This weekend I went as a Chaperon to the Youth Group Retreat. It was at the T.A.G Youth Camp in Metropolitan Lynchburg, TN. The theme of the Retreat was “Feel the Burn”. It was about how they/we can get on fire for God and stay on fire. We had about 14 kids go. In addition to our group, there were groups from the Snellville Church of Christ (Snellville, GA) and the Broadway Church of Christ (Paducah, KY). Here’s pretty much everyone that went (minus me of course).
Friday night was a definite high and low night for me. It was low because we had gotten gotten stuck in traffic near Chattanooga for about an hour. The weather was also pretty severe for a portion of the drive. Lately it seems I’ve been driving a lot in storms which involves hail. By the time we had arrived, the general vibe was the none of the kids really wanted to be there. It seemed that being with other youth groups was a new thing for them (and well you probably know how new things go over in the Church of Christ). However, it was also a high because I witnessed on of the funniest things I had seen in a while. Trenda (Hoss and Bea’s soon to be three year old daughter) did about a 12 minute rendition of the movie Footloose. It was stinkin’ hilarious. Too bad it wasn’t captured on video.
It was my pleasure to be assigned to the 6th and 7th grade boys. Now, I’m sure I don’t have to describe the typical behaviour of kids in this age range, so I won’t. There were a few that were really well behaved and wanted to go to bed too, but more wanted to use up all the sugar and caffeine that they got right before bedtime. Yes, you read that right. The people running this retreat put snack time right before bedtime. This is a really bad idea, especially for 6th and 7th grade boys. It took me a long time to get the cabin quiet. I think there was a total of 3 kids in the cabin that had some form of ADHD. As always, I managed to bring my earplugs, but they only help so much. I didn’t get much sleep at all this past weekend.
Saturday seemed to be a much better day for the kids. I probably broke one of the cardinal rules of being a chaperon on Saturday. I was picked up by my dad. For those of you that don’t know, my parents live near Fayetteville, TN. Our house is around a little over a 30 minute drive from the camp. I haven’t actually been home in a while, so I wanted to visit my parents (even if it was just a little bit). I got to eat a good lunch and got to see the new filly (a female horse that hasn’t matured yet) that was born to our mare like 8 weeks ago. I also needed to take pictures of it so that we can get it registered as an American Quarter Horse. I got dropped back off at the camp and continued my job of being a chaperon. While I was gone, something must have happened. All of a sudden, the kids didn’t want to go back. They were really enjoying themselves and being with the other youth groups. While I was gone, there did “The Amazing Games”. The teams were semi-randomly divided so that each group had a spectrum of ages and genders from the different youth groups. The last event of the evening was a prayer labyrinth (actually more of a ring). Each circle had either 6 or 8 stations to it. Each station had something that they were to meditate over and pray about.
All in all, it ended up being a great weekend for our kids They got to be spiritually refreshed by being with other groups that are not like them. It was also good for them, since later this summer, our senior high kids will be doing a mission trip to St. Bernard Parish in Louisiana with these two other youth groups. Friendships were formed at this retreat that will carry on to the mission trip this summer and hopefully beyond too.