This past weekend we had our annual Spring Retreat at Lake Frances in Crossville, TN. Below is my top ten list from our super, awesome weekend together!
10. Ultimate Frisbee and Corn Hole
One of my favorite games to play is ultimate frisbee. The object of the game is to get the frisbee in the end zone without dropping it all while passing it from one teammate to the next. What a blast it was watching kids play a game together that some had never played before.
Another game we played was corn hole. This just may be the simplest game ever created and yet it can keep you busy for hours. The object is very simple: you toss bean bags and try to land them on a board that has a hole cut in center. Who would have that such a simple game like this could cause so much fun and excitement?
9. Lake Frances Staff
One of the neat things about our weekend was we had the opportunity to meet John Roethlisberger. John was a three time United States Olympian (1992, 1996, 2000) and a three time collegiate national champion. For a guy who has such accomplishments as he does, John was a very humble and fun going guy that we all enjoyed getting to know.
Harry was another one of the staff members who we enjoyed getting to know. He was always helpful and did not have a problem interacting with our group. He even joined in some of the activities with the kids.
I must not forget to mention the wonderful kitchen staff at Lake Frances. Our meals where always hot, filling and on time. We didn’t have a bad meal the entire time we were there. In fact, several of the kids commented on how good the food was.
8. Foam Pit
One of the cool things about the place we went was the gymnasium. It had a basketball court, a floor with springs underneath it, a trampoline, and two different form pits. We all had a blast finding ways to dive in the foam pit. Unfortunately, some of us got buried underneath the foam a time or two!
7. High Ropes Course
As far as the activities go, this was by far the highlight of everyone’s weekend. The majority of our kids and all of our adults participated in this challenging ropes course. If you have never seen or participated in a ropes course, you’re missing out. Each person must complete four different challenges all while suspended 40 feet about the ground. You begin by climbing a tree to the starting point (again…40 feet in the air). After you complete all the challenges and make it to the end of the course, which by the way can be both challenging and tiresome, your harness is attached to a cable and you swing off a platform (hhmmm….40 feet in the air) out across the lake. Everyone who participated was nervous and even at times scared, but everyone who started the ropes course ended up finishing it. What a great experience to be involved in.
6. Group Encouragement
The really neat thing about the ropes course was the encouragement that all the kids were providing one another. It was awesome to watch and listen to the kids as they helped encourage each other as they were trying to overcome the obstacles along the way. As a youth minister this was a very proud moment for me.
5. Time with God
On Saturday afternoon everyone spent 45 minutes alone and used that time to read scripture and pray. It was so encouraging to have everyone take this seriously and use their time wisely. Had I not stopped everyone so we could move on to something else, many of the students would have continued to use that time for reading and prayer.
4. Growth as a Group
My favorite part of a retreat is the opportunity it allows for a group to grow closer to one another. Last weekend provided me an opportunity to build a relationship with some kids that I hadn’t had an opportunity to have previously. Not only did it give me that opportunity, but it also provided that opportunity to our students. In my opinion, our group as a whole is much closer now than it was at this point last week.
Anytime I take a group of students somewhere, we always make plenty of memories. Last weekend was no exception. Everything from canoeing to volleyball, from the bonfire to witnessing kids overcome their fears will forever be a memory that I cherish. Thanks, to all the girls who took pictures to capture our memories.
This past weekend I was reminded how blessed we are to have opportunities like this to enjoy time together like we did. Our elders at Karns are very supportive of our student ministry and want them to get as much out of things like retreats as possible. This past weekend our students were reminded how blessed they are to be a part of a congregation that has elders like we do.
On a personal note, I was reminded how blessed I am to work with a congregation like Karns and the students that we have. It is a blessing to work with an eldership that truly wants to see the student ministry accomplish great things in the lives of the students. I owe so much to my amazing Father in Heaven for these great blessings.
My favorite part of the weekend was the time we had together to worship. I enjoyed all the lessons, focus group sessions, and periods of singing. It is truly an amazing thing to listen to students pour their hearts out in praise to the Father. Sitting around the bonfire Saturday night I couldn’t help but think, “God is doing something special with this group of people.”
This past weekend was a special weekend for our Karns family, especially the youth group. It was a weekend that I will always remember. I hope and pray that each and every student and adult who attended was challenged in a way that will make a difference in their lives as they travel the road toward heaven!
Now that’s Something to Think About!