Monday, August 05, 2013

Merge Camp!!!

Wow - what a weekend...

Ricky & I got to hang out with a bunch of kids - in WAGONS! ... for realz... see?  Look at my speech! You can tell I've been hanging with teenagers for 3 days.

See - real wagons

Here's the inside... TIGHT quarters... but good for late night talks :)

We left on Friday right after work & headed up to Country Lake Christian Retreat.  We were so blessed with the weather.  I mean, its August - supposed to be the hottest time of the year & it was so nice.  The forecast never looked like it would be horrible.  The nights were even darn right COLD!  It could not have been better.

We had to get toted back to our camp grounds by a tractor with wagons in the back... so the adventure started from the beginning.

As soon as we got there, we got our wagon assignments & assigned our group of kids... I got my awesome Junior High Girls... Here we are deciding our 'call' for the weekend.  Randomly throughout the weekend I would yell, "Red ROBIN"... & they would all reply "YUMMMMMM" ... it was fantastic.

Friday night, we headed to an area that started us on team building exercises.  They split up the girls & guys, which I'm glad because half of the things involved lots of lifting & my hand was usually on somebody's butt pushing them over something.  The guys & girls needed to be separated on this one.  But it was awesome to see these girls connect immediately.  And these obstacles weren't easy - but these girls are super strong, up for anything & ready for the challenge. 

Yes - there is one guy - he was our camp coordinator telling us what to do

It was most humid this night & after all the lifting, swinging, throwing & anything else you can do with a body, we were sweaty messes... YEAH - stinky & dirty - starting out camp just right!


Our goal this weekend was to talk about "Pursuing God" & the challenge was at every devotion during the weekend, we'd take 20 minutes alone with God - however you wanted.  Reading your Bible, reading devotionals, journaling, praying... I thought these kids would be like, "20 minutes?" ... but they really enjoyed it.  Even liked it.... kept saying, "That goes by so fast"... & they would come back in our small groups & have such amazing insight on verses & EXCITED about what they found.  It made me so excited for them.

I was super proud of Ricky Friday night too because Ryan, who usually leads the middle school guys wasn't there yet with his fire fighter schedule.  So Ricky led the guys in the small group time all by himself!  Look at my husband go!

Saturday - I can't even begin to tell you how busy a day it was... we started at 7 am & headed for breakfast.

OK - so most people know my horrible reaction to that yucky breakfast food that starts with a C & all kids love.  I walked into the cafeteria & there was a huge BAR of choices of it... I immediately turned around & said, "I'll sit outside"... Ricky found me some fruit & brought it out to me.  It was nice starting out the mornings outside in the quiet just talking with Ricky.

But it was so cute because after all the girls had finished eating, they came out to keep me company too... I just love these girls - every cute little face in this crowd!

We got back to the camp grounds & then headed out for a hike... the kids were excited for every thing we did... even making hiking fun.  At the end of our location, it was my turn to teach.  I spoke on my favorite verse that is on my wrist - Philippians 3:14 - & how we are to forget the pass & PRESS ON... of course, I forgot half of what I wanted to say - which I always try to think that God just didn't want me to say that stuff then & prayed my point got across.  We had the most beautiful areas to break up for our small group times.

Here's Chasity with her small group of High school kiddos

Isn't this the most beautiful place to connect with God?

& Ricky got this picture of me with the small group girls...

I'm the old one with the glasses at the end of my nose... & NO, those aren't the mentioned progressive lenses that I hate so much

After getting a little God in - it was time for some FUN!!!!!!!! SLIP & SLIDE!!!! ... & if you know me, you know I have a scar on my leg from the last Slip & Slide accident I had.  So I steered clear - which worked out well anyways - I got to use the water hose to keep the slide going & got to video tape a lot of the action & take pictures of the kids

Yes, Chasity is holding her nose... it smelled SOOOOO bad at the bottom.  We kept saying they were landing in a pile of poop... YEAH - youth ministry - they loved that! :)

Then they had the bright idea to come hug me every time they got off the slide... so by the end of it, I was just as wet, just as soapy & just as dirty as every one of these kids... I laughed so hard that my stomach hurt.  & these kids?  The smiles never stopped...

We headed to lunch & then onto the beach... I'm telling you, God totally worked with us on the weather too... it was beautiful & the water was perfect.  There was so much to do - the BLOB that flew kids into the air, a trapeze you could land into the water with, a zip line were you could race someone going down, a huge inflatable slide in the middle of the water & a Wipe Out course...

There's the course on the right... & don't let it fool you - its tougher then you'd imagine

The most exciting part of the day - the Wipe Out Course... the ultimate challenge came down to Ryan & Ricky... they are so competitive with each other anyways... & everyone knows it - so when the two of them got on the starting point, it was like the beach just stopped to watch.  Now Ricky is tall & lean... Ryan is a firefighter that is Mr. Muscles... Opposites!  Not to mention that Ricky could be his father - nearly double Ryan's age.  But they always go full force...

START... & they are off & they're neck to neck & then Ricky SLIPS off.... groans from the beach crowd.  & then Ricky made up the time & they're neck & neck - they get to the end & Ryan had taken the lead right before those last two humps at the end.  Ryan is in the middle of the two & Ricky is behind the 2nd one... Ryan is getting ready to stand up & make the final jump & end the race... when something must come over Ricky & he feels his super powers kick in.... He all of a sudden LEAPS & literally FLYS over BOTH of the humps - flying over Ryan... & Ricky slides down the back side & WINS....... THE CROWD WENT WILD... it was the best race ever...

The cutest thing, kids ran over to the dock & was yelling at Ricky how awesome & cool that was... he became a small hero to the boys that day... it was so much fun to watch!!!

We came back & cleaned up & rested for a bit... which meant CARPET BALL... this game was at every camp site & so basic - you just knocked out 4 balls of your opponets before they knocked yours out with a cue ball, using pool balls... it was the game of the weekend.  We'd form lines to play the winner of each game... the kids were so good at following rules, waiting their turn... I will say, I want a carpet ball game in my house now.  It was simple good fun!

Ricky up playing Carpet Ball...

Dinner time & then back to the beach for more water fun... this time we canoed, paddle boated & kayaked... I kayaked for the first time in my life.  You should have seen me going in 'reverse' trying to get off the beach.  I'm not a good driver.  But I got the hang of it & LOVED it... it was just fun being on the water with kids floating everywhere...

Back to the camp to clean up & get ready for the night time fun... We ended up having devotion time around the camp fire ... & finishing up with Smores... always the best ending to a night... it was the best day ever...

Sunday morning, the kids were slower getting up - exhausted... but back to breakfast & then back for our Sunday morning devotions.  I was excited about this one because Chasity was 'teaching' for the first time.  I put those in ' ' because she 'teaches' all the time when she leads worship, but she was so nervous speaking in this format... which she does all the time anyways :)  But I get how the nerves work... & she was incredible... & ended our weekend with the perfect devotion on taking what we learned & applying it to our lives...

We ended the weekend just hanging out, more carpet ball, cleaning up & just laughing with each other & enjoying the AMAZING weather...  We gave our 'awards' for the weekend.  Things like "Best Snorer" & "Most Consecutive Carpet Ball Wins" ... it was cute when the kids wanted to give awards out.  Chasity & I won for "Most Energetic Leaders" ... YEAAHHHH!!!!!!

It was sad to see the tractor come to pick us all up....

The parents were all right on time - missing their babies & then Ricky & I were headed home...

We walked in the door at 3:00pm... we were both asleep by 3:05... OH MY GOSH... I didn't even know how exhausted I was until I was driving home... it hit me like a bomb. 

I really was so blessed this weekend personally... seeing these kids grow in Christ - making friendships with one another, hanging out with kids they don't normally hang out with.  There really is something about getting away from the world.  No one kept phones with them, no ipods, no gaming handheld systems... just with each other & nature & Jesus... couldn't have been any better...

I love youth ministry...


  1. Hearing you talk about this almost makes me want to go back to youth ministry...notice I said almost. lol

    So glad you all had such a wonderful time.

  2. reminds me of the summers my youth group would go up to the Lutheran Bible Camp for a weekend. So fun!!

  3. What an amazing weekend you all had :) I've got some great memories of summer camp/youth retreats - both as a camper and a leader.


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