What a weekend! Where did the summer go? Our annual student ministry retreat is timed to kick off the new school year – some kids literally have the first day of school the next day! This year was a blast. Our theme was #TWEETABLE, but I’ll go into that more on my next blog post.
I’m starting my fifth year as the youth pastor with this group and I am loving the connection that these past four years has formed. From the moment the busses pulled in to High Point Camp with kids leaning out yelling greetings to me (I went ahead to set up), to the end, I just kept finding myself thinking I love my job.
We played games, we bonded, we spent time in three teaching sessions, and two small group times, I launched kids way too high on the blob, there was water tubing, water sliding, paintball, zipline, volleyball, contests, prizes and more. It was an exhausting and amazing time.
Our group has a handful of traditions that have been around for who knows how long, two of which come into play on the retreat. The first is seniors making a senior shirt and wearing it one of the days – see the picture below. In recent years it’s always been tie dye with slogans and whatever written all over them. The other tradition is the candle lighting ceremony. It’s basically a massive time of affirmation, with kids going to someone, lighting their candle and telling them something special about them that they love. Once all the candles are lit, people start blowing out candles and relighting over and over, trying to get to as many as possible. It really is a beautiful hour or two as we’re all lit by light signifying something good passed on to another. I love the photo at the top of this post; it’s two brothers (a senior and an eighth grader) – I found myself thinking as I snapped that I hope I see my own sons someday in a similar moment.
All in all, it was a fantastic retreat with a great group of kids and adults. Definitely a great start to the new school year!