1999 and raised three children who each graduated from Central High School.He has been in fulltime ministry for over 25 years serving as a Youth Pastor, Education Director and is currently the lead Pastor at First Baptist of Independence.He can be seen most Thursday’s at The Gate, has spoken at Tuesday Lunch and volunteers with AWANA clubs.

Shiela Duluk
Board Member

“Youth are the future of our community. They carry many of the responsibilities that adults do in our culture, and deserve a safe place where they can come and just be kids again. I am excited to see The Gate be that place, filled with laughter, joy and smiles, but also a place where youth can feel encouraged, and safe enough to share their burdens with caring, supportive, loving adults, and know that they are not alone.”

 

Shiela grew up in Southern California and has been working with kids and youth since she was in highschool. She has worked as an AVID Tutor, YMCA childcare site director, administrative assistant for various organizations, and is currently the office administrator at First Baptist Church, Independence . She has also volunteered as a crisis counselor for community agencies in Southern California, and most recently is serving as a local PTA President, and on several community committees with Central School District. She is excited to be part of collaborative team at The Gate as they work to develop the programs that will have the most impact and opportunities for all youth in our community.

Tim Barry
Board Member

TBD

Kari Meyer
Board Member

“The Gate gives hope to our community and adds necessary light in this dark time”

 

Kari is a lifelong part of this community and has spent most of that time in the Independence First Baptist church and in the Central school district. Through the years, her role has shifted from student, to educator, to parent (and educator). She has been excited about The Gate since the initial dream was shared, and joyfully serves on the board to connect to the schools and students of our community.