Wednesday, November 23, 2011

St.Thomas welcomes new youth director

Billy Zei is also coaching freshman basketball

Express Staff Writer

Moving from the big city to Idaho can be a life-changing experience. For Billy Zei, it could also mean changing the lives of young people in the Wood River Valley.

Until recently, Zei (pronounced zay) was working at his father's commercial real estate firm in Dallas, Texas.

After living in the Wood River Valley for a year and a half, he landed two jobs that would take him away from real estate and involve him with the youth community in the valley.

Zei will now serve as the youth director at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Sun Valley, and coach the freshman basketball players at Wood River High School.

Zei grew up in the Episcopal Church, serving as an acolyte during ceremonies and attending Young Life programs with many of his close friends.

"We met twice a week to play sports, study scripture and talk about what was going on in our lives," he said.

He attended the University of Georgia for two years, and completed a degree in business administration at Dallas Baptist University.

Zei said The Youth Group he envisions, like the one of his own youth, would provide a safe place for kids to get together in fellowship and relate what they're reading in the Bible to their own experiences and challenges.

"Each week, it will be about what we're going through in our lives," he said.

"Hiring a terrific part-time youth director like Billy is a great first step in strengthening and growing that part of our church community," St. Thomas Church rector Kenneth Brannon said in a prepared statement. "He will be a welcome partner to Sara Gorby, who will continue to coordinate our ministry for younger children."

Youth programs at St. Thomas take place on Sundays for middle school students during the 9:30 worship service. High school students meet afterward.

Outside of church, Zei will involve youths in field trips and public service projects, including the Green Team efforts at energy-saving education, highway cleanup and recycling.

For more information, call Zei at 726-5349.

Tony Evans:

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