Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Senior Youth Snow Camp

Guest Post by Brian Austin (youth leader)

More than once, Snow-Camp has been celebrated in half-frozen mud, but this year it fully lived up to its name. We rolled into Riverview Bible Camp near Scone at about 5:30 P.M. on Friday. Minus the bus, every vehicle was packed with bags and bodies, kids wound up and raring to go. The more “mature” types were also pretty keyed up, although many of us had already put in a long day. We’d made an earlier trip with sound equipment, cardboard and carpeting to help keep feet dry. – And food! Do you know how much it takes to feed a bunch of teens for a weekend? Everyone got somewhat settled, then we headed to the gym.

We started with a few announcements followed by a surprise Birthday Party for someone reaching that magic age when the government offers an early pension. I did say “Senior” Youth, didn’t I? But these teens are a wonderful bunch and I’d be a proud Grandpa to any or all of them.

Jasmine Koch and her team led us in worship at each session. For our first session Mike Krotz read scripture passages and the limited background information the Bible gives about Barabbas (the murderer released during Jesus’ trial when Jesus was sent to the Cross). Then Barabbas himself, somehow bridging 2000 years, shared his view of events surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus. Special speakers, Yorge & Melissa Von Hatten Baer shared with openness and vulnerability before we broke into smaller groups for more in-depth discussion.

Saturday and Sunday mornings saw leaders crowding around the coffee pot before an early meeting and prayer time, then youth devouring pancakes, toast and cereal. Basketballs threatened tables of food in the gym, as well as heads and chairs. Rousing games of Dutch Blitz had hands slapping and voices shouting. The wildest game, exhausting in knee-deep snow had two teams defending snow towers. Even our senior Pastor got into the fray. One of our younger youth seemed to find sitting on Pastor Jason warmer than sitting in the snow itself, and took great pride in his achievement. The old guy of the weekend isn’t sure he wants to be remembered for repeatedly attacking his Pastor, dragging him off the tower and throwing him into a snow-bank. He is also pretty sure that some games weren’t meant for Grandpas.

Rebecca Grierson braved nasty road conditions to bring our Saturday night banquet, made even more delicious with the appetites our romp in the snow created. Semi-Formal attire did not dampen enthusiasm for wild and crazy pictures, the portrait studio presided over by Heather Winkels and Kristina Dyck.

Yorge & Melissa shared twice on Saturday and again Sunday morning. We had great fun and a wonderful spirit prevailed with an openness, honesty and vulnerability that enriched youth and leaders alike. It’s not always that fun and spiritual richness happen together, so we are truly thanking God.  Our final session included a quiet reflective time, with six stations youth and leaders could visit as they chose. These included: “Give it to God,” “Cross Training,” “A Word of Encouragement,” “Prayer Requests,” “Items of Praise,” and “Communion.” Tears could be seen in youth and adult eyes a number of times.


Thank You. . .

  • to Mike and Karen Krotz for leadership. It takes a team to make a retreat like this work, but every team needs leadership. Yours is guided by a love for God and a love for every one of these kids.
  • to all volunteers, those who stayed for the full weekend and those who came in to help with one or more meals.
  • to those who prayed for us.
  • to Allan and Marie Edgcumbe for providing and maintaining a wonderful facility where God’s presence is always invited.
  • to each teen. It really is great fun being with you. We learn so much from you any time we let ourselves.
  • Most of all, Thank You to God, for meeting with us, for safety and protection, for touching hearts and minds.  

{stay tuned for photos and a video from the event}

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