LOC’s First Youth Retreat

 Twelve teens from 7th through 10 grades traveled to Silver Maple Ranch near Galena, IL for a retreat centered on the theme of “Who Am I in Christ?”  Experiential activities designed to promote self-reflection; discovery, teamwork and community were planned around discussions led by Luke Campbell.

Friday night began with a mile long hike in the dark to a large bonfire.  Luke had the youth identify the dark parts of their lives that prevent them from fully experiencing Christ’s presence.  The youth then burned their lists of personal darkness in the bonfire, symbolically readying for the rest of the retreat’s focus upon becoming full new persons in Christ.

 Saturday focused upon facing our fears after one of our youth experienced a seizure and had to go to the hospital (Gabby is now doing well), followed by geocaching, swimming, ruby tubby kickball and discussions centered around identity in Christ. The youth spent the evening planning Sunday’s worship, entertaining everyone with original skits on the theme of “How to Survive My Worst Day Ever” with LoC Academy Awards given for best references to things learned or done on the retreat.  A late night bonfire with S’mores, “barbecue sauce” and a swim finished off the day.  The girls’ cabin midnight prank also proved that the boys are not the ones to go to during a bear invasion!  Sunday morning ended with the youth leading us all in worship while Luke gave a sermon illustrated with a never ending can of shaving cream -the presence of the Holy Spirit.

If you ask the leaders what the best part of the retreat was, they would all agree that it was having the privilege of witnessing and shepherding the insights, observations and concerns of our church’s youth.  A spirit of joy, curiosity and community was felt the entire weekend.  If you ask the youth their reaction, they would all say, “Let’s come back again next year!”

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