Winter Retreat Part 1

Spending a weekend with 180+ middle schoolers may sound scary for some, to be honest I was a little worried myself, but the things I was worried about might be different than what you may think. I was worried for two main reasons that had nothing to do with being surrounded by a lot of students at all actually, I was worried because: 1) I’d never been on a retreat before and had no idea what to expect and 2) Anyone who knows me well knows I’m kind of weird about not wanting to smell bad. Well I can tell you one thing for sure; this weekend was an amazing experience! This weekend was wild and crazy, and while not everyone will get this, but serving all weekend long may seem trying to some, it refreshed my soul and has made my heart so happy. I am going to break this post into two parts because there is just way too much for one. This first one will talk about all the activities we participated in and the second one will be about the worship and main sessions we attended.

Prayer Walk
For this the students wrote out their stories. This was the instructions we had: Think of your life as a movie, who are the main characters, supporting actors, villains and heroes? Write out your story so far. Include what your dreams are for the future. Who do you want to be? What are your dreams?

20130218-144242.jpg At each of the 6 different stations we talked about different sections of our stories, asking the students to really dig deep and think about their lives.

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20130218-144502.jpg One of the things I was really encouraged by during this section of the retreat is that the person who took point on leading this activity was a college student. I remember being a college freshman and I was nowhere near as mature as he was. I think that it was a great example for the middle school guys and girls in our group to see. College is a tough time with a lot of temptation but for them to see him so on fire for God was amazing. Although he may have been one of the younger leaders in our group that in no way diminished his ability to speak God’s truth into those students lives.

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Gnomes

20130218-145035.jpg There were two gnomes, Brad and Chad that the students took around camp and took pictures with.

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Free Time/ Tournaments
There was a retreat center that we spent a couple of hours at on Saturday. We had some time to sit down and hang out, play gaga ball (still not sure how to play it)

20130218-145325.jpg 9 square, ping pong and practice for the talent show that was later that evening. There were also a couple of tournaments that the students could sign up for, basketball and dodge ball. The leaders had a game to see who would play the students for the championship.

20130218-150125.jpg in case you were wondering the students totally won!! The other tournament was students vs. the worship band. The team that was in the finals for that was an all girl team, and they were intense, unfortunately the girls lost to the band.

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Talent Show
Wow is all I can say, both about the talents the students displayed and the way the audience encouraged those on stage. It was really wonderful to see the students in the audience encourage the people on stage when they got stage fright. One student sang the tarantula song, which if you’ve never heard is actually pretty awesome, here is a YouTube version which in no way does justice to what the student sang. [here] Let me tell you the talent show was one of the highlights of the weekend. The talents these students have at such a young age is amazing. It is wonderful to see the beginning of the great things these talents will become as these students grow into adults. We even learned something about the host of the talent show, he can make whale noises! Each of the students had 2 minutes to display their talents, they ranged from singing, instrument playing, ballet dancing, standup comedy, drawings, to name just a few. After the talent show finished up, which was around midnight, there was a quick dance party!

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