All posts in “Students”

Students Youth Group 6:30 p.m.

Students: High school and middle school
Rooms: Student rooms on lower level, use east entrance

Our Wednesday night student gatherings are our primary way to worship, grow and serve together. Students will experience social time with other students their age, games and interactive activities, high-energy worship with a band, and a transforming message from God’s Word. (No youth group on March 24 due to spring break.)

We will follow CDC guidelines for face coverings and social distancing. Face coverings will be required at all times while in the building.

Family Schooling Consultations

Need some friendly help with schooling your kids? On Monday, Oct. 26, two former teachers will host free, individual family consultations at our church. You can get specific, confidential help with questions or challenges you are experiencing.

Who: Families with primary through high school students.
When: Monday evening, Oct. 26.
Where: Rooms 284c and 284D in Fellowship Hall at First Free Rockford. Masks and social distancing required.
Hosts: Former teachers Diane Geddes and Suzanne Falconer.
Register: Sign up for a 40-minute time slot below.
Slots available: 6, 6:45, 7:30 and 8:15 p.m.




School year prayer of dedication

We asked several people from our church family who are teachers and students to record a corporate prayer of dedication and God’s blessing on our students, teachers, administrators and staff — from preschool to graduate or trade school, or home school.



Written by:
Jim Killam & Rob Ullrich

Allegra Griffin (student)
Emma Joiner (student)
Heather Schlueter (teacher)
Rob & Cherice Ullrich (teachers)

Baptize Me by Benjamin James (Musicbed license)


uNIGHT 2020

uNIGHT 2020

Citywide Youth Worship Gathering

Join us outdoors at Summerwood for worship music by a citywide collective band, plus prayer and a special message. Registration is limited and social distancing is required.

When: 6–7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 21
Where: Summerwood Amphitheater (lawn and seats) at First Free Rockford
Who: Students in middle school and high school and youth leaders
Capacity: Limited to 300 pre-registered attendees
How do I register? Click the button below.


  • We will sit on the lawn or in Summerwood seats, in groups of 10 or fewer from same household. The lawn will be marked with spray paint in 8-foot circles with 8 feet between all circles. You also may bring lawn chairs, a sun umbrella and/or a blanket to sit on.
  • Social distancing is required. Masks are optional.
  • Everyone must enter through the main Summerwood entrance. An accessible entrance will be open for those with special mobility needs.
  • Summerwood restrooms will be available. Limit one person at a time.
  • No food and drink. Water bottles allowed.
  • No physical contact such as handshakes, hugs, fist bumps, etc.
  • The event will be canceled if inclement weather occurs. Notification will go out by email and on our website. If unexpected weather occurs during the event, attendees will need to exit immediately.


  • Parking attendants will assist directing people to the best parking locations. Those with special mobility needs should park to the left of Summerwood near the accessible entrance.



Graduation during COVID-19

Our high-school students’ lives have been scrambled by COVID-19. Meredith Domanico, Director of Student Ministries, talks with two new graduates about what they miss, what God has been teaching them … and what they hope for when society re-opens.

Meredith Domanico (facilitator), Director of Student Ministries
Sierra Heckler, homeschool graduate
Kenaniah Kelley, GED graduate

Summer Eyes by Airplanes (Musicbed license)

Opinions expressed are the individuals’ own, and do not necessarily represent First Free Rockford, Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA).



Snow Camp 2020

Snow Camp 2020 was packed with fun winter activities and powerful experiences with God and our community of high school students and staff.

Filmed and edited by David Peterson, Technical Arts Director
Interviews conducted by Meredith Domanico, Director of Student Ministries
Music by Awoltalk (“We Rise” / Musicbed license)

Students Fall Festival 2019

High school and junior high students: Bring your friends and your apple-bobbing and pumpkin-carving skills to our first Students Fall Festival! Carnival-style games, food and a fun time connecting with old and new friends. It’s all FREE! 6:30–8:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18 at First Free Rockford.

Meet Clayton Ganziano

Clayton Ganziano has served First Free Rockford for two years as middle school coordinator. Now he’s also coordinating Rooted, our young-adults ministry. Clayton and Hannah just celebrated their first wedding anniversary.

We talked with Clayton about church youth groups, what kids are looking for … and how middle school and young adult ministries actually have a lot to do with one another.


What did your faith look like, growing up?

I grew up in an EV Free church. My family was very involved there. But once I was in high school, my older brother and I just didn’t connect well in the youth group. So we tried a lot of different churches, places that our friends were going or that we had heard about.

The Chapel, a multi-site church in the Chicago area, had just opened a campus at my high school, McHenry High School. We checked it out as a family and it was a place we were OK with going. My mom wanted us to get plugged into the youth group, but I didn’t want to go. That was a whole lot of new people. It was a bigger church and that youth group was going to be big and overwhelming.

The group met in Grayslake, so for the McHenry campus, the students would gather at a Burger King. Then a church bus would pick everyone up and drive them to youth group. So at my mom’s insistence, I tried it one night. As I’m sitting in Burger King, this lady walks in. And she’s like, “Hey, are you getting on the bus?” And I’m like, “Yeah … who are you?”

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Color Wars Title Graphic

Color Wars 2019

Invite your friends and join us for Color Wars 2019 at First Free Rockford! Element HSM and Heartbeat MSM are pulling out all the stops with water balloons, challenge courses, lawnmower slip and slide, a huge color war, and our all-new Color Blast ride. Popcorn, snow cones, and other snacks will also be served. This event is for ALL students entering grades 6 through 12 in the fall and is FREE.

– Wear white clothing over bathing suits
– Bring towel and extra set of clothes
– Waiver required for lawn mower slip and slide and Color Blast

The evening will end with a time of high-energy worship and a brief lesson from Student Ministries team.

A waiver must be signed to ride the rides at Color Wars 2019.


Download 2019 Waiver



Footage of last year’s Color Wars event.

Big Day of Serving promotes importance of giving back

Registration is now live for First Free Rockford’s Big Day of Serving, a special time dedicated to volunteering and community connection.

First Free has partnered this year with the Rockford Park District, the Rockford Rescue Mission and Rockford Public Schools to help with cleanup and maintenance work at several locations. Volunteers will gather from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 18, at Sinnissippi Park, the Rescue Mission and the STEAM Academy at Haskell for the work.

This annual event is open to the public and typically draws more than 150 people to help. It’s a great opportunity to invite family, friends and neighbors to participate, and it also emphasizes the importance of serving, which is central to First Free’s mission and vision.

“We see the value in partnering with our community to go, tell and show the love of God in the city of Rockford and around the world,” said Meredith Domanico, First Free’s director of student ministries and organizer of Big Day of Serving.

“It’s important to give back, and Big Day of Serving creates an opportunity to do that, to defeat the apathy of just being here and letting things happen around us. This is a chance to be part of something, to take ownership of the place where we live and do our part to help make it beautiful.”

Site leaders will oversee the work at each location. Domanico said there are jobs for anyone who’s interested in signing up no matter your skillset or physical abilities.

Click here to register for Big Day of Serving times, locations and T-shirt sizes. Volunteers are asked to wear closed-toe shoes and casual/work clothes, and bring work gloves. All other equipment will be provided at the individual sites.

Call First Free Rockford at 815-877-7046 for more information.