This past weekend we hosted our first retreat of 2019 – our Senior High Winter Camp. It was a fun weekend with over 150 youth, sponsors and volunteers in attendance. Curious? Here are 5 things you should know about the weekend:
1. The weather was nice, but without snow – For January, we had very dry conditions. So instead of tubing and sledding, we played soccer, Ultimate Frisbee, and other outdoor games. With temps in the 40s and 50s, it was pretty comfortable. However, that didn’t stop us from enjoying a cup of hot chocolate by the fire.
2. We traveled from near and far to get to camp – Youth groups traveled everywhere from Wisconsin to Ohio to attend the retreat. We had 13 youth groups represented, including 8th St, Grace Mennonite, Waterford, Silverwood, Columbus, Huntington, First Mennonite of Bluffton, Salem Mennonite, First Mennonite of Indianapolis, Hively Avenue, Assembly, Milwaukee, and College Mennonite.
3. We learned about Spiritual Practices, and then actually worked on incorporating them – Hannah Heinzekehr, Communications Program Director at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies of Notre Dame, was our retreat speaker, and her topic was “Be Still and Know that I am God.” Throughout the weekend, Hannah told stories from her life and taught us how to connect with God in our everyday lives. On Saturday night, for example, Hannah had us travel to various stations around camp to try different ways of praying and connecting with God. These methods included journaling, creating art, silent meditation, hiking in the dark, and many others.
4. We made new friends, and reconnected with old ones – Youth groups had plenty of time to work together in activities and discuss topics from the message. But there was also good opportunity to get to know others outside of the group.
5. We pulled it off with the help of volunteers and sponsors – Without summer staff, the burden (excuse me: the joy) of putting on activities, worship sessions, cooking meals, etc. falls to hardworking volunteers and sponsors. This weekend, we had many volunteers who were new, but also many who have been long-time supporters of camp. From every summer since 2007, we had at least one summer staffer helping out this weekend. Thanks for making the weekend a success for the campers!
We can’t wait to see you all next year at the 2020 Winter Camp! Thanks for coming!